Modifications to the permit of the new state-of-the-art transfer station were approved at the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Feb. 28, and the new designs and changes will be submitted for review of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

By Robert Williams

Editor, Frazee-Vergas Forum

The Otter Tail County Board unanimously approved a permit modification to the new Henning transfer station during the board’s most recent meeting Tuesday, Feb. 28. 

In July of 2022, the Solid Waste Department, along with FOTH Engineering, began the process of designing a new state-of-the-art transfer station, including a new office and tipping floor, at the Henning location. In December of 2022, a $5 million bond was secured to finalize the project. 

The permit modification includes a request for vertical expansion of the current demolition landfill located on site. This would provide approximately an additional 60,000 cubic yards of landfill capacity, or roughly 9.5 years of extended life to the landfill at current rates, according to assistant solid waste director Steven Branby.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requires the permit to be modified when changes are made to the design process.

The new building’s tipping floor will be a three times increase in comparison to the existing facility. That building will remain, according to Branby.

“It’s going to allow for us to manage more efficiently and the ability to have storage on site without affecting new facility operations,” Branby reported via memo.

Other improvements noted by Branby in his report include:

• A compactor at east end of the building for single sort recycling loadout

• Household Hazardous Waste collection and a Re-Use room

• Concrete bunkers with Shingle Loadout, shingles are removed by Ideal Construction who grinds and repurposes into asphalt roadways. 

The architectural drawings shown at the meeting and available in supporting documents of the meeting on the county’s website ( will be submitted to the MPCA for review and approval.

Trail grant sought

The board approved a grant application made to the Minnesota Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) for funding through Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). The application is for construction of a 10 foot wide, 4.2 mile bituminous trail within Maplewood State Park.

The trail will eventually connect to the Heart of the Lakes Trail, a 10-foot wide, 32-mile long, multi-use recreational trail connecting the communities of Perham and Pelican Rapids via Maplewood State Park. 

The trail is comprised of five segments: Pelican Rapids, Maplewood, Silent Lake, McDonald and Perham. 

Otter Tail County, the cities of Perham and Pelican Rapids, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, West Central Initiative and PartnerSHIP 4 Health have teamed up on development and planning of the Heart of the Lakes Regional Trail Master Plan.

In late 2022, PartnerSHIP 4 Health added to the project by giving grants to both the cities of Vergas ($15,000) and Frazee ($5,000) to form committees to design a connection to the Heart of the Lakes Trail and Vergas, extending to Frazee to connect with the Heartland Trail. 

The plan does not mandate that the trails must connect in Frazee, however, that is the logistic idea going into the creation of both groups. The Frazee advisory committee will be working on connecting the Heartland Trail from Acorn Lake through town to Wannigan Park.

The Heartland Trail currently ends in Park Rapids, but planning continues with both Becker and Clay Counties to extend that trail to Moorhead.