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Minot City Council takes next step toward curbside recycling

City takes next step toward curbside recycling

The Minot City Council’s approval of an engineering contract Monday will allow design work on a recycling transfer station and new landfill entrance to begin.

The council voted 6-1 to hire CPS Engineering for an amount not to exceed $565,226. A design proposal is expected from the company next spring, at which time the council would make a decision regarding construction.

A recycling transfer station is the next step toward eventually implementing a curbside recycling program. The city also wants to move the landfill entrance away from its proximity near a residential area to a location closer to 37th Avenue Southwest.

“Sixty-five percent of the city of Minot supports curbside recycling. I don’t believe that many of the expenditures we have approved in the last month would have that level of public support,” said council member Carrie Evans in urging council approval of the engineering agreement.

Jason Sorenson, assistant public works director, explained the components of the design would include extending a water main to the new entrance and constructing some interior roads. He said the transfer station could take the longest to design but should be ready for construction bids in May. Whether the city wants to do the project in pieces or hold off and go slower will affect the timeline, but recycling could be implemented by late 2022 if kept on pace, he said.

The transfer station is about a $1.25 million construction project. The entrance would cost just over $2 million. There also will be additional expenses with equipment and an estimated 7,000 residential recycling containers.

The city set aside $250,000 in 2018 and has reserve funds and other funding sources to cover project costs. It also has more than $766,000 allocated from the Community Facilities Fund for the transfer station. However, the council also approved a resolution Monday that will allow for future bonding should the city decide to use that option.

Council member Paul Pitner said he cannot support going ahead with design work at this time. He said the conversation about a new landfill entrance needs to occur in conjunction with discussion on a new landfill location.

“I don’t believe it is in the best interest of that possible project – on relocating the landfill – to invest north of $4.5 million in the property we own and by putting the transfer station down there,” he said. “It’s putting the cart before the horse a little bit on these decisions.”

Council member Mark Jantzer noted the city is opening a new cell at the existing landfill and is likely to use that landfill for some time due to the years it will take to site and construct a new landfill. He also said the new landfill entrance is a separate issue from a recycling program, despite being considered in the same design package.

Mayor Shaun Sipma agreed the city needs to make decisions about its current landfill because a new site could take years to develop.

“I think it’s a good investment, moving forward. It’s a good utilization of the dollars that we’ve already invested out there,” he said. “As far as the recycling industry itself, we certainly hope it doesn’t bottom out more than it already has.”

Sipma cited a number of contacts from residents concerned about the city getting into recycling due to the state of the industry. Minot Recycling Center, operated by Kalix, closed last year because of poor markets.

In other business, the council approved a contract with Houston Engineering for yearly water model data, such as hydrant flow data, flow information and incorporation of changes made to water infrastructure. This annual modeling is useful in addressing low flow or water quality issues.

Council member Stephan Podrygula cited the recent case of a resident who had a water quality problem, particularly with residue, and spent considerable money to trying to fix it.

“I don’t know how many other people there are like that, how many other neighborhoods there are where people are long suffering. Occasionally we find out from someone that they’ve had water issues for a long time,” he said. He suggested the study look into these types of issues and determine a plan to fix them.

Public Works Director Dan Jonasson said much of the information already is available. The city will flush lines to try to alleviate issues, but Jonasson attributed the root of the problem to old cast iron water pipes.

“Hopefully, later on this winter, we will be bringing you a plan to tackle replacing some of that cast iron pipe. It’s old, six-inch cast iron pipe that probably only has a two- or three-inch diameter left from all of the buildup,” he said. “It’s an ongoing situation. We’ve had it for years.”

Of about 326 miles of city pipeline, 86 miles is cast iron pipe, Jonasson said.

“It’s going to take some years to get it replaced,” he said.

Podrygula said it’s a leadership issue that falls back on the council, which needs to make water quality more of a priority.

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