The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is recommending expansion of four south metro landfills, including the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill west of Interstate 35W and south of the Minnesota River. The expansions, a “short-term solution” to the metro area’s “growing garbage problem,” would accommodate 5.6 million tons of garbage over the next seven years. The Twin Cities metro area generates about 3.3 million tons of waste each year, and the amount of garbage going to landfills has increased by 30% in the past year, the MPCA said.

The MPCA is also reviewing a longer-term proposal from owner Waste Management to extend the Burnsville landfill’s life by 40 years. The agency determined the expansion would not affect groundwater quality but is seeking updated groundwater sampling and analysis from Waste Management as part of a draft environmental impact statement.

The MPCA’s short-term plan calls for adding 1.7 million tons of capacity at the Burnsville landfill; 627,244 tons at the Dem-Con Landfill in Shakopee; 2.4 million tons at the Pine Bend Sanitary Landfill in Inver Grove Heights; and 893,899 tons at the Rich Valley Landfill in Inver Grove Heights.

“We don’t take decisions to expand landfills lightly,” said Kirk Koudelka, MPCA assistant commissioner for land policy and strategic initiatives. “The metro area is running out of landfill space to manage waste as our landfills fill up. Additional capacity is a short-term solution. We are also looking at the long-term, big picture on how to best manage our waste so it does not need to be landfilled.”

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Author: John Gessner, SUN This Week