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Landfill Venture Group still waiting on the DNR

With things in place for a landfill expansion, the final word from the DNR is needed

September 24, 2019 by Brian Jopek

The executive committee for the Landfill Venture Group, the consortium of Vilas county townships and the city of Eagle River that runs the County G Landfill in the town of Cloverland, would like to get answers under the Wisconsin Department of Resources. 

In late March, the Vilas County board approved a resolution withdrawing approximately 70 acres of county forest land next to the Highway G Landfill. 

The landfill, on 94 acres of county land, is operated by the LVG and the land leased  from Vilas County for a dollar a year. 

The final cell to the current landfill, expected to have a life span of at least a decade, is just about ready to use; it’s scheduled to begin accepting its first trash in October. 

Knowing the final cell’s estimated useable life of at least 10 years and also knowing it takes years to get things like the proper permitting done for a landfill operation, the LVG approached Vilas County a couple of years ago about the possibility of attaining 70 acres of county land next to the landfill.

With that acreage, the estimated life of the landfill is estimated at up to 50 or 60 years. 

Since that first contact with the county about a possible landfill expansion at the site, there were things done by Vilas County to put itself in position to assist the LVG, not the least of which was the purchase of land in the towns of St. Germain and Conover that can be, essentially, “swapped” for the 70 acres of county forest land being looked at for the expansion. 

The county board’s March resolution was a major step in the process. 

On Friday, Sept. 20, the LVG’s executive committee discussed sending a letter to the DNR. 

The letter, according to the meeting agenda, was to be with regard to “releasing joint acreage so we can begin siting additional landfill space.”

LVG executive committee chairman Scott Maciosek said he’d stopped by the Vilas County forestry office to get an update from the DNR and was told the matter was still under review. 

“They made the suggestion that we send them (the DNR) a letter, you know, asking them to approve the new acreage,” he said. “That’s what I think we should do.”

Committee member Gary Schmidt said he agreed. 

“I mean, this is kind of ridiculous,” he said. 

Maciosek noted it had been two months since John Gagnon left Vilas County. 

Gagnon had been the county’s forestry director and was replaced by Al Murray. 

“They’re still working on it,” Maciosek said, adding he’d put something together in the way of a letter to send to the DNR and let Schmidt and the other executive committee member, Frank Bauers, review it. 

After the meeting, Maciosek said Gagnon sent everything pertaining to the land swap to the DNR before he left his position as county forestry director. 

“About two or three weeks before he left Vilas,” he said.

In the meantime, the executive committee earlier in the meeting Friday approved a payment of just over $552,000 from United States Department of Agriculture grant funds to Earth, Inc., the construction firm doing the work on the new cell.

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]

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