Crow Wing County Mixed Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Expansion by gpc19797


									                                 STATE OF MINNESOTA

In the Matter of the Decision on the                                                FINDINGS OF FACT
Need for an Environmental Impact Statement                                          AND CONCLUSIONS
for the Proposed Crow Wing County Mixed
Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Expansion
Project, Oak Lawn Township, Minnesota

Crow Wing County (County) is proposing to increase the capacity at the County mixed municipal solid
waste (MMSW) landfill, constructing two cells to provide capacity through the year 2006 and an
additional cell for disposal through 2012. Pursuant to Minn. R. 4410.4300, subp. 17, the Minnesota
Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the
project. The EAW, comments received on the EAW, and information received during the EAW comment
period have been reviewed in accordance with Minn. R. 4410.1700 to determine if the proposed project
has the potential for significant environmental effects. Based on this record, the MPCA hereby makes the
following Findings of Fact and Conclusions.

                                         FINDINGS OF FACT


      A. Existing Facility.

          1. Landfill Site. The County owns solid waste disposal facilities located on an 480-acre site
             in Oak Lawn Township, Minnesota. The site, located approximately six miles northeast of
             Brainerd, Minnesota, contains components of the County's waste management system
             including the open, lined MMSW landfill located in the southwest corner of the property;
             the closed, unlined MMSW landfill in the southeast corner; a lined paper mill sludge
             monofill located west of the closed landfill; a demolition debris landfill and yard waste
             processing area; three leachate pretreatment ponds; a household hazardous waste
             collection, storage, and processing building; and other facilities for the collection of used
             oil, glass, household appliances, lead-acid batteries, and used tires.

          2. Project Area. There are 12 dwellings within one mile of the 480-acre parcel including a
             mobile home used by the landfill operator on the county property. The nearest constructed
             residence is located 1,250 feet to the southeast. Five homes are located within 2,000 feet to
             the southeast. The facility is located on predominantly forested and agricultural property.
             Hay Lake is located 2,700 feet to the south; Hay Creek is located 4,800 feet to the
             southeast; and an unnamed creek is located 4,800 feet to the northeast. The Mississippi
             River is located immediately north of the site.

          3. Design and Phasing. The MMSW landfill provides for a clay/synthetic composite lining
             and a leachate collection system. Leachate is treated on the site through aeration in
             treatment ponds prior to final disposal via spray irrigation on the cover of the closed
             landfill. The present permit allows construction of three lined cells. Cell 1 was constructed
             in fall 1991 and reached capacity in 1996. Cell 2 was constructed in 1995 and is expected
             to reach capacity in 2001. Cell 3 is scheduled to be constructed and to begin operation in
             2001. The composite lining, in ascending order, consists of a subgrade of compacted soil,
             a two-foot barrier layer of compacted clay, a 60-mil polyethylene membrane, and an 18-
             inch drainage layer of clean granular material. The facility design incorporates several
               additional features to comply with MPCA requirements including the placement of daily,
               intermediate and final covers, landfill gas venting and monitoring systems, and an
               environmental monitoring system.

           4. Waste Generation. The MMSW landfill accepts non-hazardous municipal, light industrial
              and commercial solid wastes generated within the County. According to a November 1997
              projection, the facility was expected to receive approximately 33,875 to 40,418 tons of
              solid waste per year, or 118 to 141 tons per day, during the years 1997 through 2006. The
              landfill received 33,155 tons of MMSW during 1998 with monthly tonnage ranging from
              2,171 tons in February to 3,322 tons in June. The County experiences large fluctuations in
              waste generation due to the large seasonal population and tourist industry. Materials such
              as demolition debris, white goods, batteries, waste oil, and industrial wastes, such as paper
              mill sludge, are not disposed at the MMSW landfill. Hazardous waste, untreated sewage
              sludge, septic tank pumpings, infectious wastes, radioactive wastes, free liquids, or waste
              containing free liquids are also not accepted.

