The County Board last week approved spending $150,000 out of the Solid Waste Management Fee revenues, an itemized line on annual property tax payments, to help cleanup Rotary Park, on School Lake, in Chisago City. The parkland is accessed from Liberty Lane and includes shoreline along the south end of School lake. About six acres in size; the former dump was identified as needing attention in 2010, when the county won a “brownfield grant” from the state Pollution Control Agency for a site assessment. This review found trash, appliance bodies, concrete, tires and assorted dumped materials.
The goal is to cleanup the top four feet of land over about 680 cubic yards of debris field, the Board was told. The “action plan” written in 2012 involves “clearing, grubbing and removal and disposal of surficial debris.” “Hot spots” will be excavated and abated to at least four feet below the surface and possibly nine feet, if contaminants are found. Site restoration is also being required and this is where Chisago City comes in. Under the agreement the city manages the project, supplies clean fill, grading and plantings. This is in addition to the $150,000 from Chisago County. Cleanup is proposed to happen quickly-- the agreement took effect when the Board voted 5-0 and at the end of October the agreement with Chisago City terminates.
In another environmental services department-related matter: the County Board voted 4-1 to contract with Nystrom Publishing, a company based in Maple Grove, to put out “Environmental Connections” the county’s twice-yearly newsletter. The bid was $4,239 per edition. Commissioner George McMahon was the no vote, without comment. Lisa Thibodeau, Solid Waste Coordinator, presented an update to the county solid waste management plan for meeting state recycling, reuse and landfilling standards. She said the plan is re-drafted and goes to the state every 10 years. The mandate is to achieve 35 percent recycling and Chisago County is around 30 percent-- but there are some large recycling efforts that are independent of the licensed haulers who report, and Thibodeau said she just needs to document this stream of recycled product, to enhance the county’s percentage. State monies generated through hauling taxes get distributed to counties based on recycling rates and other components in a funding formula.