The REALLY big news in Windom Park is great good news relating to civic action and hazardous waste abatement. Thanks to a cadre of Northeast residents, in particular four indomitable women, working with local officials and regulators, Interplastic Corporation has agreed to a $15,000 civil penalty and $263,800 in facility improvements for alleged hazardous waste violations.
Minneapolis Interplastic has operated in the residential Northeast neighborhood, near Johnson and Broadway, since 1969. ( This is the befuddling cross section where drivers are probably more attentive to steering their way through the remnants of the abandoned Interstate 335 than to the industrial polluters.) With sites throughout the nation, including an affected site in Vadnais Heights, the company identifies itself as “an industry leader in thermoset resin, gel coat and colorant research, design and development.”
Interplastic Corporation is regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency which initiated enforcement action after hazardous waste compliance inspections by Hennepin County staff at the Minneapolis plant in September 2008 and March 2009 and by MPCA staff at the Vadnais Heights plant in mid-March 2009. The charges against Interplastic and the changes already in place are spelled out in detail at the MPCA website. There is also a good article and a photo of the four women by Randy Furst in the September 8 Star Tribune.
Meanwhile, residents of Northeast anticipate cleaner air, while the intrepid women who pushed for change have no doubt moved on to the next challenge facing the neighborhood. They will be reporting to the community at the next meeting of Windom Park Citizens in Action, Tuesday, September 20, at the community center in Pillsbury School