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County nets $2.6M for new facility

An upgrade is in store for the Becker County Transfer Station, which will see new facilities.

The third time was certainly the charm for the Becker County Transfer Station.

Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bonding bill that included $2.6 million for a transfer station at the county landfill. This was the county’s third attempt at getting approval for the funding.

“I’m real happy about this,” Environmental Services Administrator Steve Skoog said.

The funding will go through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which will in turn grant the money to the county to design and construct a waste transfer facility and material recovery facility — basically, a recycling facility.

This amount covers 75 percent of the cost of the transfer station and 50 percent of the cost of the material recovery facility. The county will not receive the funding until it has secured the remainder of the funds from non-state sources, as well.

Skoog said the county has budgeted for the project and is ready with the funds.

“We originally asked for $2.5 million, and they added to it,” Skoog said, which is a rarity. “We do have funds to make it happen.

“We’ve already gotten started on the dirt work for the transfer station, so part of those costs has occurred already, but there’s no cost recovery on that; there’s no cost share on what we’ve already spent.”

Skoog said the county’s current transfer station is obsolete by today’s standards, and the county has been growing and that facility is not functional for the county’s need anymore.

Later this summer, the county will begin sending waste to the Perham incinerator, and the current facility doesn’t allow the county to separate waste as it should.

The new transfer station project is ready to be bid out, and the bonding money from the state will be available in July, so Skoog is hoping to award bids yet this fall to get the concrete poured and set so the structure can be installed this winter.

“It’s a pre-engineered building, and when they get awarded the bid, my understanding is they order the building at the same time. So as soon as they start pouring cement and digging and doing their thing, the building is being constructed in some factory some place. Then when you’re done with the cement work, it’s delivered onsite and they assemble it.”

At the next county board meeting, May 27, Skoog will be coming to the commissioners for approval of a temporary waste storage facility that can be used to separate waste until the new transfer station is built.

With the new transfer station, some other upgrades will be made at the county landfill, including a new truck scale and an office building. The existing office building will be demolished.

“This will allow us to address some concerns we’ve had for a long time,” Skoog said of receiving the grant, “and it’s a big step forward for the department and the way we handle solid waste. It will help us address some issues going into the future.”

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.