Local recycler closes

Licensing issue shuts Buberl Recycling’s Oak Park Heights site

Lowell Johnson

An Oak Park Heights recycling facility closed recently after the owner of the land where the company was located would not sign a new Washington County license application, a county official said Wednesday.

Buberl Recycling on Memorial Drive west of Minnesota Highway 5 stopped accepting yard and tree waste and construction debris and moved its heavy equipment to an empty lot adjacent to Century Power.

The closure came after Buberl Recycling could not get another license to operate from the county’s Department of Public Health and Environment, said department director Lowell Johnson.

“Buberl did not get a new license to operate this year. Their previous license expired,” he said.

Johnson said the owner of the land where Buberl Recycling operated its Oak Park Heights operation did not want to sign another license application.

“They (Buberl) are not the property owner and Buberl and the owner did not apply for a new license,” Johnson explained. “The land owner did not sign the new application, so we could not issue a license. That’s the premise here. We were not able to issue a license.”

Several attempts to reach officials with Buberl Recycling’s Forest Lake facility for comment were unsuccessful.

Johnson stressed that the closing of Buberl Recycling’s Oak Park Heights operation was not due to any environmental issues.

“There was no (environmental issue). We weren’t out there trying to stop any bad environmental problems,” he said.

A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokeswoman said there was no record of any MPCA action against Buberl Recycling.

Johnson said Buberl Recycling had been licensed to operate in Oak Park Heights since 1995. The facility handled yard and tree waste and demolition debris, he added.

“Composting is one of their big operations,” Johnson said. “They had a machine there that would crush concrete.”

Buberl Recycling’s closing caught several area officials by surprise. Johnson said the county brought yard and tree waste to the facility for recycling.

Oak Park Heights City Administrator Eric Johnson also was surprised to learn about the Buberl Recycling situation, adding that city crews also took waste to the facility for composting and recycling.

Lowell Johnson said DPHE is sending people with yard and tree waste to other recycling companies in the county. They include RSI in Bayport, formerly known as River Cities Services and Compost Concepts in Woodbury.

Earlier this year, Buberl Recycling took over operation of Forest Lake’s city-owned compost site at Forestland Nursery under a 10-year contract approved by the Forest Lake City Council. Buberl had been a subcontractor for Forest Lake “for a long time,” a city official told the Forest Lake Times.

Lowell Johnson said DPHE does not know what plans the owner of the Buberl Recycling site in Oak Park Heights has for the land.

“We don’t know that for sure. We’re working with them on a closure plan,” he said.