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Pollution agency works with Veit on source of landfill fire

State officials are continuing to work with the owners of a landfill north of Austin that caught fire in January.

Veit Cos .' VONCO IV landfill, west of U.S. 218 North in Lansing Township, reopened for business Jan. 18, one week after the company thought it got to the heart of the blaze and extinguished it.

Before reopening the landfill — which is a large mound that holds demolition and construction waste —  Veit had to completely cover the affected area, putting back together what it had crews take apart in battling the fire, said Steve Halgren, vice president of VONCO IV.

The fire lasted nearly a week and involved Austin firefighters manning the scene continuously for three days.

During the fire, a large amount of smoke and steam could be seen rising from the blackened east side of the landfill as crews used heavy machinery, including bulldozers and backhoes, to dig into the large mound.


What caused the fire still isn't known, said Halgren, who's working on a damage estimate.

Veit continues to monitor the landfill to make sure there are no reccurring sparks or fire, said Cathy Rofshus, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's office in Rochester.

"They're working with the MPCA to meet all the compliance issues," Rofshus said.

Rofshus has said the MPCA would require Veit to submit a final report that includes a list of all potential sources of the fire.

Officials monitored the site's air quality during the fire and said there was no public-health risk.

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