DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The City of Dubuque is almost done with a new landfill expansion. The addition will create space to serve the city and county for several years.
The project known as Cell 9 Phase III is a $3.2 million expansion of the Dubuque Metro Landfill. And it will hold tons of trash, literally.
At the time of the cell's completion, it will hold an additional 448,000 tons of materials to fill it.
The main goal of the project was to increase capacity and longevity of the landfill in the Dubuque area.
Officials like City Council member David Resnick say they'd like to have a landfill as long as possible because it helps Dubuque and neighboring counties.
"We thought about this. It's an essential," Resnick said. "We need to get larger and then once we get larger be very smart about filling that hole with only the things we can't reuse or recycle."
That new hole is close to ten acres large and will be made of a bed of thirteen thousand tons of recycled tires; that is the equivalent of more than one million car tires.
The expansion had a heavy focus on environmental protection. In fact, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved more than nine acres of new space.
The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency said its focus was protecting the groundwater and reducing air and water pollution.
This piece of the expansion will provide an additional four to five years of landfill capacity, and it's built to use the space as effectively as possible.
"It's about conservation," said John Foster, the Agency Administrator for the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency. "What we're trying to do is we're trying to conserve as much airspace as we can because that's the commodity that we're selling or that we're providing to the community. So the more trash that we can fit into an airspace in a permanent area, the more that resource is going to last the community."
There are two more phases to Cell 9.
The current location off Highway 20 West has the potential to serve Dubuque County and its neighbors for up to sixty more years.
To put this into perspective, consider this: over 240,000 cubic yards of soil was removed for this project, which is equal to filling 75 Olympic sized swimming pools.