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Minnesota recycler signs agreement to improve air quality

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There's an air pollution problem in North Minneapolis, but one company has agreed to work towards a solution.

Alliance Recycling Group is a recycling facility on 31st Ave. N near the Lowry Ave. bridge – an area that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says they've been monitoring since 2014, when elevated levels of airborne particles and heavy metals were detected.

Alliance has voluntarily agreed to take steps to reduce air pollution that may be harmful to people in the area, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) said Friday.

They've committed to sweeping more paved areas around the business, as well as setting scrap materials on railcars rather than dropping them to raise less dust. They'll also try to reduce or get rid of pounding materials to compress them in railcars.

“It really wasn’t a difficult choice for us. We want to provide the highest level of pollution protection for our workers, our customers, our vendors and neighbors of this industrial area," Larry Zweigbaum, Environmental Officer of Alliance Recycling Group said in the release.

But they can't solve the problem on their own

Alliance is just one of several businesses in the industrial area of North Minneapolis that contribute to air emissions – and they can't improve the air quality on their own.

The MPCA said that they have been working with other local businesses to reduce emissions, but Alliance is the first to sign an agreement with the agency.

“We don’t expect the steps Alliance Recycling has agreed to will resolve this air quality challenge by themselves, but their action is a tremendous choice nonetheless," MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said in the release.

Less than a month ago, a judge ordered another business near the Lowry Ave. site, Northern Metal Recycling, to shut down some operations due to air quality concerns.

The agency did not mention Northern Metal in the announcement.

The Star Tribune said that MPCA tried to revoke North Metal's state emissions permit, and the company contested it. A ruling is expected in late October, MPCA told the Star Tribune.

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