Dozens of residents from Bloomington and Burnsville criticized the size of a proposed 362-foot landfill expansion, saying it could harm their quality of life and hurt the environment.
About 60 people gathered Wednesday night at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s public meeting about Burnsville Sanitary Landfill’s proposal.
“I’ve always thought the beauty of the river valley was so nice and now you’re going to have this big mound of garbage that’s taller than anything in the area. And Bloomington has no say in it. It was all Burnsville,” said Renee Hammes of Bloomington.
Residents asked how it would affect wildlife and property values, and whether it would generate flooding, noise and odors.
The landfill expansion would tower 362 feet above the Minnesota River, and it would be higher than the two tallest ski hills in the area.
Waste Management, which is based in Houston, Texas, would pile 6.3 million cubic yards of waste into it, according to project plans.
The landfill’s footprint would shrink, from 217 to 204 acres, but its capacity would increase by nearly 17 million cubic yards, said Waste Management Senior District Manager Mike Miller.
But critics said the height and size are what bothers them.
“The Vikings stadium is 320 feet. If you can picture a Vikings stadium behind Menards … that’s going to be a pretty tall and ugly thing,” Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, said during public comment.
The Burnsville City Council approved the initial concept plan for the project in March, but the proposal will face several regulatory reviews before a final decision is made, according to an MPCA timeline.
The MPCA, one of those bodies, is developing a study to determine if the expansion is safe for the environment.
If it’s approved, Waste Management wants to operate the landfill for 43 years. The company expects to primarily dispose of solid waste there. Now, it’s mainly for construction debris.
Hammes’ husband, Edward, said their 17-year-old daughter will be two years from retirement by the end of the proposed landfill’s life span.
Over the next several months, the MPCA will be looking at what effect the landfill would have on groundwater, air quality, greenhouse gas, surface water and other factors.
It will also be studying sociological and economic effects, as well as alternatives to the expansion.
The MPCA will be taking public comment over the next few months. A final decision on the proposal’s environmental impact will be made in February 2020.