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State bonding bill allows Hubbard County to build new transfer station

The 2017 state bonding bill includes funding for a new Hubbard County transfer station. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's goal is to recover more usable materials and energy from solid waste, diverting it away from landfills. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)

Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bonding proposal that will help Hubbard County build a new transfer station.

Hubbard County Solid Waste Administrator Jed Nordin informed county commissioners of the funding Tuesday.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Solid Waste Capital Assistance Program (CAP) provides financial incentives to local governments to develop and implement integrated solid waste management systems. Program goals are to increase reuse, recycling, and composting; reduce land disposal of municipal solid waste, and form collaborative regional projects that are eligible for additional dollars.

The Governor's bonding proposal includes $17.05 million for CAP grants to three counties — Clay, Polk and McCleod — for solid waste projects.

Phase II of Polk County's overall project will add equipment to the resource recovery facilities in Fosston, create a composting facility in Gentilly, and construct new transfer stations in Park Rapids and Crookston. The two phases of the project will divert more than 20,000 tons of material per year from landfills.

Phase I received $8 million in funding in the 2015 bonding bill. The 2017 bonding bill allocates another $9.25 million to the Polk County project.

Hubbard County will look to utilize $3 million of that, with a local match of $1 million, according to Nordin.

"Through the MPCA Capital Assistance Program (CAP) grant, facilities that deliver to a materials recovery facility, such as the one located in Fosston, are eligible for 3-to-1 funding for new transfer stations," he explained.

Nordin will meet with Polk County officials to determine the next steps, working with the consultant (Wenck Associates, Inc. of Fargo) to design the new building.

"This proposed building will replace our existing transfer station at the south site, which was constructed in 1987," Nordin said. "The advantages of a new building will be a much larger tipping floor. The new building is estimated at 16,000-20,000 sq. ft., and will also move our express lane under cover. All traffic lanes will be through traffic, avoiding the need for backing of large vehicles or trailers as well as site improvements and the installation of a certified truck scale. At this time, everything is very preliminary, but with the appropriation of the grant funding, the final design should progress quickly."

"It doesn't have to be a quick project. We have four years to use the funding once it's appropriated," Nordin told the county board. "It's going to be a nice opportunity to put up a building there to serve our needs."

According to the MPCA, putting waste in landfills is the least desirable disposal method for Minnesota solid waste. By diverting usable material like recyclables from landfills, it slows the creation of landfills that must be managed. The collected recyclable materials support Minnesota industries in creating new products and jobs.

In addition, energy and steam produced from waste at resource recovery facilities — instead of landfills — is used by local communities, says the MPCA.

Landfills, on the other hand, must be monitored and managed in perpetuity, even after they stop receiving new waste. Closed landfills produce contaminated fluids (leachate) and methane gas that must be contained and disposed of properly.