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Posted on: March 6, 2019

Landfill is a busy place, even in winter

Landfill 1

After it's dumped, trash is compacted with specialized equipment.


The City of Minot landfill is a busy place, even during the cold winter months.

There are approximately 250 trucks a day coming into the landfill, no matter what the temperature, according to Jason Sorenson, assistant director of Public Works. The City’s garbage trucks each make a couple of trips a day, and many of the trucks that cross the scale are from private sanitation companies. There are also other private companies that haul debris to the landfill, and some residents haul their own trash or other unwanted items to the landfill. There is a $30 per ton tipping fee.

In addition to the steady stream of trucks arriving daily, the landfill crews are busy with a variety of tasks. Municipal solid waste requires the most attention, Sorenson said.

“It’s required that MSW gets covered at the end of every day to prevent items from blowing around,” he said. “MSW is also packed, so that takes a lot of time and effort.”

Snow can help keep items from blowing around, but the cold winter winds certainly don’t help, Sorenson said. The landfill crews have built their own screens that are placed strategically around the area where trucks are currently dumping MSW and inert waste, helping to trap items that may blow around.

Once it’s dumped and pushed onto the ever-growing pile, the MSW is packed by a giant machine resembling a front end loader. The machine has large steel wheels with spokes that help compact the trash.

“The packer has a GPS system that tells the operator when the section is sufficiently packed so we can save time and fuel from not driving over the same section again and again unnecessarily,” Sorenson said. “The system tells the driver packing information by measuring how far down the machine sinks when it drives over the section. The less it sinks, the more packed the material is. It’s pretty amazing technology.”

The piles of inert waste, which includes construction materials and other items, doesn’t require as much maintenance and management. Essentially, the items are dumped and eventually covered. There’s no requirement to pack inert waste, Sorenson said. There’s also a separate section where old appliances are kept, and some are recycled.

There’s also other work going ono at the landfill, despite the recent nasty temperatures. There’s a section being dug out to expand the space for inert waste. The area was formerly used as a holding pond, so crews are using heavy equipment to dig out the old liner that is no longer needed.

You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.

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