BURNSVILLE — What should the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency keep in mind while reviewing the plan to add a couple hundred feet in height to the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill?

The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the process at a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 10 at City Hall, the agency announced last week.

In March, the Burnsville City Council approved a controversial concept plan submitted by Waste Management to increase waste capacity at the landfill by 26 million cubic yards.

If approved, the site would hold 47 million cubic yards of mixed municipal solid and construction waste. The landfill’s footprint would shrink from 216 acres to 204 acres, but its contents would stretch 260 feet higher into the sky when fully built out.

Burnsville officials said the plans provided a method to clean up the nearby Freeway Landfill and Free Dump sites, which could contaminate the region’s drinking water and the Minnesota River.

Residents and Bloomington city officials who oppose the plans say the size increase will create new environmental problems and destroy the aesthetics of the Minnesota River valley.

Concept plans are now subject to review by a handful of regulatory bodies, including a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to be prepared by the pollution control agency.

Kevin Kain, a project manager in the agency’s environmental review unit, said the review finds potential environmental impacts and discusses any mitigation measures that might help.

It is not an approval or disapproval, he said, but rather an informational document to be used by the permitting agency — in this case, the City Council.

Waste Management will pay for the review, which Kain estimates will be completed in February 2020.

On June 20, the pollution control agency published a draft scoping document saying the review could cover such topics as ground and surface water, how the site would look and how landfill gas emissions would impact air quality, to name a few.

tAdditionally, the report will discuss how the expansion might affect nearby existing and planned recreational spots. Other considerations will be the economic impact of not expanding the site and what facilities would be able to take the waste instead.

Christine Schuster is a reporter for the Savage Pacer.

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