UPDATE: Pollution control official responds to 3M commentsA Minnesota Pollution Control Agency engineer on Wednesday responded to comments from the 3M Cottage Grove site director, saying his agency is not making a judgment on the appropriateness of a 3M proposal to begin burning non-3M produced hazardous waste in its Cottage Grove incinerator, only that it sees no regulatory reason to resist the permitting change.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency engineer on Wednesday responded to comments from the 3M Cottage Grove site director, saying his agency is not making a judgment on the appropriateness of a 3M proposal to begin burning non-3M produced hazardous waste in its Cottage Grove incinerator, only that it sees no regulatory reason to resist the permitting change.
The statement from Greg Kvaal, senior engineer at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, came in reply to remarks made by 3M Cottage Grove site director Vicki Batroot in a story that was published in Wednesday’s South Washington County Bulletin.
In the story, Batroot said that from the perspective of the company and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency the incinerator proposal “is a good, right and acceptable thing to do.”
“That isn’t really our perspective,” Kvaal said. “It may be 3M’s interpretation, but I guess they’re kind of putting words in our mouth. We’ve said all along there’s no regulatory reason to oppose (the proposal) … but we’re not saying it’s good and right; we’re not making that judgment.”
Kvaal also clarified comments made by pollution control agency officials at a late-April meeting with officials from Cottage Grove, Washington County and state Legislators. Hazardous waste incinerators are not classified as commercial or non-commercial — rather, incinerators are categorized as ‘on-site’ or ‘off-site’ facilities burning ‘captive’ or ‘non-captive’ waste.
The 3M Cottage Grove incinerator, he said, is considered an off-site facility burning non-captive waste — meaning it incinerates waste shipped from other locales and not produced on-site. That classification would not change under 3M’s proposed permitting amendments.
“Regulatory-wise it doesn’t matter whether they’re paying or not paying for the waste,” Kvaal said.
City officials have said they are concerned the amendment could open the door to the 3M incinerator becoming a commercial operation. But that’s not the issue of most concern to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Kvaal said, adding that 3M has assured the agency that’s not the case.
“The real concern is the loss of control, or who controls the waste,” he said. “That’s the real issue. Not whether they’re commercial or non-commercial.”
Kvaal said he believed 3M would have to amend a portion of its incinerator permit if the company wanted to begin charging to accept waste at a later date.
Be sure to check www.swcbulletin.com for more on the 3M incinerator proposal.