A new sewer line may be built by the regional landfill south of Fort Dodge, bypassing a neighborhood where some residents say the landfill's wastewater discharge causes a foul odor.
However, things are still being worked out, said Cindy Turkle, interim director of the North Central Iowa Regional Solid Waste Agency.
"At this point I don't know which direction we're going. We are looking at various options," Turkle said.
Residents of the Coleman District, located south of Fort Dodge and near the North Central Iowa Regional Solid Waste Agency, have said the landfill's leachate flowing through their sanitary sewers causes smells in the neighborhood and within homes.
Leachate is the liquid that trickles down through the garbage in the landfill and collects in the bottom. Collection and handling of it is strictly controlled by environmental regulations.
The Coleman District is not part of the city of Fort Dodge, and has had an agreement with the waste agency for the past five years to allow leachate to flow through its private septic sewer system. This sewer eventually empties into the Fort Dodge sewer system. The waste agency has paid $300 per month to the Coleman sewer board as part of this arrangement.
Now, the Coleman sewer board does not plan to renew the agreement, said waste agency board President Mark Campbell.
"We met with them last Thursday. Some of the residents and one of the trustees said they don't plan on renewing," Campbell said. "When I met with some residents the week before they wanted to dig the line up.
"Our goal is to be a good neighbor," Campbell said. "We'd love to have a resolution that makes everybody happy. At this time the only one I see is to put in a private line."
This is a good chance for the landfill to build for the future, Campbell said.
"It's pretty exciting, because obviously the landfill is not going anywhere. We need to plan for the next 20, 30, 50 years," he said.
Campbell said he met Monday with representatives from McClure Engineering to discuss the scope of the project and what would need to be done. The private line would carry all the landfill's liquid waste directly to the Fort Dodge sewer system, bypassing the Coleman District.
"Our goal is to have it done within a five- to six-month period," he said.
McClure was a good choice because they are already familiar with the city's sewer design, Campbell said.
Another option would be to haul the leachate in trucks, Turkle said. Issues would need to be worked out either way. A direct line would need a permit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, approval from the city to hook up, and bids to be solicited for the project, for instance.
"There are a lot of hoops to jump through," she said.
Campbell said it was too early to give a good estimate on price of a sewer line.
"This is a pure guess, but anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000," he said. "I hope to have a better answer by the end of next week."
For now, leachate is still being pumped through the Coleman lines when necessary. Turkle said Coleman representatives were told to have their attorney officially give a notice to the agency's attorney.
"We have not gotten anything formally from the Coleman District," she said. "It's in the hands of the attorneys now."
The five-year agreement expired on July 1, but prior to that, Coleman representatives seemed agreeable to renewing the same agreement, Turkle said.
"At our June meeting, they said, 'We're agreeable, have your attorney draw up another agreement,'" she said.
That agreement was drawn up and presented to Coleman sewer board President Ervin Claude at the July 15 waste agency meeting.
At the June 17 meeting, Claude and Coleman sewer board member Lynda Pingel were present.
"Is there any reason why it would not be renewed?" Turkle said at that meeting.
"Not that I'm aware of, no," Claude said.
"We knew they had some issues last summer with the odor," Campbell said on Monday. "We thought we had addressed those."
Monday evening, Claude and Coleman sewer board member Bill Zeka said any comments should come from Pingel.
Zeka also said he'd been removed from the board.
Attempts to reach Pingel were unsuccessful Monday.