116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In June of 2044, Linn County will be without a landfill to handle hundreds of tons of trash daily. That seems a long way off, but local leaders are wisely considering the county’s options now.
One option that is off the table is a new landfill in Linn County. According to the Linn County Solid Waste Agency, there is simply no land available for a new landfill due to zoning restrictions. The city of Marion has rejected the idea of expanding capacity until 2074 at the current landfill, located at the intersection of Highway 13 and County Home Road.
That means the agency must weigh other options for handling the county’s trash. The agency could hire a private company to haul trash to Illinois. Or, it could partner with other counties to come up with a regional solution for trash disposal. Cost, location and environmental concerns are factors that will steer those deliberations.
Considering those options will take considerable time, as will building potential regional relationships needed to identify and fund a landfill sight in another county. It’s unlikely other jurisdictions will be lining up to take Linn County’s trash. And any option other than creating a new Linn County landfill will mean added cost for garbage handling.
The idea of creating some sort of multicounty, regional landfill makes sense. But finding a site and hammering out the details of such a project will be a daunting task.
“We have done a lot of outreach,” agency communications director Joe Horaney told The Gazette’s Gage Miskimen. “We’ve spoken with Iowa County, Jones County, and Iowa City is aware of our situation as well. It’s not like we’re asking, ‘Hey, come take our garbage,’ but we’re developing those potential partnerships so there will be an answer 20 years down the road when our current location closes.”
We see partnerships with nearby counties as the best option. Blunting any environmental impacts of a new trash hauling option should begin with making sure the county doesn’t need to transport garbage long distances.
Getting a 22-year jump on planning is smart. Future agency board members will face difficult decisions, but starting these discussions now might ease the path to future changes.
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