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February 05 2013 12:40

Comments are invited on environmental review for landfill expansion in Blue Earth County

Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608

Mankato, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is inviting comments on an Environmental Assessment Worksheet prepared for the proposed expansion of the Ponderosa Sanitary Landfill in Blue Earth County. Comments, which must be in writing, are due by 4:30 p.m. on March 6, 2013.

Blue Earth County purchased the landfill from a private operator in 1996. It is now operated by the Ponderosa Management Co. under the direction of the Blue Earth County Environmental Services Department.

Blue Earth County is proposing to expand the landfill, located six miles southwest of Mankato, by 16 acres, with 12.4 acres for disposal space and the rest for haul roads and stormwater controls. To prevent contamination of groundwater and the nearby Blue Earth River, the expanded disposal area will be lined and include a system to collect and treat any rainwater or snow melt that contacts the buried waste. As with the current landfill area, the facility will use a system of wells to detect any contaminants in groundwater.

The county is working to remediate groundwater contamination from an area of the landfill where waste was buried without a liner system in the 1970s and 1980s. The county does not expect the proposed expansion to contribute to this contamination because all expansions since 1995 have included a liner along with a system to collect and treat any water that comes in contact with the waste.

The landfill accepts about 35,600 tons of municipal solid waste and about 8,000 tons of industrial waste a year. It also takes about 2,500 tons of noncombustible material, mostly glass and rock, left over from a process that converts waste into fuel that is burned to create electricity. This process occurs at Resource Recovery Technologies in the Twin Cities area.

The MPCA first granted a permit to the Ponderosa facility in 1972. Its current maximum capacity for buried waste is 2.952 million cubic yards. Based on the facility’s application to renew its permit, about 236,150 cubic yards of that volume remains to be used. At the current rate of solid waste accepted, it will take less than three years for the landfill to reach its maximum capacity. When it reaches that point, the facility will need to obtain a Certificate of Need from the MPCA to proceed with the expansion and continue accepting unprocessed municipal solid waste.

The facility completed the environmental assessment for expansion now because its draft solid waste permit is up for renewal. The MPCA also invites comments on the draft permit through March 6.

The facility does not expect traffic to increase with the expansion from the current daily averages of 11 commercial trucks and 31.5 vehicles from municipal solid waste haulers, industrial haulers and members of the general public who haul their own waste to the facility.
According to the environmental assessment worksheet, no impacts are expected to the Blue Earth River, fish, wildlife, historical resources, prime farmland, recreational areas, scenic views or other unique resources.

A copy of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet is available on the MPCA's Environmental Assessment Worksheets webpage. Copies are also available by contacting Beth Tegdesch of the MPCA at 651-757-2100. Written comments on the worksheet should be submitted by March 6 to William Lynott, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd N, Saint Paul MN 55155-4194 or sent by email to

The draft permit is available on the MPCA’s Public Notices webpage. Written comments on the draft permit should be submitted by March 6 to Sherri Nachtigal, MPCA, 18 Wood Lake Dr SE, Rochester, MN 55904 or sent by email to

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