Smith Foundry
Filling sand molds at Smith Foundry, Minneapolis.

Foundry to Cease Melting, Casting Under EPA Settlement

June 6, 2024
Minneapolis-based Smith Foundry agreed to end all hot metal activities within 12 months to avoid prosecution under the Clean Air Act, but it will continue finishing operations.

Smith Foundry in Minneapolis will cease moldmaking, melting, and casting operation by June 3, 2025, following a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

Following an inspection in May 2023, EPA alleged Smith Foundry failed to properly operate its pollution control equipment and maintain required records. EPA also charged the foundry with exceeding particulate-matter emission limits and violating airborne particulate matter rules. The 101-year-old ferrous foundry is also facing multiple “serious” citations from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing employees to toxic levels of chemicals, which carry over $15,000 in fines, according to reports.

Under the terms of the agreement with EPA, Smith Foundry will close two pouring and cooling lines, limit liquid metal pouring on the remaining lines, and end all sand mulling, iron melting, pouring, casting cooling, and shakeout systems within 12 months.

Also, the foundry will ensure its baghouses are properly monitored and operated, including installing continuous pressure drop monitors, recording equipment and a bag leak detection system on the main baghouse for the facility’s finishing operations.

The foundry further agreed to pay a penalty of $80,000. And it will develop and implement an updated operations and maintenance plan for its continuing operations.

After melting and casting are ended, Smith Foundry will continue providing engineering and finishing services for castings produced at other foundries, according to a statement by the ownership group.

“Shutting down the furnace and casting operations is a win for this community, which has been historically disenfranchised and overburdened by pollution,” stated EPA regional administrator Debra Shore. “East Phillips residents deserve to breathe clean air and to live in a healthy, thriving community.”

Smith Foundry pours gray iron, ductile iron, and austempered ductile iron parts, working with several coremaking lines and two matchplate molding machines, one automatic molding line, and a cope-and-drag molding line, for cast components ranging from ounces up to 250 lbs.

“This strategic initiative is aligned with our values as a company and we believe it will position Smith Foundry for sustained success and growth,” stated Adolfo Quiroga, president of Smith Foundry and the Foundry division of Zynik Capital Corp., the holding company that owns the operation.

“Zynik’s mission is to leave a lasting, positive impact – one company, one community, and one person at a time,” according to Quiroga. “We are wholeheartedly dedicated to making meaningful contributions that enhance each community we serve, and we remain committed to focusing our efforts on the communities where we operate. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the highest quality products and services for which Smith Foundry is known for.”

Other metalcasting businesses in the Zynik portfolio include Lake Foundry, Grimsby, Ont., Cottam Diecasting in Tecumseh, Ont.; and Niagara Investment Castings, St. Catherines, Ont.