Minnesota pollution officials will allow metro-area landfills to start taking on more trash for the first time in 17 years. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Friday solicited certificates of need from landfills. The certificates are required before adding volume, expanding acreage or establishing new landfills. That hasn’t happened since 2003, when the 340-acre Waste Management landfill in Burnsville expanded. The other household-waste landfill in the metro, Pine Bend Landfill in Inver Grove Heights, was expanded in 2002.
Peder Sandhei, principal planner for the MPCA, said Friday it’s unlikely a new landfill would be created in the metro area. That’s because the state, counties, cities and even townships have regulations that restrict them. More likely, Sandhei said, is that industrial waste landfills in the area would seek permission to begin accepting household garbage. Whatever happens, landfills are only to be considered after other garbage-reduction options, such as incineration, recycling, composting and reuse, have been exhausted. “Landfills are the last resort,” said PCA Assistant Commissioner Kirk Koudelka.
The move is welcome news for Waste Management, which handles garbage removal for much of the metro area and has lobbied for years for landfill expansions. “It’s a very good thing,” company spokeswoman Julie Ketchum said.