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Aerial view of an industrial shredder and recycling yard

New Shredder Site


Northern Metal Recycling (Northern Metals), part of the global EMR brand, is a full-service consumer and industrial metal scrap recycler located in the City of Becker, Minnesota. Within the City’s general industrial zone, Northern Metals designed and constructed a new state-of-the-art metal shredder with ferrous downstream and nonferrous recovery plant.

The new steel shredder is one of the largest shredders in the country – and the only fully enclosed facility of its kind in the U.S. All processing is done within buildings, with all emissions sent through control equipment before discharge. The shredder can turn full-size vehicles into 3 in. pieces in about 8 seconds, then separate waste from recyclable product using some of the most sophisticated technology and programming available.

To execute its vision for this effort, Northern Metals recognized the need for a partner capable of navigating the complexities and massive quantities of materials required for construction. Noting SEH’s experience in these areas along with the firm’s cohesiveness and strong partnership with Northern Metals, they partnered with SEH to lead the overall effort and various strategic tasks.


Overall efforts, impact
Serving as overall project manager, the SEH team provided preliminary design for the site layout – undertaking civil, architectural, structural, geotechnical, electrical and HVAC services. The SEH team also provided Resident Project Representative (RPR) services, construction administration and staking. There were a number of crucial teaming partners for this expansive effort, with their roles explored below.

The New Shredder Site project included 26 acres of pavement, ponds capable of storing over 7 million gallons of stormwater, over 10,000 cubic yards of structural concrete, 300 auger cast piles, and 145,000 sq. ft. of buildings. The SEH team worked with Northern Metals to develop complex designs to allow all processes within buildings.

The New Shredder Site effort also included site grading to avoid use of underground piping while maintaining access to future railroad tracks, keeping all stormwater on paved surfaces and contained within lined stormwater ponds. This design allows the reuse of stormwater for dust control – reducing the amount of potable water purchased from the City. Further, any waste product remaining after processing is small in dimension and packs densely in the landfills, thus minimizing the space taken up by waste.
The SEH team worked closely with Northern Metals and their equipment supplier to comply with environmental requirements and develop a state-of-the-art facility unique not just in Minnesota but nationwide. With features such as a fully enclosed facility that does all processing within a building, in addition to separating waste products from recycling products and being able to process a wide range of commodities, the new shredder is meeting all Northern Metals’ needs and exceeding expectations in terms of the processes it offers.

Public outreach and engagement
Addressing concerns of air pollution and emissions limits, as well as additional traffic affecting residents, were major elements in Northern Metals’ effort to gain public support. Northern Metals and its consultants developed solutions that complied with environmental regulations, such as air quality regulations from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), then implemented an outreach plan to present this information to the public.

This communication was important to gain the City’s support for the facility and the recycling services it could provide, including the future Community Recycling Center onsite. Key points of the public outreach strategy for this project included:

  • Public open house
  • Communication with businesses and residents impacted by the construction
  • Open employment interviews to staff the new facility

Teaming partners
Braun Intertec provided geotechnical field exploration and testing, as well as construction testing (concrete and soils). Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. provided the geotechnical and foundation analysis utilized by SEH for the design of the equipment and building foundations. KFI Engineers provided primary electrical distribution and transformer sizing. Sandman Structural Engineers provided the structural design of the shredder enclosure.


  • 2021 Engineering Excellence Grand Award | American Council of Engineering Companies, Minnesota Chapter (ACEC-MN)

Project Name
New Shredder Site

City of Becker, Minnesota

Northern Metal Recycling


  • Civil engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Railroad track design
  • Architectural code reviews and design
  • Structural engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Environmental – asbestos and waste assessment of existing buildings
  • Survey
    • Topographic
    • Construction staking
    • American Land Title Association (ALTA)/National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) Land Title Survey


  • Only fully enclosed facility of its kind in U.S.
  • All processing done within buildings
  • All emissions sent through control equipment before discharge
  • Able to shred full-size vehicles into 3 in. pieces in about 8 seconds
  • Technology separates waste product from recyclable product
  • Over 75% of recyclable materials accepted are recovered
  • 26 acres of pavement
  • Ponds capable of storing 7+ million gallons of stormwater
  • Over 10,000 cubic yards of structural concrete
  • 300 auger cast piles
  • 145,000 sq. ft. of buildings.