Good news flows from Prairieland

FAIRMONT — Prairieland Solid Waste Management director Billeye Rabbe is pleased with the operations of the Truman facility, and with good reason.

Major projects have been completed, financial reserves are up and spending is down, all good news for anyone.

Rabbe shares just what has been going on at the plant, and some of the reasons behind it.

“Recently we had results of our 2018 audit, and we’re in good financial shape,” she said. “We want to work toward an $800,000 reserve and we don’t quite have that, but we do have a good reserve and we’re working toward that goal, and our reserves go up each year.

“Last year we did have some major projects. We re-roofed the entire facility, which was a big and expensive undertaking, so we expected our reserves to be down a bit. The year before that we completed our concrete for our whole drive-in and parking area, so that was two big projects two years in a row which brought the reserves down a bit.

“We’re also doing well in getting our waste into Xcel Energy in Mankato to be made into electricity. About 90 percent of the waste we took in last month went in for that. If we can stay right at that 85 to 90 percent, we’re really happy with that.”

Rabbe then shifted gears to talk about energy cost and savings, another big leap forward over the past six years.

“On March 31 of 2013, our electricity use cost $45,800,” she said. “On that date in 2019, our electrical costs were $11,254. So that’s a huge difference. It’s gone down throughout the years but now we’re at an all-time low, which is super good.”

Rabbe attributes the drop in cost to good management.

“We’re just better utilizing the electrical motors that we have, watching our use of our large grinder,” she noted. “When we do a lot of grinding, we do it continuously rather than stopping and going again, because the startup is what uses a lot of energy. We also totally retrofitted the facility with LED lights, and we actually have more lighting than we’ve had but it’s energy efficient.

Planning for improvements continues.

“We had some water leakage in the front windows and doors that will need replaced, and the board [of directors] was talking about how they went with a key fob at both the Martin and Faribault County courthouses, and if that might be a good idea here,” Rabbe said. “We are also working on some gate designs to make us more secure.”