homepage logo

Big changes at Prairieland plant

By Staff | Jul 21, 2013

Prairieland Solid Waste Management is making some big changes to the way things are run.

After requesting funds from the Faribault County Board twice in the first two months of this year and nearing their budget limit, the county commissioners wanted some answers.

And now, just a few months later, Prairieland is looking to make some big changes in order to provide some answers.

When the former director of Prairieland, Mark Bauman, resigned on June 21, an interim director was ready to step up and make some much needed adjustments.

Billeye Rabbe, the solid waste coordinator for Martin and Faribault counties stepped up as interim on June 24 and has already begun work on a five-year plan.

“We need to sit down and figure out where we see ourselves in five years,”?Rabbe says. “We don’t currently have that.”

Part of that business plan for Prairieland involves a possible partnership or even more.

Rabbe has a meeting with a local businessman who is involved in a project management corporation known as Green Photon Power.

Bob Weerts of Winnebago is on the board of directors of Green Photon Power and has an office in Winnebago.

One thing much of Prairieland’s budget for the year has gone toward is converting to refuse-derived fuel (RDF). That is part of what Green Photon Power’s corporation focuses on.

The level of involvement between the company and Prairieland is still vague.

“Whether Green Photon takes over the facility or just joins forces with us, everything is very much on the table at this point,” Rabbe adds.

Prairieland operates under ownership of bothFaribault and Martin counties and serves both counties.

“The county boards make the decisions,” Rabbe explains. “And, they like to know where those funds are being used.”

At the February county board meeting, Praireland requested $26,407 to be transfered to them, putting their total requested funds for the year over $50,000, just two months in.

Although, the money is already allotted for use by Prairieland, the Faribault County Commissioners wanted to know what all the funds were being used for.

“We currently haul the waste up to Mankato to be turned into energy,”?Rabbe says.

But, Prairieland hopes they can continue to use that technology and turn the waste into a useable, less expensive source of electricity.

This is where the potential partnership with Green Photon Power would come in.

According to their website, Green Photon Power is a project management corporation for waste-to-energy technologies.

Some of the services they offer include; managing and designing waste-to-energy projects and technologies, financing and facility operation and management.

However, until Rabbe and Weerts meet and discuss the partnership, the five-year plan still has some holes.

“Everything is very much up in the air,” she says. “So, we will just have to wait and see.”

Even after the meeting, the discusssion would have to be brought to the county boards before any definite plan has been made.

“I can’t do this all on my own,”?Rabbe adds.

In the mean time, the Prairieland board is still uncertin about whether or not Rabbe will remain in the director position or if another person will be brought in to fill the role.

“I don’t know for sure,”?she says. “I’m just glad they called on me to help out.”