A lawsuit filed against the Iowa Department of Natural Resources by three of the state’s landfill operators could soon be dropped. The federal government passed rules requiring liners in all landfills to protect ground water in the mid-1990s, but the state did not begin enforcing them until 2006.
Landfill operators in Dallas, Page, and Des Moines counties, who had already been issued permits by then, think they should be exempt. Alex Moon, with the DNR, disagrees. “When you put garbage into a landfill you have contaminates that can leach out of it. Water comes in contact with waste and the stuff that comes out the other end contains a bunch of toxins,” Moon said.
“If you don’t have a liner system, that liquid will just slowly go down through the clay underneath to where the garbage is and then the groundwater sits down below there.” Vicki Moorhead operates the South Dallas County landfill in Adel (Ay-DELL). She doesn’t agree with the way the D.N.R. implemented changes but says a solution will likely be worked out before the case goes to court.
“We’re working it out. I think things are going to work out where both parties will be satisfied…we’ll either put a liner on the abutment side or do some extra work on the side that butts up against the old unlined area,” Moorhead said. Representatives from the DNR say they also think an out of court solution will be found. As a result of the state enforcing federal rules, 15 of the 60 landfills operating at the time shut down and another 15 made major adjustments.