BY COUNCILOR STOVER:
The city of Duluth
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: The purpose of this ordinance is to authorize execution and delivery of landfill cleanup agreement with WLSSD, DAA and MPCA and grant of easement and declaration of restrictions and covenants in favor of MPCA as part of the process of cleaning up Duluth Dump Site No. 2.
Dump Site No. 2 is located on property situated north of Ridgeview Road and west of Rice Lake Road. It is substantially to the west of the Rice Lake landfill operated by the WLSSD and encompasses property upon which the future extension of Runway 03-21 (the northeast-southwest runway) is expected to be built. Between 1958 and 1961, the city operated a municipal dump on the property and from 1961 until 1965, Duluth Disposal company continued to dump garbage and trash on the property under contract with the city. This site was never a permitted dump, as it predated the existence of the MPCA.
When it was first determined that Dump Site 2, in conjunction with WLSSD’s landfill was a source of environmental contamination and needed to be cleaned up, city staff along with staff from the WLSSD and the DAA, who were affected because their proposed runway expansion would involve property affected by any agreement reached with the state, began meeting with MPCA to determine how best to get the site cleaned up in a manner which was environmentally sound and economically affordable. To force cleanup, the MPCA placed the site on the State Superfund List, and the city and WLSSD were identified as responsible parties for cleanup of the site. After significant environmental investigation and engineering design on the site, the parties discussed the feasible scenarios for cleanup of the contamination. The regulatory agency set standards for this cleanup, with figures for total cleanup of the dump site ranging as high as $15 million. At that time, the WLSSD was contemplating closing its landfill and getting out of the solid waste landfilling business. It was determined that under the state’s Closed Landfill Program legislation, the WLSSD’s landfill and the city’s adjacent dump site could be entered into the program as one integrated site, and that the state would then take over the responsibility to clean up the site using funds allocated to the Closed Landfill Fund by the legislature. The discussions to enter this program and resulting negotiation of the necessary agreements were undertaken by the city, WLSSD, DAA, and MPCA in 2001.
The result of those discussions is the agreements and grant of property rights which this ordinance authorizes. Under these agreements, MPCA undertakes to perform all necessary cleanup and remediation of the dump and the landfill sites on behalf of both the city and WLSSD. The costs of doing so will be funded by monies already deposited by WLSSD in the “financial assurance fund” for the landfill, and held by MPCA; if those funds are insufficient, MPCA will cover the remaining costs from the Closed Landfill Fund. In return the city will grant a temporary easement to MPCA and agree to the imposition of covenants and restrictions on the Dump Site No. 2 property which will allow the MPCA to control the property during the pendency of the cleanup work. The agreements are drafted in such a manner to allow the DAA to implement its runway extension if and when it is ready to do so. When the cleanup work is completed the MPCA agrees to release the easement and the covenants and restrictions imposed under these documents, and to return control of the land to the city.
This agreement effectively removes the city from cleanup and funding liabilities for this site, which was the original purpose of the Closed Landfill Program legislation. The city received the benefit of partnering with WLSSD upon their decision to close the Rice Lake landfill, allowing the city dump site to be carried along with the landfill into the Closed Landfill Program.