Burnsville | Burnsville Sanitary Landfill expansion

Burnsville Sanitary Landfill (BSL) proposes to increase the size of its landfill by nearly 23.6 million cubic yards. This expansion will also increase the peak height of the landfill by 262 feet. The draft permit is currently open for public comment for 45 days. MPCA permitting staff used data gathered and findings from the supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) to inform the draft solid waste permit for the BSL facility.

The BSL is owned and operated by Waste Management in Burnsville and accepts multiple types of trash:

  • Normal trash picked up at the curb from homes and commercial properties (also known as mixed municipal solid waste or MMSW) 
  • Industrial waste
  • Construction and demolition debris

The expansion would increase capacity by nearly 23.6 million cubic yards, shrink the current waste disposal footprint from 216 acres to 204 acres, and increase the peak height of the landfill by 262 feet, which BSL estimates would extend the useful life of the landfill by 40 years to 2062.

A map showing the Burnsville area landfill.

Earlier in 2022, the MPCA made a determination of adequacy (DOA) on the BSL final supplemental environmental impact statement (FSEIS). The DOA means that the FSEIS adequately addressed all potentially significant issues raised in SEIS scoping, provided responses to comments on the draft SEIS, and was prepared in compliance with applicable state environmental review rules. The FSEIS adequacy decision is not an approval or disapproval of BSL’s proposed landfill expansion project; rather, it is an informational document that must be considered by governmental units as they prepare permits for the BSL project.

More than 80 percent of the solid waste entering the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill comes from the counties of Hennepin and Dakota. Solid waste forecasts expect that the need for landfill disposal will continue to increase, and the need for this expansion project was identified during the MPCA’s Certificate of Need process.

Draft solid waste permit

This draft permit would only allow for a portion of that expansion and would grant approximately 13 million cubic yards of additional waste disposal capacity, which would increase the landfill height by 92 feet. If issued, the solid waste permit would last for 10 years. If conditions change and modifications to the permit are necessary, the agency may review and amend the permit.

The draft permit addresses several key environmental risks identified by the SEIS, including:

  • Sampling for 1,4-dioxane and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • Updated contingency action plan and corresponding financial assurance amounts to address potential future negative impacts;
  • Special permit conditions that require additional analyses to investigate future scenarios where the neighboring Kraemer Quarry stops pumping groundwater;
  • Restrictions on filling over new historical unlined waste disposal areas until these analyses are completed and approved by the MPCA, and;
  • Monitoring of PFAS through MPCA’s PFAS monitoring plan.

In addition, the permit requires features that will help the landfill prepare for Minnesota’s changing climate:

  • A proposed flood control berm that is six inches below the 500-year flood elevation for the Minnesota River. The berm will be constructed to an elevation of 722 ft, which is more than two feet above the highest recorded flood elevation (719.4 ft in 1965).
  • A stormwater management system designed for a 100-year rainfall event (7.44 inches). Current rules only require plans for a 25-year rainfall event (5.32 inches).

Public input

The draft permit was open for public comment from July 21, 2022 until September 6, 2022. Comments and responses can be found in the document below.