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Maybe mining landfills

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:55:48 CST
By: Charlie Schlenker

The estimated lifespan of the McLean County landfill has been holding steady at three to five years for a long time now. That's because increases in recycling keep changing the amount going to the landfill. Now, McLean County Board Chairman Matt Sorenson says the landfill clock might even start running backwards.

"They are actually talking about harvesting landfills for potentially recyclable organic materials to use in other processes as fuel energy and that kind of thing."

Sorenson acknowledges there are questions whether older sections of the landfill already covered over can be dug up safely.

"All of those classic safety concerns are in play, you know, odor, fumes, dust control, all of those things that actually exist in our existing special use and zoning permit processes. I don't want to suggest they are perfect for this kind of question, but I think the framework is there."

Sorenson says talks with companies interested in digging up old waste in the landfill are not firm

"They are still very very early. The companies that are talking about harvesting our landfill are still working on getting their funding and financing lined up. They obviously have to identify and get markets for their end product nailed down because as I understand it, it would be a massive investment in this area."

Paradigm Bio-Aviation has said they would like to open such a plant in the twin cities by 2015. They have already talked with Bloomington and Normal governments about diverting new residential waste to a possible facility.


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