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County to seek permit for new disposal site

With space constraints on demolition deposit space at the south station limiting its operational timeframe, Hubbard County commissioners will seek a permit to develop a demolition landfill and possible household waste collection site near Akeley.

With space constraints on demolition deposit space at the south station limiting its operational timeframe, Hubbard County commissioners will seek a permit to develop a demolition landfill and possible household waste collection site near Akeley.

Commissioners authorized R.W. Beck Inc. to prepare the permit application for the site in addition to renewing permits for the north and south transfer stations Wednesday.

"We picked that site to look out for the future, and the future is coming," said solid waste administrator Vern Massie.

Massie and R.W. Beck chief engineer Fred Doran discussed the matter with the board.

Massie said the county contracted with R.W. Beck during the last permit renewal process as a response to evolving Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) guidelines.

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The MPCA created guidelines within the last five years for the management of demolition landfills, explained Doran.

In 2005, the MPCA passed a policy requiring groundwater testing for demolition disposal sites after a study revealed unauthorized materials at some sites' contaminated water tables.

Management plans at the north and south stations will require little alteration, Massie said, but may need changes as regulations are updated.

The largest potential change to the plan involves pre-inspection of demolition for unacceptable materials.

The MPCA is currently reviewing a policy to require solid waste facilities to verify all prohibited material is removed at sites at least two days before a scheduled demolition.

The policy, if implemented, could take effect before current county permits expire in September 2008.

Renewing permits at the north and south stations is a "have to situation. We have to move forward on this," said Massie.

In a later statement, Massie said attempts to acquire land to expand the south station's demolition landfill remain unproductive.

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Recent MPCA design standards for the site mandate the creation of a mound instead of digging and will limit the future usefulness of the south site, he added.

Brush piles also accelerated accumulation at the south transfer site.

The presence of dirt prohibits the county from chipping the brush to use as cover. Prevailing winds and recent annexation preclude burning the contaminated brush piles.

He estimates the south station will need to cease depositing demolition within 30 years.

At the meeting, Doran said his company already drilled groundwater test wells at the site, two miles north of Akeley on Highway 64, and could move forward with development of a demolition landfill.

Commissioner Lyle Robinson spoke in favor of exploring waste transfer options at the Akeley site also.

"The demolition situation has changed because Park Rapids is not going to be expandable. To me, the Akeley site becomes more of a logical move. It would seem to me if we were going to be open for demo, we should be open for garbage," he reasoned.

"We've talked before about doing a convenience site," Doran mentioned. He said roll-off boxes could be placed at the site for garbage deposits and transferred to another location.

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The county currently hauls household waste to Gwinner, ND, but is considering participation at a regional waste facility in Clay County.

As a convenience site, the Akeley location would be subject to less stringent MPCA rules.

Robinson wondered if household waste could be loaded directly into trailers.

The county would be able to load into trailers if it built a proper retaining wall, Doran said.

"Why not just build a transfer station like at the north station?" asked chairman Cal Johannsen.

Commissioner Greg Larson asked about the cost to also collect household waste in Akeley.

"It depends which direction you go with it," Massie responded. He said the county would need to construct a building either way, but it would have to be built in a way to upgrade from a collection site to a transfer station if necessary.

Robinson asked if any preventative measures would protect the site from illegal dumping of unauthorized materials.

Current guidelines require a waste screening area to determine the contents of demolition, explained Doran. He said the north and south stations now both have procedures to ensure all demolition meets MPCA guidelines.

Since a study costs the same regardless of the elaborateness of the plan, Johannsen said, he favored looking into a transfer station at Akeley to give the county the most options.

Doran said his company can look at the tonnage and present options to the board at a work session in December.

Initial plans for MPCA permitting are due by March 15.

jamesb@parkrapidsenterprise.com

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