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$18.5M refuse burner expansion set to begin this spring in Perham

Perham incinerator

An expansion to the municipal solid waste incinerator in Perham is a step closer now that the competitive bonding bid process is underway.

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners will review competitive bids at its April 2 meeting.

With the end of the environmental and permit process in sight, work is expected to begin this spring on the project, which will cost an estimated $18.5 million.

The refuse burner, technically named the Perham Resource Recovery Facility, is operated by the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Authority through a joint powers agreement between Otter Tail, Becker, Todd and Wadena counties.

The expansion will include the addition of a waste heat boiler as well as a facility to help separate out recyclable items. The expansion will increase the facility’s solid-waste-processing capacity from 116 to 200 tons per day.

The facility generates steam that is used by businesses in Perham.

The expansion will also result in additional jobs in Perham.

“The addition of 12 employees for our facility will have a positive impact on the community,” said Otter Tail County Solid Waste Director Mike Hanan.

He added that, “The expansion should be completed about mid-year 2014, and after that we’ll have about six months of environmental compliance testing.”

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) previously gathered input for an Environmental Assessment Worksheet as the initial step in the environmental review process. Otter Tail County and its partner counties later agreed to continue the environmental review process with a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement.

The purpose of the environmental review process is to evaluate and disclose information about the significant environmental effects of the project.

Hanan and consultants addressed the county board about the bonding process earlier this month. They said the county has a good credit rating, which will result in financial savings for taxpayers. Projected interest rates are between 3.5 and 3.75 percent. Bonds will extend 20 years into the future.

Solid waste bonds are usually directed to institutional buyers. Financial security takes the form of either a guarantee from a financial intermediary or collateral that is held by the MPCA. In the case of the Perham refuse bonds, the state of Minnesota guarantees the bond holdings.