Zimmerman to design, analyze cost of leachate facility

by Nathan Warner
Contributing writer

The Zimmerman City Council voted Monday to continue on to phase 2 of the city’s desire to build a leachate processing facility for use by Waste Management of Elk River.

The facility, if built, would process leachate from the Elk River Landfill, making it safe and inert for the environment and would bring money to the city of Zimmerman.

The phase 1 pilot study was completed several weeks ago, carried out by Bolton and Menk Engineering for a cost of $10,000. Phase 2 will involve Bolton and Menk producing a preliminary design and cost analysis.  The preliminary design will cost $55,000 and Mayor Dave Earenfight has requested Waste Management be willing to split the cost of the preliminary design.

Deb Walters of Waste Management was there and assured Earenfight and others her company was willing to do that.

Council Member Wendy Kowalski was the lone council member to oppose moving on with the second phase. She continues to voice her opposition to Zimmerman using money from its Enterprise Fund for projects she terms “city corporations.”

Earenfight and the rest of the council said they feel this project will improve the city’s value while generating revenue to offset rising costs.  When asked by Kowalski if they could currently estimate the final cost of the project, city engineer Kevin Bittner and Public Works Director Dave Horvath responded that addressing that question was the purpose of the preliminary design.  “Once the preliminary design is done, the council will be able to get a handle on how much it will cost to build the facility,” Horvath said, “and they can vote up or down on whether or not they want to move onto phase 3, which is the actual construction of the facility.”

Kowalski remains opposed to the project despite the projection that it will bring substantial revenue to the city and offset rising costs.