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Posted on: October 2, 2018

Landfill study results to be presented

Jason Sorenson, Minot’s assistant director of Public Works, said a site analysis and a cost analysis of moving the city’s landfill operation to a new location are complete, and the results will soon be presented to the public and the Minot City Council.

A public input meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 301 of the Minot Municipal Auditorium to gather information and comments from residents. Sorenson said he will also present information from the study to the Committee of the Whole on Oct. 30. The landfill expansion issue will likely be brought before the Minot Planning Commission in early 2019, potentially in February.

The City of Minot began using the current landfill, located just outside the city limits on the city’s southwestern edge, in 1971. Since then, as the city’s population and business community have grown, homes and businesses have been built in the area near 16th Street Southwest, including the Dakota Square Mall and the Green Acres subdivision. In 2017, the City of Minot purchased approximately 320 acres of land adjacent to the current landfill for future expansion. A request to the Minot Planning Commission to rezone the newly purchased land for public use was withdrawn by the City after concerns were raised about the landfill expansion.

As part of the ongoing discussion of the future of Minot’s current landfill, a focus group was created that included city employees and members of the public. The focus group, which held seven meetings, was comprised of 15 people, including city staff members and a consultant. The group included three people who live or own property adjacent to the landfill, three people from other parts of the city, and one representative each from Surrey, Burlington, Trinity Health, First District Health Unit, Ward County, and a private waste hauling company.

“The focus group was never intended to be one that would make a recommendation,” Sorenson said. “We wanted to vet and discuss all the issues and concerns around the future of the landfill, and conduct a siting analysis and a cost analysis. Now, the next step is to present the information and discuss what the siting analysis and cost analysis showed.”

Sorenson said the study used a 20-mile radius of Minot in conducting a site analysis. “There are a lot of criteria to meet related to siting a landfill,” he said. “A lot of criteria.”

The analysis identified two sites that could be potential sites for a landfill; one 18 miles east of Minot and one 12 miles west of Minot. Using those potential sites, a cost analysis was done to compare what it would cost for three options:

1: Expand current site: $75 million estimated total cost for 20 years; $3.7 million average yearly cost. Current monthly cost to average household of $16.22 would not change.

2: Build Site 1 (east of Minot): $111 million estimated total cost for 20 years; $5.6 million average yearly cost. Monthly cost to average household would increase by $7.04/month (43%).

3: Build Site 2 (west of Minot): $114 million estimated total cost for 20 years; $5.7 million average yearly cost. Monthly cost to average household would increase by $7.18/month (44%).

There would also be additional costs related to the City of Minot’s sanitation trucks driving 12 or 18 miles to either of the potential sites. Those costs would likely be passed on to Minot residents who use City sanitation services.

In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency passed the Subtitle D Regulations, which were a host of new regulations that required landfills to have liners, leachate collection and monitoring, among other changes. When those were passed, Sorenson said many landfills in the country closed because they couldn’t afford the upgrades.

“Minot is the only community in our area that stepped up,” Sorenson said. “As soon as the decision was made to upgrade to the Subtitle D Regulations, Minot essentially became a regional landfill. Since 1991, we’ve taken waste from a variety of locations in the region.”

The City of Minot’s sanitation department collects approximately 15,000 tons of municipal solid waste yearly from the residential customers the City serves in Minot. Private haulers collect waste from some residential customers in Minot and all of the commercial waste in the city, which brings in another estimated 15,000 tons yearly. The landfill is also utilized by other area entities in surrounding counties, brining another 80,000 tons of municipal solid waste yearly to the Minot facility.

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