Landfill cleanup should come from state fund, not Superfund

Roz Peterson
Roz Peterson

by Roz Peterson
District 56B state representative

I introduced a bill this session in the Minnesota House of Representatives that would help with the decommissioning and cleanup of the closed Freeway Landfill. This bill has been making its way through the committee process, and it has been included in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee’s omnibus bill. I am hopeful for support in the Senate and from the governor.

The landfill is located south of the Minnesota River and west of Interstate 35W, next to the Kraemer Quarry in Burnsville. There have been remedial investigation environmental studies, and monitoring devices have been installed in the landfill, and at this point, it appears that the landfill does not pose an immediate environmental risk. However, when the quarry is no longer mined (which could be 20 years), water levels will rise and jeopardize the integrity of the water for Burnsville, which pulls from the Prairie Du Chien aquifer.

The location is prime for redevelopment and there has been interest from outside parties to buy the land. However, until the environmental issues can be addressed through the regulatory agencies, this land will be too costly and too difficult to redevelop. Currently, there is a garbage transfer station being operated on the property, and it is used by multiple trash companies that serve our community. In a perfect world, the owner would like to be compensated for selling the land, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) would like to remediate the landfill, and the city would like to retain a portion of land for redevelopment and for right-of-way for the proposed Cliff Road upgrade and I-35W bridge replacement.

Because the MPCA and the owner have not been able to come to an agreement over the past 17-plus years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is going through the Superfund process. A part of that process requires all parties who contributed to the landfill between 1960 and 1990 to help clean it up. Many businesses, cities and school districts are included in litigation to clean up the landfill.

Going forward, I believe that it is in the best interest of all Minnesotans, especially those living in Burnsville, for the state to take over the liability and utilize funds from the Closed Landfill Investment Fund for cleanup.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you at the Capitol. If you ever have any questions, comments or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-5387 or [email protected].

Roz Peterson, of Lakeville,  represents House District 56B, which includes east-central and southern Burnsville and part of northern Lakeville. Columns reflect the opinion of the author.