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GF landfill hits slight snag

There's a potential new snag with the new Grand Forks landfill now under construction, and that has to do with hauling the garbage to Fargo and Gwinner, N.D., while crews are moving dirt.

There's a potential new snag with the new Grand Forks landfill now under construction, and that has to do with hauling the garbage to Fargo and Gwinner, N.D., while crews are moving dirt.

City officials are hoping they don't have to do any hauling if they can get the OK from the airport to keep the existing landfill open until mid-October, when the replacement landfill is expected to be done.

The snag is what happens if the airport says "no." A contract to haul garbage in the short time frame between now and October has gotten very expensive.

About two years ago, when the city thought it might have to haul garbage for a year or more, more than a half-dozen companies submitted proposals, with the lowest cost at $6 per ton.

Recently, only one company submitted a proposal and the low cost was $32.50 per ton, if the contract started in August. It goes up another dollar if the contract started in September. The contractor said it would not do the job if the contract started in October.

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The city gets about 70,000 tons of garbage a year. That would mean the cost to start in August would be about $190,000 a month, not including the tipping fees for the Fargo and Gwinner landfills.

Public Works Director Todd Feland said the airport is consulting with state agencies and has not given its reply. He said he'll ask the City Council's service committee its opinion at a meeting today.

The airport has a lot of pull on the issue because it's building a new crosswind runway with a flight path that would pass over the existing landfill. Landfills attract birds that can cause low-flying aircraft to crash and the city earlier got permission to keep the landfill open only until the runway is completed.

Feland said it's the airport's call, if officials there are comfortable with the potential risk. If there were a delay, he said, the amount of time is so short he's certain the two sides could work something out.

The city has machinery that packs garbage in bales and bags them, making it harder for birds to get at waste food.

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL
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