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Ammunition Manufacturing Facility in Anoka, MN Find $44,500 by MPCA for Hazardous Waste Violations

Ammunition Manufacturing Facility in Anoka, MN Find $44,500 by MPCA for Hazardous Waste Violations

The Bullet:

Federal Cartridge Company has been fined and required to take corrective actions as a result of hazardous waste violations at its ammunition manufacturing facility in Anoka, MN.

Read the press release:  Federal Cartridge Company in Anoka penalized for hazardous waste violations

Contact:  Stephen Mikkelson of MPCA at (218) 316-3887 for more information.

Who:
What:

Federal Cartridge Company has been assessed a fine of $44,500 for the following violations of MPCA regulations:

  • Failure to clean up a discharge of wastewater containing lead.  The leachable concentration of lead in the discharge was determined to be greater than the regulatory threshold of 5.0 mg/L and therefore a hazardous waste for the Toxicity Characteristic of Lead.  By not promptly cleaning-up the discharge of wastewater it becomes on-site disposal of hazardous waste to land without a permit.
  • Failure to gain prior approval from MPCA or to modify its hazardous waste facility permit for construction of a waste treatment tank.  Since the press release refers to a “waste treatment tank” and not a wastewater treatment tank, I assume that Federal Cartridge Company treats its own hazardous waste on-site to reduce it’s volume, make it non-hazardous, or make it easier or cheaper to dispose of.  Further, reference is made to the company’s “hazardous waste facility permit”.  Treatment of wastewater is regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA) whereas treatment of waste is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
Where:

Federal Cartridge Company is located in Anoka, MN

MPCA & hazardous waste regulations in Minnesota

Be sure you’re in compliance with the MPCA!

When:
  • Initial inspection by MPCA conducted May 2013.
  • Construction project (without MPCA approval) initiated later in 2013.
  • Penalty announced by the MPCA March 19, 2014.
Why:

The actions of Federal Cartridge Company are viewed by MPCA to be a threat to the health and safety of the people and environment of Minnesota and therefore require correction and a penalty.

How:

As a state with an authorized hazardous waste program under RCRA, the MPCA is responsible for the enforcement of hazardous waste regulations in Minnesota.  A state may make its own regulations more strict and more broad than those of the USEPA, which MPCA has done.  MPCA may enter a facility at any reasonable time to conduct an inspection of its property, collect samples for analysis, and review company records.

Conclusion:

Two important take-aways from this incident:

  1. A spill or release that is not promptly cleaned-up may be identified as disposal by a regulatory agency.  If the spill or residue is a hazardous waste, then watch out!
  2. No action should be taken at an industrial facility (and not just industrial, take a look at the $81 MILLION fine paid by WalMart) without considering the impact on environmental regulatory compliance, state and Federal.

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