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May 24 2005 19:00

MPCA Assumes Rice Lake Landfill Management Responsibility; Adds Two Harbors Dump Waste

Media Contact: Anne Perry Moore 218-723-2356 Technical Contact: Ron Schwartz 651-297-2915 Toll free (all staff, voice and TTY): 1-800-657-3864 Duluth, Minn.-- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently assumed cleanup and long-term care for the former Rice Lake Landfill / Duluth Dump #2, relieving the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) and city of Duluth of these responsibilities. Under terms of a legal document called a Notice of Compliance, the MPCA concluded a multi-year negotiation process with the WLSSD, city and Duluth Airport Authority that: acknowledges landfill management compliance; transfers ownership of 150 acres of landfill property to the MPCA's Closed Landfill Program; transferred more than $4 million in financial assurance from the WLSSD to the state to cover a portion of future landfill/dump cleanup and long-term care expenses; allows the Duluth Airport Authority to retain a 10-year option to relocate Duluth Dump #2 waste onsite to accommodate a runway extension; allows the WLSSD to retain ownership and continue operation of a recycling center and maintenance shop; and, allows the WLSSD the option of developing a permitted, lined industrial landfill on a portion of Duluth Dump #2. In addition, the agency's Closed Landfill Program will allow the city of Two Harbors to move about 2,000 yards of waste from an old municipal dump onto the former Rice Lake landfill's lined cell. This activity not only gives the city of Two Harbors the opportunity to consolidate its waste in a more protective landfill site, but also reduce its monitoring costs and prevent possible ground-water contamination at their current dump site. Once it is determined the Two Harbors dump site has no remaining contamination, the property can be used for other purposes. In 2003, a similar action occurred when the city of Duluth was allowed to consolidate and relocate Sargents Creek dump materials to the former Rice Lake Landfill. The Sargents Creek site has since been returned to a natural state and can never be developed. The former Rice Lake Landfill/Duluth Dump #2 area is one of the largest and oldest landfill/dumps to enter the agency's Closed Landfill Program. It operated for almost 50 years and was issued its first state landfill permit in 1970. The WLSSD acquired title to the Rice Lake Landfill property in 1978 and stopped accepting waste in 2001. The city of Duluth owns the Duluth Dump #2 which stopped accepting waste around 1965. Questions about Rice Lake Landfill / Duluth Dump #2 activities may be directed to Ron Schwartz, Project Leader, at 651-297-2915 or Anne Perry Moore, MPCA Public Information officer at 218-723-2356. Both are available toll-free at 1-800-657-3864. Visit the agency's Web site at for more information about its Closed Landfill Program. Questions about the WLSSD Materials Recovery Center should be directed to Karen Anderson at 218-740-4776.

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