Background: Burnsville Sanitary Landfill expansion
There are three landfills in Burnsville near the Minnesota River on Bloomington's southern border. The Burnsville Sanitary Landfill, one of two active landfills in the seven county metro area, is proposing a significant expansion. The Freeway Landfill and Freeway Dump are closed, unlined and at risk of polluting the Minnesota River and the drinking supplies of Burnsville and Savage. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has designated the Freeway Landfill as a Superfund Site.
In February 2019, Bloomington received notice of a proposal in the City of Burnsville to significantly expand the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill, which is across the Minnesota River immediately south of the Dwan Golf Course.
372 feet above grade: The expansion would increase the ultimate height of the landfill to 372 feet above grade and the waste volume of the landfill by 23.6 million cubic yards.
60 feet taller than Bloomington’s tallest point: As proposed, the peak of the landfill would be over 250 feet taller than the top of the river bluff in Bloomington and 60 feet taller than Bloomington’s tallest point, Mount Gilboa at Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area.
The City of Bloomington has significant concerns about the expansion including visual impact, locating additional waste in a sensitive ecological area, noise, odor, escaping trash, among others. The City of Bloomington submitted numerous comment letters to the City of Burnsville and MPCA in opposition to the expansion and testified in opposition at Burnsville public hearings (links to letters and video below).
On February 25, 2019, the Burnsville Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of and, on March 5, 2019, the Burnsville City Council unanimously approved a Concept PUD Plan for the landfill expansion. Next steps in the approval process will play out over multiple years and include preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, an application for a Certificate of Need from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), final approval from the City of Burnsville and a permit from the MPCA.
Although the City of Bloomington has no approval authority over the expansion, the City will continue to monitor these reviews and express concerns.
City Comment letters on the expansion include the following:
- 2019-02-14 Comments to Burnsville
- 2019-07-24 Comments to MPCA on draft SEIS scope
- 2019-09-26 Comments to MPCA on final SEIS scope
2021-07-15 Comments to MPCA on draft SEIS
Certificate of Need process
The MPCA allows landfills in Minnesota to expand only after issuance of a Certificate of Need (CON). Often, CONs are issued based on estimated landfill demands over the next 5-10 years. In January 2021, the MPCA received four CON applications from landfills in the metro area, including an application from the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill. The MPCA made a preliminary determination in June 2021. More information is available here.
Visualizations of expansion
The visualization below, created by Bloomington staff using Google Earth, shows the size of the proposed landfill. The point of view is looking southward along Xerxes Avenue towards Burnsville.
Video flyovers and street-level video visualizations
- Overlook Drive
- Westbound on Highway 13
... See also Westbound "before" video
- Eastbound on Highway 13
... See also Eastbound "before" video
Aerial image of site
The location of the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill is shown in yellow in the aerial photo, below. The photo was included in the plan submitted by the developer to the City of Burnsville. Click on the image to view it in greater detail. Use your browser's "back" button to return to this page.
Text description of this aerial image
This image is a map made using an aerial photo of the northwest corner of Burnsville. The map includes the Minnesota River along the north edge, Highway I-35W along the east, and Highway 13 along the south.
The map shows a roughly rectangular, yellow-colored area near its western edge, northwest of the intersection of the two highways. The yellow area is the location of the proposed landfill project. The area is labeled, "Burnsville Sanitary Landfill / Proposed Development / Maximum Elevation 1082 ft." The northernmost boundary of the landfill area is about 1,000 feet away from the Minnesota River.
Also visible, to the east-northeast of the landfill and adjacent to Highway I-35W, is a smaller landfill labeled, "Freeway Landfill / MPCA Preferred Design / Maximum Elevation ~ 852 ft."
Freeway Landfill and Freeway Dump
Bloomington has significant environmental concerns regarding the Freeway Landfill and Freeway Dump. The MPCA is gathering bids on two potential approaches: Dig and Haul and Dig and Line. The Minnesota Legislature will be asked to pick between the two options in 2022. Bloomington favors the Dig and Haul approach.
Burnsville public meetings
Visit these links for access to City of Burnsville public meetings addressing the landfill, including meeting video and informational packets related to the project.