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Landfill task force explores energy options

WILLMAR -- Options for harvesting energy from the Kandiyohi County landfill were discussed Wednesday by a newly formed task force charged with exploring ways to reduce costs and extend the life of the landfill.

"It was a good beginning," said County Administrator Larry Kleindl of the first meeting of the task force, which includes about a dozen people representing local and state governments and utilities.

At the current rate, it's estimated the landfill has about 20 years of life left.

The County Board of Commissioners agreed this spring to form a task force to look at new technologies for operating the facility and ways to use the landfill to create energy, including tapping into existing methane gas from decades-old garbage or implementing a waste-to-energy system where waste is converted to fuel.

"We're keeping our options open," Kleindl said.

The task force also met with Vance Zehringer, an energy consultant with experience working for Elk River Energy City. Elk River has been known as "Energy City" since 1997 when the Minnesota Environmental Initiative chose it to act as a geographical focal point for the demonstration of efficient and renewable energy products, services and technologies. Included is a landfill where gas is harvested.

Kleindl said the task force is being careful not to narrow its scope too soon but will take time to establish a good foundation of education for future action.

"We want to do it right," he said.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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