Council stalls support of landfill expansion


At its most recent meeting Tuesday, February 17, the Maple Lake City Council demurred from Advanced Disposal Landfill’s request for a letter to Wright County supporting its proposed expansion. Instead, the council countered with a request of its own.
Advanced Disposal, parent company of Rolling Hills Landfill on County Road 37 in Monticello Township, is seeking a 72-acre expansion, and is also looking to accept household waste in addition to the industrial and demolition waste the company currently accepts. The proposed facility would also have an area for accepting yard waste, appliances and tires. Located east of the Wright County compost facility, the site has existed since 1965, owned by a number of corporate entities. Advanced Disposal’s current facility is about 78 acres. The addition would be filled in stages, and initially, would not be visible from the road. The company has set the third quarter of 2015 as a target date to begin accepting waste at the expansion area. 
Local business owner and former State Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch spoke in favor of the expansion, saying that Monticello Township has signed off on it, and that following public testimony and a site visit, the Wright County Planning and Zoning Commission would vote on the proposal in mid-March. 
Representing Rolling Hills Manager Mike Niewind, who was attending another meeting, Koch said Niewind “would love to see a letter of support” from Maple Lake.
Mayor Lynn Kissock asked if any neighboring municipalities had agreed to express their support in writing, and Koch responded that the request process was just beginning.
Councilmember Deb Geyen cited a recent letter to the editor published in many area newspapers and expressed reservations about reports of pollution from the site already leaking into the aquifer, saying she wasn’t comfortable with the city “sticking its neck out” in favor of the expansion.
Koch said tests have determined that the leakage point is from “the old landfill,” has been monitored for growth (which is not occurring, Koch said) and that Advanced Disposal is working with the state on potentially exhuming and amending that site.
To address the concerns of both the council and the citizens of Maple Lake, Kissock requested that Niewind write a letter to the editor of the Maple Lake Messenger, addressing all of the points in the published newspaper letter, which Koch agreed was a reasonable approach.
Niewind did make an appearance later in the meeting, and also agreed to the mayor’s request.