Legal action against the regional landfill now looks unlikely, as officials work closely with the Iowa attorney general's office to resolve violations that occurred between 2008 and 2012.
Changes continue to be made at the site to proactively prevent any future violations, Interim Director Cindy Turkle told the North Central Regional Solid Waste Agency's executive board Tuesday night.
The agency could have been liable for fines ranging from $30,000 to $100,000, according to the board's attorney, Steve Kersten. However, the agency has addressed its previous issues.
Kersten, Turkle and board Chairman Mark Campbell met with the attorney general in Des Moines in April, Campell said.
"He outlined a road map of what approach he wants us to take in resolving this," Campbell said. "He gave us an extension at that time to a deadline we had set up."
Tuesday morning the deadline was extended again to the end of July, Kersten said. And no lawsuit has been filed, he said.
"There's no pending lawsuit," he said. "The state's agreed and we've agreed to negotiate prior to the filing of a lawsuit."
One of the violations had been a failure to properly collect leachate, the liquid that trickles down through the accumulated garbage in the landfill. A new leachate system has been implemented to address the problem, Turkle said.
A new cell is also being constructed to address the issue, she said. The eastern slope of the southeast cell is also being capped off.
"While we were working on the southeast cell, we found some leachate that was not being collected by the existing lateral lines," Turkle said. "If the DNR came out here and saw this, they would ask us what we are going to do about it."
A toe line will be added along the east side which flows into the new leachate system, Turkle said. This should prevent any further problems in that area.
"I think this is showing good-faith intent to do the proper operations to protect the environment to the DNR and the attorney general," she said.
The project will cost about $38,000 and be built by Rasch Construction, and be done as a change order to their current project on the southeast cell.
The board voted to purchase a new Komatsu bulldozer for $250,067, after hearing a report from Operations Supervisor Rob Anderson on options from three other companies.
Bids from all four companies were read at the previous board meeting. Caterpillar's bid was for about $336,600, and was considered too high. Case had the low bid at $241,000, but did not have local service or parts available. Anderson said he was concerned how it would hold up under landfill use.
John Deere's bid was only $21 higher from Komatsu's, and the staff did not like the John Deere they tried out, he said. Komatsu bulldozers are already in use at the landfill and have not had any problems.
Annual audit to be released
The state auditor's office should be ready to release its annual audit of the waste agency by next week, Turkle said. The audit will report on the period from July 2012 through June 2013.
Next year's audit will also be performed by the state auditor's office, and cost an estimated $5,475.
The board also adopted a policy on the cost for after-hours work. This will allow the city, or any contractor, to request the landfill stay open extra hours, Turkle said.
Costs were set at $155 for the landfill and $40 for the recycling center.
This is sometimes needed on one of the city's busier recycling days, and also on holidays, said board member Greg Koch, who is also Fort Dodge's public works director.