A regional partnership between nine northwest Minnesota counties to develop long-term solutions surrounding construction and demolition (C&D) waste management.
Working Together For a Sustainable Future
Funding the Future
All construction cost estimates for lined landfill implementation were developed utilizing available cost data from recent construction projects. Due to the high-level conceptual design and unknown nature of potential MPCA permitting requirements, all options were explored to give Counties accurate costs for these options. State and Federal funding sources are needed to help counties develop sustainable programs with specialized equipment, building infrastructure and to utilize advancing technologies.
Major Project Components
Wood Chipper & Colorizer
Clean, untreated wood is another large part of the C&D waste stream. A high-speed chipper can be used to reduce the size of the processed wood product to a form which avoids disposal. In larger lengths the wood can be used in conjunction with a colorizer to dye the product for use in landscaping. The material can also be used as a carbon source for compost facilities or animal bedding.
Concrete is a very large portion of the C&D material stream. In large quantities, concrete is managed outside the disposal stream. Smaller quantities however remain. A concrete crusher will reduce the size of the concrete to a reusable form. Porcelain and plate-glass likewise can be crushed and reused with concrete.
Aerated Static Pile Compost System
Most entry-level compost systems are static pile – piled in long windrows and turned as needed. These systems require a lot of space and time. Aerated Static Piles (ASP’s) pile the material into a bunker which are managed on a small footprint and shorter time period. The ASP’s control the temperature, airflow and moisture level to efficiently manage the process.
Shingles make up a large volume of the C&D waste stream. Diverting them from disposal and reusing ground shingles in road projects is possible. A purpose-build high-speed grinder will reduce the shingle to the required size and remove nails for recycling. Ground shingles are beneficial to road projects.
Robots will be utilized to conduct Quality Control (QC) functions behind advanced recycling equipment. QC needs to be done to ensure recyclable materials meet market specifications for contamination. Due to labor shortages, often multiple types of materials are not removed for recycling because the material cannot be QC’d to meet that specification.
Hub & Spoke
A 2023 feasibility assessment evaluated the replacement of many of the small unlined C&D landfills in the 9 County region. The Hub & Spoke model was identified as the most efficient, cost-effective way of dealing with C&D waste. The system would involve the construction of small mixed-use facilities (Spokes) to consolidate many small loads of materials into larger loads for shipment to a larger lined C&D landfill (Hub).
A Hub would be a compliant lined disposal facility that would process larger loads that are transferred from area Spokes due to the increased disposal capacity of the Hub.
There would be two Hubs across the nine counties, an East and West Hub. The proposed Hub locations are in Beltrami, Hubbard, or Polk County. The West Hub would facilitate Spokes in Marshall, Norman, Polk, and Red Lake Counties, while the East Hub would facilitate Spokes in Beltrami, Cass, and Hubbard Counties.
Mahnomen and Clearwater Counties could tentatively be facilitated by either Hub due to their centralized location within the nine-county area.
A Spoke is a proposed future local mixed-use facility to consolidate many small loads of C&D materials into larger loads for shipment to a larger regional C&D Hub facility, or C&D transfer station.
The Spokes would be capable of sorting some recyclable/reusable materials out of the incoming C&D wastes in addition to accepting other non-C&D materials for beneficial use, recycling, or disposal (such as scrap metal, appliances, E-waste, organics/yard waste, HHW, etc.). However, it is both anticipated and desired that the financial incentive for generators to pre-sort these select materials for reuse or recycling will greatly reduce the need to sort at the Spoke (or Hub). By doing so, these Spokes would provide new, or expand existing local access to, waste and recycling services for rural and underserved communities.
Cutting Edge Technology
Ahead of the Curve
Technology is a focal point in many of the projects being implemented to support the Hub & Spoke System. Staying ahead of the curve provides more efficient solutions to C&D management. One of the newest forms of advanced technology available are AI Robotic Sorting Systems. These systems can be deployed in several areas of a plant to assist with removing recyclable materials from waste streams destined for incinerators.