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City approval makes way for composting at SKB

SKB Environmental received the go-ahead Tuesday night to start composting on their Rosemount property. The Rosemount City Council approved an amendment to the city's waste management zoning district to allow the practice and adopted a resolution approving an interim use permit to SKB for composting.

Community development director Kim Lindquist said SKB will conduct the composting over closed industrial waste cells. The cells have a clay liner that prevents contamination of the soil or water. SKB will generate Class I compost that will be used as black dirt for cover at its landfills as well as at its sister company Carl Bolander and Sons.

"We have huge top soil needs on a consistent basis," said Rick O'Gara, an SKB representative.

SKB would take in lawn waste as well as some source-separated materials such as restaurant and school cafeteria food waste. O'Gara added that the food waste will make up about 25 percent of the compost.

While the city has balked at having such food waste collected in the city in the past Lindquist said the push to be more green has made taking in such items more acceptable.

Lindquist said SKB will be up for its five year review in 2013 and the composting operation would be part of that review. At that time the planning commission and council will review the interim use permit to make sure SKB is complying with its conditions and no issues have come up.

Council members expressed concerns about rodents and the impact more traffic to the site could have.

The site will bring in up to 50,000 cubic yards of materials to compost annally. O'Gara said the items break down significantly and will be mixed with sand or dirt to make black soil for the company's uses.

This is the second time SKB has requested an interim use permit to compost on its site. In 2011 the council and SKB could not come to an agreement on the company's development commitment and SKB dropped the request.

After getting a yard waste contract from the city of Minneapolis, the company submitted a new request. The planning commission held a public hearing on the issue in April. Two people spoke at the hearing. Frank Knoll expressed concerns about odors and Myron Napper said he favored composting.

O'Gara said SKB conducts composting at other sites and has not had any issues with odors. The composting will be an open air operation.

During the planning commission meeting, commissioner Wade Miller expressed concerns about the use of industrial sludge in the compost. The planning commission recommended approval of the actions with the clarification that the material must meet Dakota County pollution standards for materials allowed in the compost.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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