City of Fargo Solid Waste Department


January 09, 2020

“The D65 is a good machine and easy to use”

Gateway Pipeline

The City of Fargo Solid Waste Department processes as much as 1,200 tons of material daily in the summer months at its 154-acre landfill in Fargo.

Gateway Pipeline

Operator Norman Gustafson uses a Komatsu intelligent Machine Control D65PXi to grade a slope at the Fargo landfill. “The D65 is a good machine and easy to run,” noted Gustafson. “We’re operating it 22 hours a day. Compared to competitive brands, it doesn’t slip in the snow or on frozen ground and has been an asset.”

On the northern edge of Fargo, sits the largest landfill in the state. Four hundred trucks from Cass, Barnes and Becker counties deliver material daily to the City of Fargo Solid Waste Department’s (SWD) 154-acre facility. Landfill Supervisor Paul Hanson oversees operations and the 15 employees who work there.

“The site accepts municipal solid waste, construction debris, asbestos, a little bit of ash and ocassionally, some industrial waste,” offered Hanson. “During the winter, it’s a little slower and we’ll take around 700 tons a day. In the summertime we are up to nearly 1,200 tons.”

Hanson has more than 45 years of experience in the waste industry, from running the facility’s scale house to driving a garbage truck. He remembers taking waste to the original landfill, which is undergoing work in order to begin accepting material again in the next few years. It’s across the street from the present-day operation.

“We’ve been at our current location since the mid ’80s and have approximately four years left until capping it off,” explained Hanson. “We’re actually removing waste from the old landfill, bringing it over here, then digging that side deeper and adding new regulatory linings. We’ll be able to accept more trash and get another 25 years out of the first site.”

Hanson notes that an important part of keeping both operations running smoothly is dedicated and experienced employees.

“Our people are multi-talented,” said Hanson. “They have great attitudes and when they see things that need to be done, they take care of them without being asked.”

Being neighborly

One of the main challenges for any landfill is dealing with the weather conditions. As the city has grown around the facility, the SWD has taken several steps to limit the impact of Mother Nature’s tendency to disperse trash into the surrounding area.

“The landfill used to be out of the town; however, as the city has grown we’ve become an urban landfill with lots of traffic,” shared Hanson. “To be good to our neighbors who have built around us, we’ve added portable fences in the unloading area to contain blowing paper, dust and any lighter materials.

“We have permanent secondary fences and a primary fence around the landfill. We also erected our main building with space to bale and handle material indoors, if the weather is too bad,” continued Hanson. “We want to keep the neighborhood looking good and minimize our impact.”

The facility utilizes a leachate system to collect any runoff water before it reaches local waterways. “Five holding ponds collect the water and pump it directly into the sanitary sewer,” explained Hanson. “We take the necessary steps to have a positive impact on the environment and community.”

In winter months, the landfill is a repository for snow from across the city.

“More than 35 trucks deliver snow that’s removed from roads and parking lots overnight,” said Hanson. “Our equipment runs 22 hours a day between grooming the mound and normal facility operations.”

General Equipment, Komatsu right fit

“When everything melts in the spring, the main building can be repurposed for sandbagging to help with any flooding in the region,” noted Hanson. “Certainly, we hope it doesn’t come to that, although we’re glad to help when it’s necessary.”

During the sandbagging process, SWD has turned to General Equipment & Supplies and Sales Rep Ryan Muehler to rent machines, and their relationship recently expanded. In November 2018, the department purchased a Komatsu D65PXi dozer with integrated intelligent Machine Control technology. Hanson says that machine’s positive results may also lead to the addition of a Komatsu D155AX-8 dozer later this year.

“The D65 is a good machine and easy to use,” said Operator Norman Gustafson. “It has great power, visibility and fuel-efficiency. We can run it for two days without filling it up, compared to competitive brands that we have to fill every day.”

Gustafson said he noticed an immediate improvement in operating efficiency when using the intelligent Machine Control dozer.

“Instead of riding a roller coaster all day, I can put everything at a nice, smooth slope,” explained Gustafson. “It takes the guesswork out of grading because stakes are unnecessary. The end result is better compaction and more garbage in the right spot.”

The D65PXi, a Tier 4 machine, comes standard with Komatsu CARE, a complimentary maintenance program for the first three years or 2,000 operating hours. Hanson also utilizes Komatsu’s KOMTRAX remote monitoring system to track fuel consumption, idle time and maintenance.

“Working with General Equipment has been positive,” stated Hanson. “The service has been good, and they check in to make sure everything is running well.”