The controversy over a permit for Northern Metals Recycling is prompting the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to install a new air quality monitor in the North Minneapolis neighborhood where the plant is located.
The MPCA is installing the monitor to address community concerns about air quality after the agency issued a permit for Northern Metals' recycling operation.
Spokesman Ralph Pribble said that in the process of writing the permit, the MPCA discovered what he called a "potential modeled exceedence" of federal standards in the area.
"Modeling is just projections by computer analysis basically," Pribble said, "so we therefore have to put in a monitor to see whether the modeling reflects actual conditions."
Pribble said models usually estimate higher pollution levels than really exist.
He added that the agency already has a network of monitors around the city, and they have not detected a problem.
"We have a fair level of confidence that there is not really any particular problem in terms of being close to violating federal standards with particulate concentrations," Pribble said, "but we want to basically go in and see if there's anything that's different about this particular area of the city which would not be reflected in our existing ambient monitoring system."
The monitor will collect data for three years, and the MPCA will release the data periodically.
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