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Wait for county's solid waste permit could soon be over

Mavis Fodness

The six-year wait for a renewed solid waste permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) may soon be over for Rock County.
A letter dated June 23 from MPCA assistant commissioner Kirk Koudelka outlined a timeframe and a plan to expedite Rock County’s renewal of its demolition landfill.
“Although your facility can still continue to operate under its existing permit until a new permit is issued, since a timely application was submitted, we agree the failure to act on your application for reissuance for such a long time is unacceptable,” he wrote.
Rock County Land Management Office submitted a renewal application on March 23, 2009. A letter received in May of this year was the first communication from an MPCA official since the application was received. The letter requested the last five years of monitoring results to make a decision on issuing a renewed permit.
The letter further stipulated an MPCA staff member had been assigned to expedite Rock County’s application. Currently, a public notice is being prepared for the permit and was anticipated to take place July 6, the letter stated.
In the six years since the renewal application was submitted, the MPCA staff talked about Rock County’s renewal application since its submission, but no action was taken until recently.
“… we also find the lack of clear written documentation of the status to be troublesome,” Koudelka added.
At their June 2 meeting, the Rock County Commissioners directed administrator Kyle Oldre to draft a letter asking how a six-year wait for a permit renewal is acceptable.
“It (the letter) actually got some pretty good attention,” Oldre told commissioners at their July 7 meeting. “They have basically assured us we will go through the permit process now.”
However, the process could take to the end of the year to complete.
The first step in the process is preparing documents for a public notice.
Originally targeted to be complete by July 6, MPCA spokesperson Forrest Peterson said completion has already been moved to sometime later this month. Once the notice is published, a 30-day public comment period takes place.
He said depending on the number and issues the comments raise, the permit will be reissued.
“If there are some substantive comments, we can go back to the permit and make changes,” Peterson said.
It is possible that a public hearing would be conducted if comments warrant such a meeting. However, public hearings are generally not necessary, he said.
“If all goes well, we will be issuing a five-year permit,” Peterson said.
In other business, commissioners:
­­•Updated the veteran service officer’s job description and approved a wage range adjustment.
Besides assisting veterans and their dependents, current VSO David Haugom will also assist with exhibits and tours at the military museum. Qualifications for the position will now include a bachelor’s degree in business management, military science or a related field. Originally a high school diploma or equivalent was necessary.
Haugom’s salary for the part-time position was raised from $18,003 to $18,075, retroactive to Jan. 1.
­­•Met Rachel Jacobs of Ellsworth who was recently hired in the Land Records Office.
­­•Set Aug. 4 to review six-month departmental expenditures.

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