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Closed Landfill Program

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Closed Landfill Program (CLP) is a voluntary program established by the Legislature in 1994 to properly close, monitor, and maintain Minnesota's closed municipal sanitary landfills. There are currently 109 closed landfills in the CLP.

Background information

The Minnesota Legislature enacted the Landfill Cleanup Act (LCA) in 1994 to ensure the proper closure and post-closure care at up to 112 closed, permitted municipal sanitary landfills located throughout the state. Based on this legislation, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) created the Closed Landfill Program (CLP) to administer the LCA mandates. Subsequent amendments to the LCA in 1999 and 2000 allowed additional sites to enter the CLP.

HTML Content Landfill Cleanup Act (115B.39) External Link

Any MPCA-permitted mixed municipal solid waste landfill that stopped accepting mixed municipal solid waste (MMSW) by April 9, 1994, and demolition debris before May 1, 1995, can qualify for application to this program. Some of the landfills in the CLP are owned by the state, while others remain in private or public ownership. Because the CLP is a voluntary program, not all closed permitted landfills are in the CLP; however, most closed, permitted facilities in the state have opted to join the CLP.

An active gas extraction system prevents landfill gas migration at the Oak Grove landfill in Anoka County. Photo: An active gas-extraction system prevents landfill gas migration at the Oak Grove landfill in Anoka County.

After the landfill owners/operators enter into an agreement with the MPCA (referred to as a Binding Agreement) and complete the requirements set forth in that agreement, the owner/operators are issued a Notice of Compliance (NOC). Once the NOC has been issued, the MPCA assumes responsibility for any remaining cleanup work, closure construction, and long-term care of the landfill. In some cases, past Superfund cleanup costs were reimbursed to owner/operators or other responsible parties.

The CLP determines the risk to public health and safety and the environment at each site using a scoring model. Landfills are scored based on hazards present at each site (monitoring data and field observations), the conditions that exacerbate those hazards (example: subsurface conditions), and the likelihood the public will be exposed to those hazards (distance to wells and buildings, population density). Landfills with high risk scores receive a high ranking or priority. This list helps the CLP prioritize where it will take response actions.

Funding for the program currently comes from the MPCA's Remediation Fund and state general obligation bonds.

Assistance and resources

Insurance recovery effort

Minnesota statutes provided for the MPCA to seek contributions from the insurance industry to off-set some of the costs to run the CLP. For more information regarding the Insurance Recovery Effort, contact Tom Newman, Project Leader, 651-757-2609.

Land use plans

The LCA requires the MPCA to develop a Land Use Plan (LUP) for each qualified landfill in the CLP. All local land-use plans must be consistent with the MPCA's LUP.

PDF Document Closed Landfill Program - Land use planning (c-clf1-02)

Essentially, the LUP will compare land-use designations and zoning ordinances prescribed by the local unit of government and compare these to the MPCA's future land-use plans for the landfill. If these are in conflict, the local government's land-use designations and ordinances will need to be modified to become compatible with the MPCA's land-use plans.

Where there are significant changes at a landfill, the MPCA will provide local units of government with a Site Annual Report. Site Annual Reports contain data about the landfill, including possible gas migration and/or groundwater contamination that may be leaving the qualified facility. Site Annual Reports also contain important information local units of government should use to determine appropriate land-use designations for properties adjacent to the qualified facility to protect public health and safety.

Landfill gas to energy

The majority of landfills in the CLP have some type of passive gas-venting system to collect and exhaust the methane gasses that form in the waste due to decomposition processes. In addition, 15 landfills have an active gas-extraction system and an additional five landfills will have operational gas-extraction systems before the end of 2004. Active landfill gas-extraction systems are increasingly being considered for the following beneficial uses:

  1. reduction in methane migration and vegetative loss;
  2. greenhouse gas reduction;
  3. reduction of volatile organic compounds otherwise migrating to ground water or the air; and
  4. potential gas-to-energy use.

With advancements in electrical generation technology, such as microturbines, and the maturation of the CLP, it has become evident that direct use of extracted landfill gas as a boiler fuel or for the production of electricity may provide beneficial use for this renewable energy source. It is estimated that if all landfills where active gas extraction systems are either completed or planned were developed for electrical generation, these landfills would have the capacity to produce as much as 8 to 10 megawatts of electricity. This would provide sufficient electricity for the annual needs of more than 9,300 homes.

The CLP is exploring several options to maximize development of this renewable energy resource. The CLP has begun working with consultants to define the economic and technical feasibility of developing various landfill gas-to-energy projects at those landfills for which those projects are best suited. Based on the feasibility study results, the CLP intends to develop several projects to demonstrate the value of landfill gas-to-energy.

Closed landfill locations


Use the interactive Landfill Cleanup Act Participants map to view a closed landfill's groundwater plume, groundwater area of concern, methane area of concern, and monitoring locations. Click on the features to view additional information. Share a zoomed in view of the map on social media. Print a map with a custom title.

CLP ArcGIS Online application thumbnail

Click on the thumbnail image to launch the application.

Legislative reports

The 1994 Landfill Cleanup Act (MN Stats. 115B.412 subd. 10) requires the MPCA to provide a report to the Legislature on past fiscal-year activities and anticipated future work.

For more information about CLP annual reports to the Minnesota Legislature, contact Shawn Ruotsinoja, Project Leader, 651-757-2683.

Landfill fact sheets

Information about specific closed landfill sites.

Washington County Landfill Reconstruction Project

The Washington County Reconstruction Project began on June 2, 2009. The project is scheduled for completion by October 31, 2012, although it may be done sooner if all goes well. Project status updates and data from testing of ambient air quality and groundwater around the landfill will be posted here periodically. See links below for the data.

Questions about these reports may be directed to the MPCA project team.

  • Pat Hanson, Project Manager, 651-757-2409
  • Peter Tiffany, Project Engineer, 651-757-2784
  • Ingrid Verhagen, Project Hydrogeologist, 651-757-2800
Last modified on June 10, 2014 15:17