Work continues on updating waste ordinance

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mower County continues work to update its Solid Waste Management Ordinance, but the board may not be ready to unveil it when a one-year moratorium on solid waste facility permits expires next spring.

Commissioner Jerry Reinartz updated the board Tuesday on progress by the solid waste committee to update to ordinance, which dates to 1992.

“We’re still working on this,” Reinartz said. “It’s going to take a while before a new ordinance is written, but we’ve been gathering information, getting all kinds of advice on what’s going on.”

Email newsletter signup

In May, the county board approved a moratorium on solid waste requests to update its outdated ordinance.

Jerry Reinartz

Jerry Reinartz

That ordinance guides the way the county regulates the storage, transportation and disposal of solid waste. Talks and interest on landfills picked up after SKB Environmental acquired neighboring Veit Solid Waste Facility. SKB Environmental has said it’s looking into adding mixed municipal solid waste — or household garbage — and possibly recycling services to its Austin site.

To update its ordinance, the committee has been working with officials from Sherburn County and others to discuss ideas and options for the final plan. They’ve touched on liners, land use issues, setbacks, runoff and a host of other subjects.

But thus far, County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the talks have been largely education.

“We’re marching forward and making progress,” Oscarson said.

Eventually, Oscarson said the board will need to discuss a Statement of Need and Reasonableness — often called a SONAR — to provide background and guidance on the proposed rules change. For example, Oscarson said they’ll need to discuss whether the county wants to approve something similar to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency standards or something that’s more extensive. MPCA guidelines call for a 50-foot buffer between the berm of a landfill and an adjacent property, while Oscarson Sherburn calls for a 200-foot buffer.

Oscarson and Reinartz said the county may need to extend the moratorium to give more time to craft and complete the new ordinance.