MOORHEAD — Work is underway on a new 17-acre Resource Recovery Campus for Clay County's solid waste department.

The $21 million garbage transfer station, recycling center and offices will be on the corner of 15th Avenue and 34th Street in north Moorhead, about a half-mile north of the city's Walmart and Aldi grocery store.

The facility is expected to streamline recycling and trash operations and make it easier for residents to dispose of their recyclables, hazardous waste, electronics and trash, said County Commissioner Jenny Mongeau.

"It was pretty cumbersome before," she said, noting that facilities were spread at various locations across Moorhead.

The facility will also ease the process for garbage haulers who annually transfer 9,400 tons of trash from Moorhead and surrounding towns to the Prairie Lakes Incinerator and 20,000 tons to the Clay County landfill near Hawley.

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Rosenberger said besides Moorhead's trash he believes Fuchs Sanitation of Glyndon, which handles a lot of the garbage service in the smaller towns surrounding Moorhead, will likely be using the station, too.

Improved collection

Trucks will dump garbage on a cement "tipping floor" at an indoor part of the operation where it can be separated. The approach is an improvement over hauling directly to the landfill, where bad weather and muddy conditions can hamper dumping, Rosenberger said.

The new transfer station will also provide a sorting area where workers can remove problem waste like mattresses, furniture, tires and electronics.

That will mean "cleaner" trash that's transferred to the Perham incinerator, which will help extend the life of the county landfill.

The new facility will also have a shredder for mattresses, carpet and furniture, providing easier handling of trash taken to Perham, Rosenberger said.

Once separated, the "cleaner trash" will be loaded onto semi trucks that drive into a tunnel on the west side of the building about 20 feet below ground level and the tipping floor. Trash can then easily be pushed and loaded into the semis before they head to Perham or the landfill.

Having the operation inside should also keep a pretty good handle on any trash blowing around, Rosenberger said. Plans include a fence surrounding the facility as well as trees and bushes.

Hazardous, electronic waste

Solid waste department offices will separate the transfer station on the north side of the solid waste campus from a hazardous waste and electronics collection site on the south side.

Residents will be able to access the electronics disposal site from a separate entrance on 15th Avenue.

The county needed new collection sites as the current hazardous waste building is more than 35 years old and undersized, Rosenberger said. Annually, Clay County collects about 57 tons of hazardous waste and 130 tons of electronic waste at a separate facility.

Both facilities are only open part-time, but the new operation will offer a free drop-off site year-round five days a week during regular business hours.

Funding and timeline

Rosenberger, who has been working on the project since he started the job six years ago, said the state provided the county about $600,000 to start plans for the structure seven years ago.

Finally, last year the state Legislature provided $8.5 million through a bonding bill to help build the campus. The county will use another $3.5 million from its solid waste reserve funds and then bond for the rest.

The contract for the construction is capped at $21 million, with Construction Engineers of Grand Forks winning a bid for the work, said Rosenberger. The company has also built the county's jail, law enforcement center and regional juvenile detention facility.

Company project manager Jeff Reid, who just opened an office on the site, said crews have spent the last few weeks working on underground utilities and digging the 20-foot deep tunnel.

Workers are also constructing roads into the site. The foundations for the new building should be poured by late fall and they have already ordered the pre-engineered metal buildings that will follow.

In all, the work is expected to be completed by August 2022.

Clay County is holding a groundbreaking ceremony at its new resource recovery facility at 1 p.m. on Aug. 3.