The MPCA called the hearing to address complaints by neighbors of Monitor Tire. The meeting room at the St. Martin Fire Department was packed with 35 concerned neighbors, members of the St. Martin Township Board, Zion Township Board, St. Martin City Council, MPCA, and Stearns County Environmental Services.
The main complaint dealt with the wire shreds which fall off trucks onto the gravel roads. These shreds have caused many flat tires on vehicles since the plants opening 13 years ago.
Phil Schmiesing, who lives just east of Monitor, asked why has it taken until this spring for the company to do something about the flat tire problem.
Art Binsfeld, owner of Monitor Tire Disposal, has offered in the past to pay the repair bill for all flat tires caused by the wire shreds. He said that offer still stands today.
This summer Binsfeld's employees attached a strong magnet to a skid loader and did a sweep over the road several times picking up wire. The employees went over the road again and again until they didn't pick up any more wire.
The township has also hauled in five inches of gravel to rebuild the road's surface this summer. Binsfeld's men did another sweep after the road work was completed as a precautionary measure in case any wire was turned up during the project.
Schmiesing asked if Binsfeld could guarantee wire shreds won't end up on the road again. He stressed the need of a secure truck from which wire won't leak out. Binsfeld gave his personal guarantee wire won't leak from their new trucks which are MnDOT approved.
Binsfeld added he drives on the road several times a day, and doesn't seem to have the problem of flat tires that his neighbors do. Ken Utsch informed Binsfeld he had another flat tire last week.
George Minerich, Stearns County Environmental Services, said the county has requested that as the trucks are loaded, employees inspect the trucks, to see that nothing is left hanging on the outside where it does not belong. If there is a problem, it will be corrected before the truck leaves the plant site.
Resumption of operation
Binsfeld explained the company will be doing things differently when they start up again. "We have always had a permit," he stressed.
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the $1.8 million arson fire which destroyed the building and equipment at Monitor's plant two miles west of St. Martin.
After being out of operation for one year, they are testing new equipment to ensure everything works properly before opening up again. During this trial period, Monitor has had only one truck per week of tires come to the plant for recycling.
Before the fire, there were piles and piles of waste tires waiting for recycling. Under new regulations, Monitor will only have a three-day supply on hand and the tires will be stored in enclosed trailers. The number of oversized tires and tire derived product (TDP) will be limited and kept in cement bunkers or storage areas.
Binsfeld also stressed that all material coming and leaving the site will be in covered containers, not open trucks.
Curt Hoffman, MPCA inspector, explained to the crowd that all the tires involved in the fire are buried on Binsfeld's property. If they are exhumed too soon, another fire could flare up. Cleanup plans were submitted to the MPCA and approved. The tires will be exhumed gradually and mixed in with newer tires being recycled.
Roll off boxes from West Central Sanitation will also be on site. Tire waste that cannot be processed will be disposed of by West Central Sanitation.
Hoffman asked for solutions that can be put into the permit. The original permit was vague. To try and make an item enforceable, Hoffman wants specific wording inserted in the permit.
Jack Holthaus, who lives across the road from Binsfeld, asked why Binsfeld, MPCA, and township board members don't get together and make provisions to pave the road. This would make it easier to pick up the wire shreds.
The group wondered if a grant was available from the state to pave the road. Rep. Doug Stang (R-Cold Spring) informed the group the state can not appropriate funds for township roads. Funds to pave the road would need to come from local entities such as township board and county commis-ioners.
Someone in the crowd suggested that as each truck leaves the plant, the magnet follow it to pick up wire shreds. Binsfeld said that was a possibility.
Binsfeld said he would do his best to address the issues raised at the meeting.
There has been a lot of talk dwelling on past problems tonight, Hoffman said. People need to look at revising the permit language to eliminate the problems and look to the future, he added.
The MPCA and Stearns County Environmental Services each inspect the plant about four times a year.
Hoffman suggested a task force be formed consisting of Binsfeld, neighbors, and local government personnel to iron out problems and draft a plan area they would like to see in the new permit. "Once you know what guidelines you want, we'll formalize it and insert the guidelines into the permit," he said. The permit covers a five-year period.
Until then, he urged the people involved to talk with each other and to visit with Binsfeld.
Those unable to attend the hearing have until Oct. 16 to submit comments to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Comments should be marked to the attention of Curt Hoffman, Regular Facilities Unit, Brainerd Subdistrict Office, 1800 College Road South, Baxter, MN 56425-7865.
Any submissions should display the public notice number, 00-SW-782, Monitor Tire Disposal Inc., next to the address on the envelope. Each page of submitted comments should include a return mailing address and a telephone number.
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