Leachate treatment system gets the go-ahead

WILLMAR -- A $2.8 million contract to construct a leachate treatment system at the county landfill was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Kandiyohi County Commissioners.

Greg Ackerson
Greg Ackerson, of Apex Companies, talks about equipment that’s being tested to determine if it can adequately treat millions of gallons of water, like that in the jar in the forefront, that seeps from the Kandiyohi County landfill every year. (Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange)

WILLMAR –– A $2.8 million contract to construct a leachate treatment system at the county landfill was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Kandiyohi County Commissioners.
The unique on-site filtering system will be the first of its kind in operation in North America.
The Board of Commissioners had OK’d the project last month pending a legal review of the contract with Apex Efficiencies Solutions Inc.
“We believe the contract is in order,” said County Administrator Larry Kleindl.
The contract includes about a dozen sub-contractors - many of them local, Kleindl said.
With the contract signed, work was expected to begin immediately.
“Shovels should be hitting dirt here shortly,” said Greg Ackerson, Apex owner. “We’re excited.”
The system, which is designed to remove contaminants from the water that have collected after it seeps through tons of garbage at the landfill, is expected to be operational by Jan. 1 at the latest, Ackerson said.
The commissioners agreed to use $1 million in reserve funds to pay for the initial construction and will seek bond proposals from local banks for the remaining $1.85 million.
The county typically works with its bond consultant, Ehlers, to advertise nationwide for bids on the Standard & Poor’s 500 market.
But based on Kleindl’s recommendation, the commissioners agreed to request bids from local banks for this project. The bids would be due Nov. 3 and could be awarded on Nov. 4.
The city of Willmar used local banks to provide bonds for street projects.
Kleindl said using local contractors and local financial institutions to fund a first-of-its-kind project reinforces the message that “we’re all in this together.”
He said using local banks is another way to be “fiscally responsible” to taxpayers.
“That’s money that stays in the county,” said Commissioner Roger Imdieke.
But Kleindl said if the bids from local banks are higher than expected, then a second round of bids would be solicited on the national market.
“Thanks for looking locally first,” said Chairman Jim Butterfield.

Kleindl said it’s hoped the $200,000 a year the county will no longer be paying to transport and treat leachate at the Willmar sanitary sewer facility will offset the annual bond payments.
When the bond is retired, Kleindl said the county will save money.
“It’s an exciting day, gentleman,” Kleindl said to the commissioners.
In the next breath he gave a good-natured nod to Ackerson: “Don’t let us down,” Kleindl said.

In other action:
• The county is seeking new park managers for Park 2, located on the east side of Big Kandiyohi Lake near Lake Lillian. The current managers, who are independent contractors with the county, did not renew their contract. The commissioners are seeking request for proposals from interested individuals to bid on the contract. The job begins Jan. 1.
• The proposed 2015 budget for the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District was presented by director Ron Hagemeier. Hagemeier is retiring at the end of the year after working with the district for 14 years.
• The commissioners recognized Ann Stehn, director of the county’s Health and Human Services Department, for receiving a recent award from the Minnesota Department of Health for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services.
• The commissioners heard an update on the county employee health insurance plan and efforts to communicate with employees about options for personal plans, how to reduce costs and to be proactive in their health care.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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