Chaska City Hall

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community shared an update for an organic recycling facility that would bring “very high tech composting” to the area in a presentation to the Chaska City Council Meeting on March 6.

The SMSC currently operates a facility in Shakopee and collects “leaves, grass clippings, branches, brush, trees” and also “takes in about 10-12,000 tons of food waste every year as a part of that,” said Steve Albrecht, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s tribal operations administrator.

“When these products go through landfills, they emit a lot of volatile organics, greenhouse gasses, and so by taking them through these facilities you dramatically reduce that,” Albrecht said. “Plus, at the same time, rather than fill a landfill up with that material you can generate compost and mulches.”

The SMSC bought 330 acres of land from the Malkerson family in 2021 and plan to use 93 acres of it for a 60-acre facility. The site is located in Louisville Township adjacent to the Dem-Con Landfill and Bryan Rock Products Quarry.

“This area also, to the Dakota people, is a pretty sacred area,” Albrecht said. “And so, for them, an opportunity to buy back the land, try to utilize some of the property that’s already been impacted and then preserve the areas that haven’t is a big deal.”

“Facilities like this are needed to help meet the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s goal of recycling 75% of Minnesota’s waste by 2030,” the presentation slides read.

The proposed facility would be able to process up to 172,000 tons of organics per year, including 35,000 tons per year of food waste, once fully built out. This diversion of organic waste to the SMSC facility will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 21,000 tons per year, according to Albrecht.

“That’s a significant amount of carbon reduction, that’s a good thing for everybody in this area,” he added.

To combat odor, a state-of-the-art Aerated Static Pile system will be in place, and the facility would be 1,000 feet away from Chaska and half a mile away from any residences.

“Our hope would be that you don’t even know that we’re there,” Albrecht said.

The project also includes adding turn lanes and bypass lanes to Highway 41, which is prepared to line up with Highway 41 construction in May and June.

The new facility would then open in June and July 2024. The existing facility will phase out and close, and bison are expected to come onto the prairie and help rehabilitate the land.