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Board approves solid waste resolution

County Board voted 3-2 to approve a resolution supporting bills by Sen. Matt Schmit and Rep. Tim Kelly that would allow the Bench Street landfill into the state’s closed landfill program. Board Chair Ron Allen and Commissioner Richard Samuelson voted against it.

The identical bills would require all municipal solid waste generated in the county be sent to a resource recovery facility also within county limits for at least 20 years.

But Commissioner Dan Rechtzigel said the requirement to process the waste in the county doesn’t make sense for cities on the western edge, which would be forced to send trash to Red Wing instead of closer facilities in neighboring counties at a lower cost.

“You’ve got Pine Island located 10 miles from Rochester — why are we forcing them to come all the way (to Red Wing)?” Rechtzigel said.

He suggested the county support changing the wording of the bills to instead allow trash collected west of Highway 52 to be sent elsewhere if desired.

Commissioner Richard Samuelson said the county’s Solid Waste Committee had discussed the concern prior and determined there wasn’t a problem.

Rechtzigel responded that he still would like to see the wording changed just in case.

“The only issue is that the whole county isn’t treated the same,” said Allen, adding there could be complications with cities like Cannon Falls and Zumbrota that sit just east of Highway 52.

Samuelson said specifics could be discussed at a future Committee of the Whole meeting and called the question to a vote.

The Solid Waste Committee has been meeting with representatives from the city of Red Wing and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to reach an agreement on how to handle waste collection in the county, including what to do with the Bench Street landfill.

Both Goodhue County and the city of Red Wing have owned and operated the landfill for a time. The city and the county would have to put up around $2.4 million in “financial assurance” for the state to take over and close it, according to a Goodhue County Land-use Management Department report.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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