Another bump in the road for compost pilot program
Linden Hills’ compost pilot program has hit another snag.
“Unfortunately, I can load it on the trucks. I just can’t put it anywhere,” said Susan Young, director of the city’s Solid Waste and Recycling division.
Young has spearheaded the project, which would bring curbside collection of compost to Linden Hills. The City Council gave its green light more than seven months ago, but collection had to be put on hold until the state approved a change in a law to allow Source Separated Organics (SSO) — pizza boxes, paper towels, etc. — and yard waste to be combined in the same container.
Legislative approval came at the end of May, at which time Young said brochures would be printed within days and pickups could begin by the beginning of July.
But then she found out she had no place to take the compost.
Felicity Britton, of the nonprofit Linden Hills Power and Light, said hopes had been to take the compost, once collected, to a nearby location. That’s been hard to find, it turns out. One destination could be Hutchinson, but that’s about an hour away. Shakopee also is too far and too expensive, Young said.
Resource Recovery Technologies facilities, which provide sustainable disposal and recycling, were a top candidate, but Britton said they recently announced they couldn’t accept any new customers.
That leaves few options, Young said, because she’s found many other places don’t accept yard waste combined with SSO. She said she remains hopeful, though — she’s just not ready to provide a timeline for when the program will be up and running.
“It sounds like it’s really wishy-washy,” Young said. “But we’re trying to work it out.”
Tap water struck with bad taste, bad odor
This can’t bode well for Mayor R.T. Rybak’s campaign to end the use of bottled water: Minneapolis water customers have been complaining of a bad taste and odor coming from their taps.
A July 9 news release said Minneapolis Water Works is working to neutralize those symptoms, which are an occurrence usually saved for spring.
The likely culprit is melting snow that through lakes, streams and ground water feeds into the Mississippi River. Because the sources are so varied, the Mississippi’s water taste and odor can change in very little time. The release also pointed a finger at naturally occurring algae and other aquatic plants, which are noticeable at traces as small as five parts per million.
The release said that despite the grossness factor, the water is completely safe to drink. Although water treatment plants filter and disinfect the water — and thus remove most organic material — tastes and odors can’t always be completely eliminated.
City spokesman Matt Laible said complaints originated from all over the city, including Southwest locations. That’s not surprise, he said, as all residents’ water comes from the same source.
County awards contamination cleanup grants
The Hennepin County Board awarded $1.8 million in grants to assess or clean up contamination in 13 locations throughout the county.
The Environmental Response Fund grants program helps pay where insufficient funding has made it difficult to deal with contamination. Public spaces, sites meant for affordable housing and locations that help in economic development receive priority.
Included in the sites are several Southwest projects, such as the renovation and redevelopment of the Salem English Lutheran Church and its surrounding property. That project will receive $35,000 to assess for asbestos contamination, to investigate whether there are old structures buried beneath the site and to gauge how much petroleum remains there from a long-gone gas station, said Peggy Lucas of Brighton Development Corp.
A 237-unit apartment project at 2838 Fremont Ave. is receiving $70,050 for contamination cleanup at its site, the former location of Acme Tag and Label Company.
And Standard Heating and Air Conditioning, currently located in Southwest, is looking to move north. It’s receiving $88,702 for contamination cleanup at its future site north of Downtown.
The grants program is funded by a county mortgage registry and deed tax and, since 2001, has awarded 171 grants totaling $21 million, according to a county news release.
Urban trees need residents’ help
For the most part, July has been hot and dry and while it’s been inconveniencing our sweat glands and our electric bills, it’s also been risking the survival of young trees throughout the city.
Because of that, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s forestry division is asking residents to help water trees age five or younger.
Here are some tips:
• Use a garden hose and leave it dripping water at a slow rate for two hours.
• The best time to water is from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
• Use leftover ice or water — from a picnic cooler, for example — and pour it under a tree.
For more information, go to the Park Board website, www.minneapolisparks.org, or call the forestry division, 370-4900.