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There’s a lot going on at the City of Minot landfill. No one knows that better than landfill foreman Allen Shefstad.
While most of what’s happening involves municipal solid waste (household garbage) and managing ever-growing piles of trees, concrete, asphalt, and other items, employees also spend time in the classroom to ensure they are certified in all aspects of the landfill’s operation.
North Dakota regulations require that public and private landfills have at least one certified employee on site whenever the landfill is in operation. But Shefstad has taken certification to a new level since he became foreman at the Minot facility.
“When I took over, we didn’t have light duty employees or the scale attendants certified. But I wanted to have everyone certified, for a number of reasons,” Shefstad said. “First, it helps employees move up when there are openings if they’re already certified. Second, it makes it easier for us to work around vacations, sick days, etc. Now everyone can rotate schedules if necessary.”
In addition to Shefstad and recycling coordinator Christina Wolf, there are 10 employees working at the landfill, including:
-2 light equipment operators who manage the City’s 10 compost sites and have other responsibilities, including mowing and other duties at the landfill.
-6 heavy equipment operators who manage the landfill’s inert section, municipal solid waste, trees, concrete, and other items. They’re also the employees who operate the dozers and compactor.
-2 scale attendants who work inside the scale building.
Employees are required to be recertified every three years. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality conducts the three days of training in Bismarck once a year in January.
The test at the end of the training includes a wide variety of topics, Shefstad said.
“There are math questions related to slopes and other topics we deal with at the landfill. There are questions about overall best practices. There are questions about what can go where in the landfill, and what can’t go where. There are questions about state rules, regulations, and policies,” he said, adding that employees must be on the job for one year before they can be certified.
“I think having everyone certified helps all of us understand the big picture of what we do at the landfill,” Shefstad said. “It’s just good knowledge for everyone to have.”
In addition to the requirements of landfill work, Shefstad said his crew also does all its own equipment maintenance.
“We service all our own equipment, make any needed repairs, do our own fabricating work, and other things,” he said. “When the city shop is full, we help make repairs on the garbage trucks and do maintenance on them, too.”
The landfill employees also help Wolf with operations at the recycling transfer facility, in addition to maintaining the landfill buildings and property.
“We’re pretty self-sufficient out here,” Shefstad said.