      B. Proposed Project.

           1. Purpose. The MMSW landfill expansion is proposed by Crow Wing County to meet the
              future solid waste disposal needs of its residents. The need for disposal capacity is based
              on estimated annual tonnage for the new design through 2012. See Finding I.A.4.

           2. Proposed Facilities. The proposed permit re-issuance would increase the ultimate capacity
              of the landfill from 931,520 cubic yards to 1,967,800 cubic yards, including final cover.
              This increase will provide capacity through 2012 and increase the footprint from 12.8 acres
              to 22.5 acres. The permitted design of Cell 3 would be modified by increasing the
              horizontal footprint and lowering the bottom elevation. Cells 4 and 5 would be added at a
              lower liner elevation. Cell Nos. 1 to 5 and the associated compliance boundary will cover
              52.9 acres.


      A.    The project involves the expansion by 25 percent or more of previous capacity of a MMSW
            disposal facility for up to 100,000 cubic yards of waste fill per year. The preparation of an
            EAW by the MPCA was mandatory pursuant to Minn. R. 4410.4300, subp. 17B.

      B.    An EAW was prepared on the proposed project and distributed to the Environmental Quality
            Board (EQB) mailing list and other interested parties on November 29, 1999.

      C.    A press release containing the notice of availability of the EAW for public review was
            provided to media serving the project area on November 24, 1999.

      D.    The public comment period for the EAW began on November 29, 1999, and ended on
            December 29, 1999. Comment letters were received from the Minnesota Historical Society,
            Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and
            the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Copies of these letters and the responses prepared by
            MPCA staff are attached to these Findings.


       In deciding whether the project has the potential to result in significant environmental effects, the
       MPCA considered the four criteria set forth in Minn. R. 4410.1700, subp. 7. These criteria are
       A) the type, extent, and reversibility of environmental effects; B) cumulative potential effects of
       related or anticipated future projects; C) the extent to which the environmental effects are subject
       to mitigation by ongoing public regulatory authority; and D) the extent to which environmental
       effects can be anticipated and controlled as a result of other available environmental studies
       undertaken by public agencies or the project proposer, including other Environmental Impact
       Statements (EIS’s). The MPCA findings with respect to each of these criteria are set forth below.


            1. Site Utilization. Undeveloped portions of the County property are predominantly wooded
               with aspen forest and scattered birch and pine. Approximately 16.5 acres of woodland
               will be progressively eliminated by the phased construction of the project. This area will
               be developed as a soil borrow source and timber will be removed. Longer term, additional
               disposal cells would be located in this area. Mostly undeveloped, large areas of similar
               habitat exist adjacent to the site. The final landfill cover will provide habitat for certain
               types of wildlife. About 22.5 acres will be converted to grassland after final cover
               placement through Cell 5. No rare plant or animal species or other significant natural
               features are known to occur on or near the MMSW landfill for this activity. The MPCA
               finds that the proposed conversion of wooded area to landfill development will not result in a
               significant environmental impact.

            2. Erosion and Sedimentation (Construction). The topography of the county property is
               hummocky, with slopes generally ranging from seven to 30 percent. Within the limits of
               the MMSW landfill, the maximum intermediate slopes will be 33 percent while the
               maximum final slopes will be 20 percent. During construction, runoff from the site is
               expected to be minimal due to the highly permeable nature of on-site soils. Any runoff
               which does occur, will be directed to open ditches which convey water to existing
               infiltration areas. Silt fences, hay bales, netting and mulch will be put in place prior to the
               time vegetation is established on areas susceptible to erosion. Stormwater control features
               will be designed to manage runoff from a 25-year, 24-hour storm, which is approximately
               4.5 inches. The MPCA finds that the project does not have the potential for significant
               environmental effects related to the quantity and quality of surface runoff generated
               during construction.

