UPDATE: Rotting flood debris raises a stink at Iowa City Landfill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Rotting flood debris raises a stink at Iowa City Landfill

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by Brady Smith

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - UPDATE: The Iowa City City Council Monday approved a project to clear the stink from the air caused by flood debris.

Out of the aftermath of the June 2008 flood came truckload, after truckload, after truckload of waste.

"We took in 10,000 tons, approximately, of flood-related debris," said Dave Elias, the Iowa City Landfill Superintendent.

It's all rotting quickly, resulting in a growing cloud of methane gas. Elias says neighbors began to complain about the smell.

"They're the ones who alerted us to the fact that things were cooking a lot faster than we had anticipated."

The landfill's existing gas collection system is a network of perforated tubes running underground. It will need to be expanded to grab the extra methane. After the landfill gasses are pulled through a series of tubes by a vacuum system, they end up in a compartment called a flare, where they're burned off at a temperature of about 1,600 degrees.

In the meantime, sand from 18,000 tons of sandbags used during the flood is being used to cover the rotting debris to mask the smell. Elias says the gas collection pipes would have eventually been extended to the current dumping area of the landfill which contains the debris, but not for another few years.

"It has been a lot more active than normal, so we have to move quicker on that."

Engineering consultation for the project will cost $108,000, with construction running around $250,000. It will be funded by landfill revenues.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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