Rice County landfill fire continues, MPCA warns of possible air pollution

A fire at a Rice County landfill has residents concerned over the smoke and smell, with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) warning of potential air pollution.

Rice County Solid Waste Facility staff and area firelighters are currently taking measures to prevent a fire that began at the county landfill Monday night from spreading. 

The fire began in the landfill portion of the county’s Solid Waste Facility on Highway 3 in Bridgewater Township after it closed Monday.

According to Rice County officials, the MPCA has been notified of the incident and is in communication with the Northfield Area Fire and Rescue Service. 

The MPCA says landfill fires can pose several hazards to both human health and the environment, with smoke and ash generated containing particulate matter that can cause respiratory issues.

Much of southern and central Minnesota is already experiencing air quality issues as well.

Due to ongoing conditions concern for the safety of the public and employees, landfill access remains restricted to licensed haulers on May 24. 

FOX 9 has reached out for comment, and Rice County officials will provide additional updates as they become available.