Increasing concern about a lack of landfill space, groundwater contamination, and the public taking a “Not In My Backyard” stance toward landfills, many communities began to look for alternatives to landfilling solid waste in the 1980’s. By the late 1980’s and early 1990’s as many as 46 counties in Minnesota sent their waste to 17 facilities such as Municipal Waste Incinerators, Municipal Waste Compost Facilities and Refuse Derived Fuel Facilities.
The Perham Resource Recovery Facility is a Waste to Energy facility in Perham, MN. Waste to Energy (WTE) facilities burn Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), also called garbage, and use it to generate steam. The steam can either be used directly as a heating source, or it can turn a turbine to produce electricity. WTE facilities help reduce the volume of MSW and generate energy at the same time. The Perham Resource Recovery Facility is a vital part of our integrated waste management system which includes solid waste reduction and disposal, recycling, and household hazardous waste management and disposal.
The Perham Resource Recovery Facility began operations in 1986. The facility incinerated waste and supplied energy in the form of steam to Tuffy’s Pet Foods and Land O’ Lakes until July of 1998, when it was no longer able to meet the permit requirements for air emissions standards. In December of 1998, the original owners donated the facility and the property to the City of Perham. Soon thereafter the City of Perham, Otter Tail County, and the surrounding three counties made a decision to apply for state grant funding and to reconstruct and reopen the Perham Resource Recovery Facility under the governance of the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Authority.
With the assistance of state funding the facility was reconstructed, including state of the art air emissions equipment, new combustion technology, improved ash handling and the ability to generate electric energy as a revenue source. After an extensive shake down the facility has been operational since 2002 and meets or exceeds all new proposed air quality standards.