MINOT – An addition to the city’s landfill is underway after the City Council approved plans and specifications for a seventh cell Tuesday.
The new cell is projected to cost $2,359,187. It was budgeted at $3 million.
Though cells four, five and six still have capacity, they have reached high elevations, allowing the wind to blow trash out of the landfill.
“We’ve had a lot of press coverage in regards to trash coming out of the landfill into some of our agricultural fields,” said City Manager Harold Stewart. “I wanted to give an opportunity to address the public on how this action tonight would help alleviate that. Right now we have one cell open, and it’s very high, and on days of high wind, as trash blows out of that cell, it’s pretty easy for the trash to clear our fences there.”
The new cell would be at a lower grade, allowing city staff to shift trash to the lower level on windy days.
Assistant Public Works Director Jason Sorenson said the spring of 2022 was an anomaly with 48 inches of snow in April, a month city staff typically uses for picking up trash from surrounding fields before farmers begin planting in May.
“Generally I think we’ve been pretty good neighbors,” said Sorenson. “Stuff does get out of the landfill, but we try to get out there and pick it up before spring starts.”
Sorenson added that the sixth cell is around 80 to 90 feet above the ground level surrounding it, and the tallest fence around it is 16 feet. A new cell would start about 15 feet below grade.
“On a day where there’s a 65 mile an hour wind, it’s really not very difficult for trash to get out of the landfill,” said Sorenson.
“Some people may wonder, well why not just build a taller fence?” Stewart said. “The challenge comes with one, the structure and design in that, and two, how tall do you go? Three is, if the fence does its job and catches all the trash, it very quickly becomes a very ugly visual, and how do you get up there and clean that off in a safe way? So again, this is an alternative that we think will be effective.”
In response to Alderman Stephan Pudrygula’s question of the lifespan of the new cell, Sorenson said it would most likely last five to seven years. To a second question he responded that he is unsure of the impact recycling would have on the landfill.
“Any amount of trash that doesn’t go in there is going to help some,” Sorenson explained. “I would say give me even six months, and once we have some real data from the City of Minot recycling program we can probably better predict that.”
Plans for curbside recycling are in order, with the system projected to be in place in July of this year.
With plans and specifications approved, the cell seven project is ready to proceed with bidding.
The seven cell design was approved in 1990. The solid waste capacity for that design was projected at 3.7 million cubic yards.