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MPCA fines Homecrest

Homecrest Outdoor Living will pay a $13,000 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and will take corrective action after allegedly violating Minnesota air protection and reporting regulations. The company said it was a paperwork error, and the emissions were well within regulations.

The MPCA said in a news release that it investigated a spray booth at Innovative Surfaces, a subsidiary of Homecrest acquired in 2008. MPCA investigators concluded the company constructed and operated the paint booth prior to receiving the required air emissions permit. The MPCA also said Homecrest missed deadlines for submission of compliance information about the spray booth and failed to provide annual emission inventories for the years of 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Chris Fox, chief operating officer at Homecrest, said the company applied for the permit in December 2008, but didn't receive it until September 2011. She said the company tracked emissions and they were within allowed protocols, and there was never a health issue. Fox said the reason filings were missed is because until the permit is granted, there's no mechanism at MPCA to report the results.

"We've been keeping track," Fox explained. "We can't report it because we didn't have anything to report it against."

Fox said there were "minute emissions" from the paint booth, well within what's required by the law.