1/30/2013 7:44:00 PM Randolph Township hears about shingle recycling
by Ken Haggerty
The Randolph Township Planning Commission held a Public Hearing at Randolph High School on January 24 to consider a Conditional Use Permit application by Resource Technology Solutions LLC (RTS) to construct an asphalt shingle recovery and recycling facility in the Great Western Industrial Park, located west of Minnesota Highway 56, between Dakota County Highways 86 and 88.
About sixty people were in the audience to hear explanations of the project and ask questions of the Township's lawyer and planner, RTS officials, RTS environmental consultants, and a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency worker who has worked on the pollution discharge permit for the project.
RTS President Tom Branhan opened the meeting with an overview of the project. He described his company as very well funded with a long-term plan to operate 40-50 of these facilities across the United States. This Randolph facility would be their first one.
Branhan said currently most shingles are going into landfills. His company hopes to apply technology used in oilseed extraction to extract the asphalt from the shingles. The process involves grinding the shingles and running them through a series of toluene baths.
The facility (estimated cost $20 million) would look more like a campus than a refinery, said Branhan, with equipment enclosed within buildings, paved drives and grass lawns. He estimates annual Randolph plant payroll at about $1 million, with management jobs located in Eden Prairie.
Truck traffic would be about 20-24 trucks per day, said Branhan, with deliveries restricted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The plant would run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.
The plant would be outfitted with a foam fire control system as well as hydrants, said Branhan. No high wattage outdoor lighting is planned. Branhan says the plant will have no odors and no noise when you stand outside the building.
Randy Meyer, U.S. Water Services, St. Michael, MN, spoke on the water usage and discharge plan his company has developed for the project. Meyer said recent water samples indicate the well water the project would use has about .024 parts per million of phosphorous. The water plan calls for discharging about 30,000 gallons per day into Chub Creek in Randolph through a pipe buried underground along the railroad tracks that head south from the industrial park.
Meyer says discharge would have .041 parts per million phosphorous (ppm P), which he maintained would actually be a diluent to Chub Creek (which he says has .140 ppm P) and Lake Byllesby (.085 ppm P).
Lake Byllesby has been designated as an impaired water body due to its level of phosphorous, and regulation on how much phosphorous different entities can discharge into the Lake Byllesby watershed are expected to be made final later this year.
RTS has a purchase agreement for about $5,280 per year for five years with the Northfield sewer and water treatment plant to use 37 kilograms of its allowed 7,174 kilograms of phosphorous discharge into the Byllesby watershed. That full amount is allowed, but is not used by Northfield currently. So in the near term, this will mean more phosphorous in the watershed, pointed out Lake Byllesby Improvement Association President Earl Benson, who had discussed the deal with Northfield treatment plant managers. MPCA requires the phosphorous credit trade be made for 20 percent more than what is needed.
The MPCA discharge permit reviewer, Deborah Idzorek, said they have tried to develop a figure of how much phosphorous the Lake has the capability to assimilate and that this trade makes sure that this stays within the range.
Benson gave a recap of the history of the Lake and residents' efforts to keep the dam from being torn down in the 1960s, efforts to control algae that was once so thick a rock would not skip on the surface, and efforts along with the Cannon River Watershed Partnership to work on reducing discharges in the Watershed and promote agricultural conservation easements, regular septic pumping and rough fish removal - aimed at improving the Lake's water quality.
Benson said long-time residents have seen water quality improve and want to see it continue to do so.
Township Planner Dean Johnson noted the Township has no jurisdiction on noise, air and water pollution but has to make a timely response (within 60 working days of January 2, 120 days with an extension) on whether or not the project fits existing zoning.
Questions were raised about water use by the plant. It was noted that the DNR determines if a well permit would be issued.
A Township resident asked about a proposed open air pile of incoming shingles. Branhan said the pile would only reach six feet high and would be screened by a 12 feet high fence with a mesh similar to what you see at a tennis court.
Multiple questions were raised by residents on toluene leaks. Branhan maintained they will be recapturing as much toluene as possible and that concrete containment designs will prevent leakage from the facility in the case of a spill.
Steve Sullivan, Dakota County Parks Director, said algae growth is a concern at the County's Byllesby Park beach and he wants to see the Lake get better. Beth Kallestad of the Cannon River Watershed Partnership said the phosphorous level and flow rate of the discharge seems low. She said the discharge should be sampled for temperature. Branhan said he added some heat exchangers to the plant design to address temperature.
Randolph Mayor Robert Appelgren said the facility should be considered a waste management facility, an unallowable use under the zoning. Appelgren also said the zoning allows for light industrial use, but this seems like refining or heavy industrial.
Questions were raised by Benson about possible asbestos in the shingles and rail traffic. Branhan said they will not be using rail and that the roofing contractors have a strict third party certification process for identifying asbestos. He said they will not accept any products with asbestos.
Residents questioned the amount and timeliness of monitoring and that the company is largely responsible for self-monitoring. Idzorek of the MPCA said that although this particular use is new, the type of waste stream they are monitoring is not new and that the toluene use and systems are similar to others already in place.
Branhan said he will have no massive cooling towers and their largest pipe is three inches in diameter, compared to the 24 inch pipes at the Pine Bend refinery. He said toluene use will require a truckload every two to three months. He called the explosion threat similar to the gas station up the street.
A Lake resident who said algae by August is a problem said he doesn't see this as light industrial; he envisions a storage facility or a light machine shop as light industrial. He recommended just rejecting the Conditional Use Permit.
The Township lawyer noted that rejections of an application have to be factually sound and, that if a rejection is overturned, the Township can lose the power and control that they may have if they instead grant and monitor a Conditional Use Permit.
It was suggested by a resident that discharging into a waterway to the east of Hwy. 56 would bypass Lake Byllesby.
A resident asked if large holding ponds could be used at the plant site to store wastewater. Meyer said winter, limited evaporation, leaching, and disposal of sludges make that a less desirable option.