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Investigation of county landfill contamination should end this fall

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News Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- The investigation of a large plume of groundwater contamination that originated at the Kandiyohi County landfill should be wrapped up this fall.

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Gary Gilbert from Environmental Concepts and Design told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that work will continue this summer with the drilling of 10 more monitoring wells and additional borings that will be placed in and around the boundaries of the mile-long plume.

The environmental investigation will also continue by Shakopee Creek, where low-level contaminants were found 10 to 15 feet below the creek.

Chemicals from barrels of industrial paint that were disposed of in the landfill decades ago have been slowly creeping through the underground aquifer near the landfill site, located west of New London and Spicer.

Initial reports show that the plume of vinyl chloride, which is about 4,000 feet long and 1,000 feet wide, is decreasing in intensity and is at levels that are below the health re-porting le-vel.

Gilbert said additional monitoring wells will be placed in the interior of the plume where levels are at the highest to continue to gather data.

He said "98 percent of the investigation" will be completed in 2012.

That means expenses associated with the investigation should also end, said County Administrator Larry Kleindl.

The county spent $250,000 in the first year of the investigation and $350,000 last year.

Kleindl said he expects the county will spend another $350,000 this year.

But if the results continue to be positive, there may be no other action necessary to resolve the contamination issue.

Kleindl said that's good news, especially considering that the county was initially looking at spending as much as $4 million to dig out the old paint sludge.

Meanwhile at the landfill, the county is in the process of installing two new 25,000-gallon storage tanks for leachate -- the liquid that seeps from landfill garbage.

The extra storage will make it easier to schedule trucks to haul the leachate to the Willmar sewage treatment facility.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners heard a request from Terry Frazee from the Kandiyohi County Lakes Association for the board to consider closing some of the county's 47 lake accesses in an effort to reduce the chance of aquatic invasive species from being introduced here.

The action isn't meant to discourage people from using the lakes or to deny access to any lakes, but Frazee said action needs to be taken to "protect the lakes."

Frazee also presented information about proposed legislation that would give local units of government authority to take over the legal, financial and administrative responsibilities for inspection programs on public waters within their jurisdictions.

He asked the county to support that initiative if the legislation is approved.

The commissioners took the requests under advisement but did not take action.

In other action:

n The commissioners approved conditional use permits for Jerome Taatjes for an expansion of a feedlot in Holland Township, and for Carlson Dairy LLP for a feedlot expansion in Mamre Township.

n The commissioners approved an environmental assessment worksheet for a gravel pit, called the Johnson Pit in Roseville Township. By approving a "negative declaration," the commissioners agreed a more stringent environmental impact statement is not needed.

n The commissioners heard a report from Beth Fischer, from the Willmar Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, about tourism promotion efforts for the county, and approved a resolution proclaiming May 5-13 as Travel and Tourism Week in Kandiyohi County. Residents are encouraged to make note of the benefits that tourism brings the county by wearing red on May 8 in recognition of National Tourism Day.

WILLMAR -- The investigation of a large plume of groundwater contamination that originated at the Kandiyohi County landfill should be wrapped up this fall.

Gary Gilbert from Environmental Concepts and Design told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that work will continue this summer with the drilling of 10 more monitoring wells and additional borings that will be placed in and around the boundaries of the mile-long plume.

The environmental investigation will also continue by Shakopee Creek, where low-level contaminants were found 10 to 15 feet below the creek.

Chemicals from barrels of industrial paint that were disposed of in the landfill decades ago have been slowly creeping through the underground aquifer near the landfill site, located west of New London and Spicer.

Initial reports show that the plume of vinyl chloride, which is about 4,000 feet long and 1,000 feet wide, is decreasing in intensity and is at levels that are below the health re-porting le-vel.

Gilbert said additional monitoring wells will be placed in the interior of the plume where levels are at the highest to continue to gather data.

He said "98 percent of the investigation" will be completed in 2012.

That means expenses associated with the investigation should also end, said County Administrator Larry Kleindl.

The county spent $250,000 in the first year of the investigation and $350,000 last year.

Kleindl said he expects the county will spend another $350,000 this year.

But if the results continue to be positive, there may be no other action necessary to resolve the contamination issue.

Kleindl said that's good news, especially considering that the county was initially looking at spending as much as $4 million to dig out the old paint sludge.

Meanwhile at the landfill, the county is in the process of installing two new 25,000-gallon storage tanks for leachate -- the liquid that seeps from landfill garbage.

The extra storage will make it easier to schedule trucks to haul the leachate to the Willmar sewage treatment facility.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners heard a request from Terry Frazee from the Kandiyohi County Lakes Association for the board to consider closing some of the county's 47 lake accesses in an effort to reduce the chance of aquatic invasive species from being introduced here.

The action isn't meant to discourage people from using the lakes or to deny access to any lakes, but Frazee said action needs to be taken to "protect the lakes."

Frazee also presented information about proposed legislation that would give local units of government authority to take over the legal, financial and administrative responsibilities for inspection programs on public waters within their jurisdictions.

He asked the county to support that initiative if the legislation is approved.

The commissioners took the requests under advisement but did not take action.

In other action:

- The commissioners approved conditional use permits for Jerome Taatjes for an expansion of a feedlot in Holland Township, and for Carlson Dairy LLP for a feedlot expansion in Mamre Township.

- The commissioners approved an environmental assessment worksheet for a gravel pit, called the Johnson Pit in Roseville Township. By approving a "negative declaration," the commissioners agreed a more stringent environmental impact statement is not needed.

- The commissioners heard a report from Beth Fischer, from the Willmar Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, about tourism promotion efforts for the county, and approved a resolution proclaiming May 5-13 as Travel and Tourism Week in Kandiyohi County. Residents are encouraged to make note of the benefits that tourism brings the county by wearing red on May 8 in recognition of National Tourism Day.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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