ARTICLE

Damage from Iowa City landfill fire worse than expected

No answers yet on city's insurance coverage

Smoke billows from a landfill cell as Iowa City firefighters and landfill employees continue to work to contain a smoldering fire of the liner system at the Iowa City Landfill on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Smoke billows from a landfill cell as Iowa City firefighters and landfill employees continue to work to contain a smoldering fire of the liner system at the Iowa City Landfill on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY Fire damage at the Iowa City Landfill is still being assessed, but city officials say things are looking worse than originally expected.

Its not good news, said Dan Scott, a project engineer assigned to the landfill rebuilding. The fire did more damage than we actually thought.

He estimated the total damage costs at $5 million. The fire broke out over Memorial Day weekend and smoldered until late August. Its believed to have been sparked when someone dropped off hot waste, though the exact cause has never been determined.

We lost about 14 acres of our new cell, Scott said. Were trying to figure out how much was destroyed by the fire, and how much is still here that maybe we can repair.

Crews on Wednesday used a remote-controlled camera to inspect underground piping. At least one 600-foot pipe will likely need to be replaced rather than repaired, Scott said.

The city plans to begin repairing the damaged cell next year. Much of the project will involve removing a large clay liner, which heat turned to brick during the blaze.Its still not clear if the citys insurance policy will cover any of the damage, Scott said.

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