Specialty Minerals Inc. (SMI), a foreign corporation, operates the Precipitation Calcium Carbonate processing facility in International Falls. The facility accepts excess carbon dioxide from an adjacent company, processes it with water and lime, and produces precipitation calcium carbonate, an additive used in making paper, sealants, adhesives, plastics, rubber, inks, paper, pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, and in other applications.
Between September 2011 and August 2012, SMI reported that the facility exceeded its air emissions permit limit of 19,050 hours based on a 12-month-rolling-sum basis.
SMI has agreed to pay a $24,000 civil penalty, submit a plan to ensure its operating hours will not be exceeded in the future, and, submit a permit application that would change its current permitted emissions limit. Both of the required actions have already been completed.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner. For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions, refer to the MPCA's Quarterly Summary of Enforcement Actions webpage.
Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.