Iowa City City Council approves landfill contractor


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The Iowa City City Council approved the bid of a contractor Tuesday night for the reconstruction of an area of the Iowa City Landfill that was damaged by fire last year.

The council awarded the contract to J.B. Holland, a construction contractor from Decorah, Iowa, by a 7-0 vote. Holland had the lowest bid to complete the reconstruction at $1.32 million, lower than the city engineering office’s estimate of $1.67 million.

“We believe their numbers are accurate and that they’ll do the job for what they say,” said Daniel Scott, a project engineer in the engineering office. “If the cost increases, they’ll have to cover the costs on their own.”

The fire, which broke out on May 26, burned more than 7.5 acres of the landfill, destroying most of the FY09 landfill cell. The plans detail a partial reconstruction of the cell. City staff recommends a staged reconstruction, with 5.4 acres of the original 14.7-acre cell to be completed in 2013. Some of the landfill cell was not damaged by the fire and will not need to be replaced.

While city staff was not certain on the cause of the fire, a likely explanation was that a “hot load,” or warm, combustible material, was brought into the landfill, and it subsequently caught fire.

The primary, or base, bid will use a material derived from tires to construct the cell; however, the material would be thinner than the previous cell, with a layer of non-inflammable stone separating the layers of tire-derived aggregate.

The plans call for compartments in the cell, the goal of which to stop the spread of potential fires to adjacent areas.

Though three alternative options were identified in the material of the reconstruction, city staff has decided to move forward with the original tire-derived aggregate plan.

“It just wasn’t necessary to go that extra cost; we feel very comfortable with the safety features we’ve got,” Scott said.

The plans detail placing a layer of garbage on top of the aggregate immediately after its construction, which would reduce the risk of fire spreading in the landfill.

Though councilors had some questions on the implementation of the construction, there was little discussion as the measure was approved.

The cost would be paid for through revenues from the landfill, which Scott previously said have likely been raised.

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