St. Louis County’s rural and Iron Range commissioners have introduced a long-planned vision for a new, roughly $70 million-$80 million waste management campus. Calling it the regional answer for a sunsetting landfill in Superior, and a treatment solution for the emerging contaminant PFAS, the four commissioners, led by Keith Nelson, of Fayal Township, met a supportive throng. They shared details for a campus on 800 acres currently home in Canyon to a much smaller Waste Management landfill for demolition and industrial waste.

The proposed facility would be larger and modeled after the county’s Virginia landfill, which serves the northern half of the county and does things such as land-apply pond-treated leachate and heat its recycling building using landfill gas. “We simply cannot continue to operate with one landfill, to do this and do it right we need to be able to do material recovery. We need to be able to treat leachate,” Nelson said. “The fact of the matter is we’ve got 5 million gallons a year coming out of area landfills being trucked to WLSSD (Western Lake Superior Sanitary District), because it’s the only option people have.”

The announcement comes at a crossroads for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which hasn’t permitted a new municipal solid-waste landfill since 1993, but is confronting a leachate issue that has resulted in “forever-chemical” contaminants — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS — being found in the tissue of Lake Superior smelt.

To read the full story, visit
Author: Brady Slater, Duluth News Tribune
Image: Brady Slater, Duluth News Tribune