Scrapyard that polluted Farmington's Vermillion River is goneNearly six weeks after diesel fuel seeped from a catch basin into the Vermillion River, the illegal scrap yard that held that catch basin has been removed.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Nearly six weeks after diesel fuel seeped from a catch basin into the Vermillion River, the illegal scrap yard that held that catch basin has been removed.
Over the weekend, Cole Empey, operator of the scrap yard, completed the cleanup of scrap metal and vehicles that were on site. When an unknown amount of diesel fuel from the site leaked into the Vermillion River on March 21, city of Farmington staff found multiple vehicles – including cars, a bus and a fire truck – on the site, ready to be cut down for scrap.
As of Monday, all physical traces of the scrap yard – including the vehicles, the equipment used for the demolition and the piles of scrap that had accumulated – were cleared from the property.
“It took three weeks for (Empey) to get all of the stuff out of there,” Farmington city planner Lee Smick said. “I was in constant contact with him and went by the site every day.”
Empey’s business was operating without approval from the city of Farmington. When Smick was approached by landowner Collin Garvey a year before, she was told the business would be for storage of stacked metal, not for the actual demolition itself.
The cleanup efforts to date have satisfied the city’s requirements, Smick said.
“We were happy with the status as he was working through getting it cleaned up. He finished the work over the weekend. We asked him to comply with city code and he did, so it’s done on our side,” she said.
However, Smick could not speak to whether the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will sign off on the cleanup. The MPCA was called in during the spill to monitor the cleanup, and has handled most of the ground and water assessments since that time. The MPCA would also be responsible for bringing any charges against Empey or Garvey.