In an era of reduce, reuse and recycle, there’s a proposal to expand a Burnsville landfill near the Minnesota River.

The plan dates back more than two years, and has been of interest to Bloomington officials, given the landfill’s proximity to the Minnesota River, immediately south of Dwan Golf Course.

Known as the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill, it is owned and operated by Waste Management and is used for disposal of traditional trash pickup from residential and commercial properties, industrial waste and construction and demolition debris. Without an increase in capacity, however, the landfill may be prohibited from collecting residential and commercial trash within the next five years, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The proposal would expand the site’s capacity, shrink its footprint from 216 to 204 acres and increase the peak height by 262 feet. The expansion is expected to extend the useful life of the landfill by 40 years, to 2062, according to the MPCA.

Bloomington officials outlined their concerns in 2019, and suggested that an expansion of the landfill would create a visual icon. “We are concerned that the landfill mound will become the dominant and defining visual feature of this portion of the Minnesota River Valley,” states a public comment memorandum from the city of Bloomington.

Questions and concerns about the noise generated at the site, odors that may emanate from the increased capacity of the site, efforts to keep trash from blowing away from the site and the site’s environmental impacts were also cited by Bloomington.

Bloomington noted that two other landfill sites in Burnsville, both closed, are at risk of polluting the river, and echoed that sentiment in its opposition to expanding Burnsville Sanitary Landfill. “Clearly, there are better locations to place landfills than in a river valley near public water supplies,” the memorandum states.

The multi-year approval process includes an environmental impact analysis, which the Bloomington City Council was scheduled to discuss during its July 12 meeting, after this edition of the Sun Current went to press.

A draft of the city’s response to the initial environmental impact analysis reiterates the city’s concerns regarding an expansion of the landfill. Public comments on the environmental impacts may be submitted to the MPCA through Saturday, July 31. The comments collected will be incorporated into the final environmental impact statement for the landfill, which will also be subject to public comment.

The landfill plan is considered a “short-term solution” to the metro area’s “growing garbage problem,” and would accommodate 5.6 million tons of garbage over the next seven years, the MPCA announced in June.

The Twin Cities metro area generates about 3.3 million tons of waste each year, and the amount of garbage going to landfills has increased by 30% in the past year, according to the MPCA.

Information about the plan, including illustrations of the proposed expansion and links to MPCA information, is available through the city of Bloomington’s website at

Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.

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