Landfill addresses leakage

A new landfill cell will begin construction in October in Webster County.

Cindy Turkle, North Central Iowa Regional Solid Waste Agency interim director, spoke to the agency board Wednesday at Regional Recycling Center about plans for construction. Plans include a new weatherized landfill cell, new liner and system for collecting leachate, the liquid that trickles down through the accumulated garbage in the landfill.

In addition to being inexpensive, Turkle said the new cell would be beneficial.

“It will provide a tremendous amount of capacity. Plus, it will help us eliminate some major erosion problems,” she said. “This will take care of our leakage issues … and bring the site again into (Iowa Department of Natural Resources) regulations.”

The new cell, Turkle said, would provide as much as 10 years of capacity, depending on volume and elevation. Turkle said it would cost less than the existing Wilder cell.

“It’s going to be half the cost,” she said. “Plus, that probably didn’t even include the leachate system or anything like that. We’re getting a lot more bang for the buck.”

The board approved holding a public hearing and accepting construction bids at its Oct. 15 meeting.

According to Turkle, construction will begin immediately after the board approves the contract.

The board addressed the threat of legal action from the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission for violations that took place between 2008 and 2012. Board member Mark Campbell said action is likely.

“We acknowledge there have been violations,” Campbell said.

The agency is also accused of failing to use a leachate collection system, which is supposed to be used all year. According to state inspectors, that wasn’t the case in the landfill on Gypsum Hollow Road.

The construction of the new cell would address these concerns.

In a separate meeting, the executive board Tuesday approved eliminating the director of recycling position held by Deb Watson.

“This is on the agenda because I believe we are working toward having a director, not co-directors,” Troy Hassebrock, board chairman, said.

An amendment was proposed to offer Watson a 12-month severance. The motion was denied, though, because rules did not allow the item to be amended.

Hassebrock had addressed the issues, though, he said.

“I offered her the possibility, if the board agreed, for a few months severance pay and her response was, if I remember correctly, unemployment would pay longer than that,” he said to the board.

The board also approved creating an administrative assistant position to replace the director position.

There is already interest, Turkle said.

“We have some of the existing applications the city had when they were hiring a similar position,” she said. “I actually have other people who, by word of mouth, are sending resumes.”

Salary will be determined by the candidate’s experience, Turkle said.

The director of recycling position was eliminated, effective immediately. Following the meeting, Watson cleared her office.