South Fifth Street dump site closing date extended to 2021

Jason Kallenberger, an employee with the Brown County Landfill, picks up garbage around the dumpsters at the rural dump site on South Fifth Street near the Aberdeen Rural Fire Protection District station on Thursday. County officials recently decided to close the dump site. American News photo by John Davis

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – Brown County residents, anxious about the loss of the dump site on the south side of Aberdeen, don’t need to worry just yet.

Brown County Commissioners decided last week to close the South Fifth Street dump site in front of the Aberdeen Rural Fire Department as of Aug. 1. The decision to close the site came about 18 months earlier after safety concerns were raised by the fire department.

Based on discussion at Tuesday’s commission meeting, the fire department is concerned about what happens if there are sanitation crews emptying dumpsters or residents dropping off garbage at the same time firefighters are called to an emergency and have to get trucks out of the station quickly. That hasn’t happened yet, but that scenario can delay firefighters who need to respond to a call.

The decision to close the site as of Aug. 1, came after commission discussion about a plan to relocate the dump site behind the fire station. That plan came at an estimated cost of $281,721. This includes asphalt and fencing. Some at the meeting, however, asked if the county could save expenses by having the highway department make the necessary improvements.

About 20 to 25 county residents who use the dump site attended Tuesday’s commission meeting to see if the county could have additional time to negotiate an alternate site. Discussion lasted about an hour, but in the end, township and the rural fire department agreed to give the county until July 1, 2021 to find an alternate site.

Leann Fredrickson, started off discussion at the county meeting asking if the county could keep the south dump site open longer. Fredrickson said she was shocked to hear the news that the site was closing and presented a petition with 200 signatures asking for the site, which has been open since the 1970s, to remain open.

She also asked why it was now an issue as there are only a few people who abuse the rules. And, she said, residents don’t need major site improvements.

“We only want a place to leave our garbage,” she said. “We don’t need the trimmings. Dumpsters, gravel and a place to come in and out,” she said. “I plead with you to take into consideration the residents. I can’t imagine taking my garbage all the way to the fairgrounds. It would be a 12-mile round trip from my home.”

Commissioner Doug Fjeldheim said he has talked with landowners about alternate sites but never got a solid answer.

Commissioner Dennis Feickert said he’s also had discussions about land purchases that haven’t worked out. He also said the sentiment that the county doesn’t care about people on the south side, just isn’t true.

The land currently used for the dump site is not county property, but owned by the township.

The current site has eight dumpsters in front of the Aberdeen Rural Fire Station. It is one of 18 dump sites the county provides for county residents. The plan to close the site also included a plan to move the eight dumpsters at the south dump site to the dump site near the Brown County Fairgrounds.

Commissioner Mike Wiese said the south dump site started with two and has grown over time. The rural fire station has also grown, he said making the two incompatible uses of the property.

“My position is, if we’re going to invest $300,000 it should be a better place than behind the fire station,” Wiese said.

Wiese said he didn’t have a problem delaying the closing of this site, nor does he take issue with spending money to improve a site, but he simply didn’t feel the site behind the fire station was the right site.