Delano Herald Journal

Serving the communities of Delano, Loretto, Montrose, MN, and the surrounding area

HL Council takes another look at support for Superior Landfill



HOWARD LAKE – “I want to review the tape of the council
meeting where Superior Landfill requested support from us. I think we were
given some misinformation, and I want to be sure,” said Howard Lake
Mayor Mark Custer.

Al Deruyter, an unofficial spokesperson for a concerned
group of citizens who oppose the expansion of the landfill on Wright County
Rd. 37 south of Monticello, spoke to the council Tuesday.

He said, “I’d like to provide enough information to
help the council make a decision on whether or not to support the landfill.

Deruyter provided the following information about the Milwaukee
based company.

Current situation

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared
by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) on a proposal by Superior
FCR Landfill, Inc. to construct an expansion of the existing landfill located
in Monticello Township.

Superior proposes to construct a 70.9-acre expansion. Thirty-six
acres of that is over the existing landfill.

With both vertical and horizontal expansion, the final
height of the landfill will be 160 feet above the existing ground level.

“These dimensions put the size of this landfill into
what is called a mega or regional landfill,” said Deruyter.

County perspective

Deruyter said, “When the Wright County Board of Commissioners
put a moratorium on a number of land uses in the county, Superior filed
a lawsuit against our county for “foot dragging.”

The court of appeals threw it out, he said.

What you can do

As a citizen, Deruyter said, each person can become familiar
with the proposed expansion by reading the information that was sent by
the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to each township.

“Your Commissioners want to hear your concerns about
water quality, property values, methane gas emissions, long term liability
and expenses, and the visual impact of such a mountain of garbage.

Position statement

The group of citizens that is trying to alert the public
to the issues in this landfill debate has developed a position on the landfill
expansion.

The proposed expansion is counter to federal, state, and
local policy, Deruyter said.

Additional landfill capacity would encourage greater land
disposal at a time when environmental protection, wise land use, an resource
conservation principals need advancement, he said.

“The Office of Environmental Assessment says our waste
streams should be viewed as a resource, rather than garbage,” said
Deruyter.

It encourages people to reduce waste, reuse and recycle.

“Landfilling is the last resort and the most environmentally
damaging,” he said.

Deruyter maintains the county and surrounding areas do
not need additional landfill capacity. Ample capacity is permitted at existing
sites.

Groundwater, air, and the character of the landscape are
all at risk, he said, and alternate disposal methods should be encouraged.

“I tip my hat to the efforts Superior is making to
keep the landfill from polluting,” said Deruyter, “but we all
know if you bury a plastic bag of garbage, it (the plastic bag) will break
down.”

Garbage statistics

According information from reporting by the landfills in
Minnesota, the Yonak-FCR landfill, that is now owned by Superior, took in
117,977 cubic yards of garbage in 1995.

In 1996, after the change of ownership, the landfill took
in 790,450 cubic yards of garbage.

“Did Wright County throw that much more stuff away?
I don’t think so,” said Deruyter.

If only garbage from the county were put into the landfill,
it would take 50-60 years to reach capacity, he said.

Therefore, logically, this garbage is coming from outside
the county.

Garbage from Itasca County (and other areas) is being dumped
at Superior, where it used to go to Iowa, said Deruyter.

Deruyter gave a background on Municipal Solid Waste (MSW),
so the council members would have an idea of what is going into the landfill.

He said MSW goes out in the average persons garbage can
every week. SLF has a permit for that unprocessed municipal waste for only
a small portion of that space.

The company gets around that by using a loophole in the
law. If Itasca County delivers its MSW to a central transfer station and
loads it onto larger trucks, it is considered “processed.”

“There are no transfer stations in Wright County,”
said Deruyter.

“It turns out that every county can send all its unprocessed
waste to SLF. There is no law preventing a landfill from bringing in garbage
from anywhere,” he said.

Deruyter told the council he hoped the information provided
was valuable.

“If anyone has a concern, the county commissioners
would like to hear from you,” he said.

 

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