New Ulm Steel’s shredder found to violate noise ordinance

NEW ULM – New Ulm Steel and Recycling is in violation of the City of New Ulm noise ordinance due to its industrial metal shredder, according to the recently released analysis of the site.

The New Ulm City Council ordered tests of the shredder to determine if it is in compliance with the City’s noise and vibration standards after receiving numerous complaints from surrounding property owners. The main issues brought up were that the noise overwhelmed people’s ability to talk during the shredder’s operations, loose pieces of metal were flying out of the machine into the surrounding areas and several large explosions insider the shredder caused disruption and noise in the area. The explosions within the machine are part of its normal process and do not damage the machine, though the explosions listed in the complaints were of exceptionally large size.

New Ulm Steel installed several measures to address the initial complaints, such as installing a guard on the top of the shredder that ended the problem of metal spraying out of the top. But, since the complaints continued after the changes, the City ordered New Ulm Steel to have the firm IEA, Inc. test the area for code compliance during operation of the shredder. The test only targeted the noise from the shredder and the vibrations caused by its operation. The explosions that occur during operation of the shredder are presumed by City to be break city codes when they occur, but are difficult to test since they are unplanned. The issues of the explosions will be addressed separately by the City and the Council following the determinations on these initials test.

The results from IEA, Inc. found that the noise from the shredder exceeds city limits in all property line areas. The firm recommended working with New Ulm Steel to engineer control measures for the machine that would bring its noise frequency down to around 225 Hz.

Separately, the testing found that the shredder did not violate any city codes on vibrations.

The results will be reviewed by the Council during its meeting next Tuesday, Sept. 3. The Council will make determinations on whether to order New Ulm Steel to modify its machine to bring it in line with city codes. New Ulm Steel owner Josh Luneberg declined to comment Thursday, but said he would be willing to talk about the shredder during the Council meeting.

The City Code has no penalties for violating the noise ordinances, so no immediate action will be taken against New Ulm Steel. However, the City has the ability to take action in court if changes it orders for compliance with city codes are not followed.

New Ulm Steel’s shredder was installed early this year. It is capable of shredding everything from toasters to several school buses, with a maximum ability of 100 tons per hour. The machine also sorts out ferrous and non-ferrous metals from the shredded material, which is sold in bulk.

Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at

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