Cirrus fined for waste violations
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has cited Cirrus Design for penalties totaling $8,355 for hazardous waste violations. It's the latest in a series of similar violations the Duluth-based airplane manufacturer has received from the MPCA in re...
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has cited Cirrus Design for penalties totaling $8,355 for hazardous waste violations.
It's the latest in a series of similar violations the Duluth-based airplane manufacturer has received from the MPCA in recent years. The company also has a plant in Grand Forks.
In the latest round, Cirrus received 13 administrative violations, including failing to ship waste off premises within the required 90 days, failure to provide annual hazardous waste training to employees, improper storage of oil containers, improper storage and labeling of spent fluorescent lamps, improper labeling of hazardous waste, failure to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage and inadequate record keeping.
Similar storage, labeling and record keeping violations had been cited in 2004 and 2006 inspections.
Bill King, a Cirrus vice president, said the latest violations were an unfortunate consequence of the company's staff cutbacks.
"When we were in the process of ramping down the staff, there were some things we missed," he said. "We lost a lot of good people, some who we relied on. Things fell through the cracks."
But he said, "Once it was brought to our attention, we responded immediately."
As a result, $4,830 --which is most of the fine -- was forgiven, leaving Cirrus paying a $3,525 fine.vIf a company agrees to do certain corrective action, all or part of the fine can be forgiven, explained Stephen Mikkelson, an MPCA spokesman.
Violations are commonly found during the MPCA inspections, which are typically done every two or three years, he said. "It's a rarity to have someone utterly in compliance," Mikkelson said. "It's more unusual to have somebody completely in compliance than to find a few violations. All it takes is one manifest misplaced."
According to MPCA records, the first Cirrus infractions are noted in a 1999 letter of warning. That was followed in 2002 with violations of improper management of rags containing hazardous waste, lack of an emergency plan with local authorities and insufficient record keeping. The $2,750 fine was forgiven. In 2004, Cirrus received a letter of warning for violations involving labeling and storage, manifest record keeping and weekly inspections.
"If it's one of the first times out of the gate, we try to get them on the straight and narrow, educate, get them in compliance," Mikkelson said. "If when we come back a few years later, there are similar issues, we may rack up enforcement issues. In terms of seriousness, it looks like this is what happened here."