            3. Erosion and Sedimentation (Operation). Erosion of the drainage layers placed above the
               landfill lining will be reduced by placement of straw or hay up the landfill side slopes.
               This measure will also provide freeze protection and protection from wind erosion.
               During project operation, ditches and berms will direct runoff. All culverts and open
               channels will be constructed in a manner that will minimize erosion both during and after
               construction. Ditches generally will be grass lined. Where high runoff velocities are
               expected, ditches will be rock lined to provide further erosion protection. Surface water
               will be routed to a series of natural low-lying areas where permeable soils will allow
               infiltration. The MPCA finds that the project does not have the potential for significant
               environmental effects related to runoff during the operation phase of the project.

            4. Ground Water Quality. Field investigations indicate that ground water flow beneath the

    site is northwesterly toward the Mississippi River. There are no known downgradient
    water supply wells. The river is located 0.8 miles north of the compliance boundary for
    the MMSW landfill. The compliance boundary defines the point at which environmental
    monitoring is conducted to demonstrate compliance with limits or standards (e.g., ground
    water quality) established to protect the environment. The existing and proposed MMSW
    landfill cells include leachate collection and composite linings to ensure protection of
    ground water quality. A ground water monitoring program has been established at the site
    and the proposed permit identifies corrective action to be followed if monitoring shows
    ground water quality intervention limits are exceeded. To date, intervention limits have
    not been exceeded for any parameter. The MPCA finds that the project does not have the
    potential for significant environmental effects related to ground water quality.

5. Well Construction. Ground water monitoring wells will be installed and abandoned
   during the construction and development of Cells 3 through 5. Data from these wells will
   provide ground water flow and quality information along the northern compliance
   boundary through the post-closure period. Well abandonment will be conducted
   according to the Minnesota Department of Health Well Code. The MPCA finds that the
   project does not have the potential for significant environmental effects related to well
   construction or abandonment.

6. Leachate Treatment and Disposal. Leachate generation has ranged from 1.6 to 2.8 million
   gallons per year and will tend to increase as new cell development occurs. The leachate
   management system includes leachate collection, leak detection, recirculation,
   pretreatment, and ultimate disposal through land application onto a portion of the final
   cover of the County’s closed landfill. Secondary options are the injection and recirulation
   of treated leachate in the lined landfill and the hauling of leachate to St. Paul for discharge
   into the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services wastewater treatment facility. The
   MPCA finds that the project does not have the potential for significant environmental
   effects related to leachate disposal.

7. Air Quality. The MMSW landfill will produce landfill gas containing methane, carbon
   dioxide, and trace volatile organic compounds due to the decomposition of organic
   material in the waste. During operation, landfill gas will vent directly to the atmosphere
   through the daily and intermediate cover. During the post-closure period, landfill gases
   will be contained by the cover system, collected, and vented to the atmosphere through
   vent pipes in the cover. Operation of the leachate aeration ponds will result in releases of
   volatile organic compounds. Due to the relatively low volume of these gases, the MPCA
   finds that the project does not have the potential for significant effects related to air

8. Active Landfill Operations. During active landfill operations, odor may continue to be
   generated by the waste brought into and disposed on the site. In addition, leachate
   pretreatment generates odors. Odors and dust are controlled by placing and compacting
   waste at the time it arrives at the landfill site, minimizing the working face area, and
   covering the waste with at least six inches of daily cover soil or suitable alternative.
   During operations, litter can blow away from the active fill area. Daily cover helps to
   minimize this problem. The site operator will be responsible for site litter control and
   cleanup. The MPCA finds that the project does not have the potential for significant
   environmental effects related to daily operation at the landfill.

9. The MPCA finds that the proposed Crow Wing County MMSW landfill expansion does
   not have the potential for significant environmental effects with respect to the type, extent,

         and reversibility of environmental effects.


