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Welcome news for commissioners, as Renville Co. landfill options improving

OLIVIA — Renville County has a simple, low-cost option to extend the life of its landfill, the Renville County Board of Commissioners learned Tuesday at its work session.

It could add another two years to the projected five years of capacity remaining in the landfill by increasing the steepness of the grade on one of the two cells now being filled, according to a newly completed study by Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc., of St. Paul.

The county also has the ability to expand the landfill’s overall capacity for much longer term use without acquiring new land, according to the study.  

It was all welcome news for the board of commissioners: It gives them more time to explore the county’s long-term options for solid waste with Redwood County.

The two counties are to start construction this year on an estimated $5 million joint recycling and transfer station on the west side of Redwood Falls. They remain interested in the possibility of someday constructing a waste-to-energy facility there.

Renville County’s current landfill permit will expire Sept. 14. The county must make a decision to apply for either an extension of the current permit or a new permit by April 2.

The option of extending the life of the current landfill by increasing the grade seems a “no brainer,’’ said board member Randy Kramer.

Jeff Marlowe, public works director, said extending the life of the landfill by doing so would generate an additional $500,000 in gross revenues, which would easily pay for any added costs of making that change.

When the current cells are filled, the county has two options to extend the life of the landfill even more. The SEH study found that it would be feasible for the county to build over an unlined cell on the landfill property.

Consequently, the county could expand over the unlined cell and gain capacity for an additional 16 years of solid waste from both Renville and Redwood counties. It’s believed the project could be undertaken without the need for an environmental assessment worksheet.

The county could also undertake a major expansion by utilizing all of the available space at the landfill site and expanding vertically. It would extend the landfill life by another 30 years, based on a projection of receiving solid wastes from both counties.

Noting that the two counties had long discussed the possibility of a waste-to-energy project, board member Lamont Jacobson said that the option of expanding capacity for 16 years should give the counties time to find a way to do it.

“You’d think we could, but can we?’’ said member John Stahl in reference to all the challenges they have faced to date.


Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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