Prairieland may consider buying generator

TRUMAN – The Prairieland board of directors is looking to the future. On Friday, representatives of Truman Public Utilities, Region 9 and Hometown Sanitation offered some insight.

Jeff Jansen of Truman Public Utilties explained that the plant’s peak electrical load is between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. He suggested Prairieland buy a 240-kilowatt generater to run its grinder during those hours.

Using the generator could lower the peak energy usage for the city, which would help Truman Public Utilities because it could buy electricity at a lower rate.

Truman has some of the highest utilities cost in the state, noted Greg Young, Faribault County commissioner. Jansen agreed.

Jansen added that a diesel generator could have a lifespan of 30 years, and there are benefits to having an emergency generator on site.

On another topic, Ronda Allis and Byron Jost of Region 9 gave an update on the Solid Waste Plan that their organization has been working to put together for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Allis outlined seven areas that need to be included in the plan to meet the agency’s requirements.

“In the worst case, we’re 18 weeks out [from being finished], which would get it done by the end of the year,” Allis said. “Data collection is the really big piece.”

“It’ll be March before we get money,” Rabbe said.

The funding will come from SCORE, a tax on garbage.

All the work will be worth it, Allis promised, because the plan will meet the needs of the community for the next 10 years.

More information came from Mike Johnson and Tom White of Hometown Sanitation. They said things are going well for the company:

o Recycling volumes are growing.

o Citizens are happy with the new program, based on comments Hometown has received.

o More cities want to join the program.

Hometown has added four new recycling jobs in Fairmont, Johnson noted.

Turning to other business, the board heard from Prairieland interim director Billeye Rabbe, who presented information on how a crew installed a new grinder through the roof with a crane. She noted the project came in $9,000 under bid.

“There were no issues on the installation,” she said.

Rabbe reported there has been clogging in some equipment. To clear it, staff either pull at it with hooks or crawl in and remove it by hand.

“I think that’s not safe,” she said.

Kirk Langvardt, plant supervisor, has ordered frogs (that help keep the equipment from clogging) and a drive belt for the doppstadt, for $10,000. He also used some bearings the facility had on hand for spare parts, saving thousands of dollars.

The board approved the purchases, with Faribault County Commissioner Tom Loveall dissenting.

“If we start talking about selling [the facility], do we need to put parts on the shelf?” Loveall asked. “Why are we expending on parts like that if our long-term future is not clear?”

Loveall wants a better understanding of the business and suggested hiring a consultant to research Prairieland’s options, including possibly selling the facility.

“We need money to do that consultant and now we’re kind of strapped,” Rabbe reminded him.

The board approved selling a dump trailer for $6,500, and advertising for bids on other items, like a grapple, a screener left from Prairieland’s composting days, and assorted scrap metal.