     1. Future Projects. The site has been used for municipal solid waste disposal for over 25
        years. Crow Wing County plans to operate the current MMSW landfill as one element in
        an integrated system of waste handling, processing, and disposal facilities located on the
        480-acre site. Current MMSW landfill operation is planned through at least 2012. Other
        facilities will continue to operate in the future.

     2. The MPCA finds that the proposed project does not have the potential for significant
        cumulative environmental effects with respect to related or anticipated future projects.


     1. The following permits or approvals will be required for the project:

     Unit of Government                                  Permit or Approval Required

     Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance        Waste Management Plan Update and
                                                         Certificate of Need (approved 8/25/98)

     MPCA                                                Solid Waste Facility Permit

     Metropolitan Council Environmental Services         Leachate Discharge to Wastewater
                                                         Collection system (existing approval)

     Crow Wing County                                    Building/Construction Permit,
                                                         Conditional Use Permit (existing

     2. MPCA. The MPCA has reviewed the September 1998 permit reissuance application and
        determined it to be complete from an engineering and hydrogeologic perspective.
        Construction and operation of the MMSW landfill are in accordance to the permit and the
        approved design, operation, leachate management, monitoring, closure, post-closure,
        emergency, and contingency action plans.

     3. Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance. The proposed permitted capacity is based
        on the Certificate of Need (CON) received by the County from the Minnesota Office of
        Environmental Assistance (OEA) on August 25, 1998. A CON is granted by the OEA for
        a 10-year planning period with updates calculated every five years. Facility permits
        issued by the MPCA are also granted in a five-year cycle. Permitted disposal capacity is
        limited to the most recent CON value, although a larger permitted ultimate capacity is
        allowed, subject to future permit reissuance.

     4. Crow Wing County. The County will determine, administer and enforce requirements
        related to the location, construction and operation of the facility to ensure adherence to
        local codes and ordinances established for the protection of neighboring land uses and
        County resources. Contracts related to the construction, operation and maintenance of the
        facility will provide a further mechanism for the mitigation of adverse effects.

     5. The MPCA finds that the potential environmental effects of the project are subject to
        mitigation by ongoing public regulatory authority.


     1. In August 1991, Crow Wing County obtained the original solid waste permit to construct
        two lined MMSW landfill cells on 9.6 acres. The permit was reissued by the MPCA on
        June 18, 1996. The 1996 permit defined a landfill with a footprint of 12.8 acres and three
        cells with an air-space of 931,520 cubic yards (ultimate capacity), including final cover.
        The permit authorized the disposal of 598,081 in-place cubic yards of MMSW, including
        cover soils, between June 1996 and June 2001. Environmental review of the facility was
        conducted in 1991 (Cells 1 & 2), 1993 (leachate land treatment system), and 1995 (Cells 2
        & 3, leachate treatment pond).

     2. The potential impacts of the proposed project have received detailed evaluation in a
        permit application and supporting studies submitted by the project proposer and reviewed
        by the MPCA technical staff. The project is of the type which is frequently reviewed by
        the MPCA.

     3. There are no elements of the project that pose the potential for significant environmental
        effects, which cannot be addressed in the project design and permit development

     4. The MPCA finds that the environmental effects of the project can be anticipated and
        controlled as a result of environmental review, previous environmental studies, and
        permitting processes undertaken by the MPCA on similar projects.


1. The EAW process and permit development process, have generated information adequate to
   determine whether the potential environmental effects of the project are significant.

2. Areas where the potential for significant environmental effects may have existed have been identified
   and appropriate mitigative measures have been incorporated into the project design and permits. The
   proposed project is expected to comply with all MPCA standards.

3. Based on the criteria established in Minn. R. 4410.1700, the project does not have the potential for
   significant environmental effects.

4. An Environmental Impact Statement is not required on the proposed project.

5. Any findings that might properly be termed conclusions and any conclusions that might properly be
   termed findings are hereby adopted as such.

                                                         Karen A. Studders, Commissioner
                                                         Minnesota Pollution Control Agency



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