Board Supports PCB Plan

Posted Oct. 22, 2003

Supervisors stand behind vitrification

By Jeff Bollier
of The Northwestern

The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors unanimously stood behind an alternative method for disposing of contaminated sediments from Little Lake Butte Des Morts.

Supervisors voted 36-0 on a resolution urging the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to reconsider depositing sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in a town of Vinland landfill during their monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The resolution requests the DNR consider vitrification, the process of melting contaminated sediments at high temperatures to destroy the toxic sediments by turning it into glass aggregate, a substance useful in road construction.

Supervisor Pat O’Brien brought the resolution to the full county board because an option that destroys contaminated sediments can no longer be overlooked.

“PCBs can’t be landfilled anymore,” O’Brien said. “I’m hoping the board will see through what the DNR has determined through their record of decision (for Little Lake Butte Des Morts).”

Representatives from the DNR did not attend the meeting, but the cleanup effort will begin shortly with financial support from paper companies located along the Fox River and the lake.

Minergy Corporation has studied and developed melting technology that would destroy more than 99 percent of the PCBs and has pushed for the DNR to reconsider its decision to landfill contaminated sediments.

Minergy Regional Manager Terry Carroll made a presentation to the County Board indicating the costs would be less than the $66 million price tag for depositing the sediments in a landfill owned by Georgia Pacific Corp.

Copies of the resolution will be sent to state and federal legislators now.

“This isn’t the DNR’s decision, it’s a political one made in Madison,” Solid Waste Management Department Director Leonard Leverence told supervisors. “You need to let all your representatives in Madison in on this.”

Jeff Bollier: (920) 426-6688 or