Capping, closing Mount Trashmore should be complete by early August

Project will cost $1.732 million; landfill has taken in 430,000 tons of debris from 2008 flood

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Work to cap the Mount Trashmore landfill near downtown for the second time will begin shortly and should be completed by July or early August.

The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency board on Tuesday awarded the landfill-closure contract to Connolly Construction Inc., Peosta, Iowa, for $1.732 million.

Connolly was the lowest of four bidders for work that had been estimated to cost $1.89 million.

Mount Trashmore — which opened in 1965 along the Cedar River in what had been the Otis Quarry and which the agency calls its Site 1 landfill — had closed for good on July 31, 2006, leaving the Solid Waste Agency with just one landfill, Site 2 at County Home Road and Highway 13.

However, the agency received special permission from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to remove the cap and reopen Site 1 when Cedar Rapids needed a nearby place to bury all of the debris from the flood of 2008.

The agency closed Site 1 again on Nov. 30, 2012, but has continued to accept a small amount of flood-recovery demolition debris at the site to even out the ground.

According to the agency, some 430,000 tons of flood debris have gone into Site 1 since the flood, adding 32 to 34 feet of height to the mountain of trash. It now stands about 216 feet high, though it is expected to lose 30 feet in height over the years as the garbage in the landfill continues to decompose.

The new capping and closure work will include some repairs to piping in the landfill’s methane collection system, though additional upgrades to the system will need to be made before the gas can be sold, Karmin McShane, the agency’s executive director, told the agency board on Tuesday. For now, the gas is flared into the atmosphere so gas doesn’t collect at the site.

The landfill’s footprint comprises about 65 acres at its base, but only about 13 acres at the top was uncapped to take in flood debris, the agency has reported.

In January 2008, Cedar Rapids City Council members skied down the side of Mount Trashmore to suggest that the place could be a ski and sled hill with trails at some point in the future.

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