Work Begins On Expansion Of Dane County Landfill

Rodefeld Landfield Expansion Will Cost County $20M

The initial stages of the expansion of the Rodefeld landfill. Photo: Shamane Mills/WPR News.

Construction is underway to expand a Dane County landfill that’s bursting at the seams.

The $20 million expansion of the current Rodefeld landfill is estimated to cost far less than the $100 million that would have been needed if a new site were developed elsewhere. In addition to avoiding potential land use controversies, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the expansion also prevents the expense of trucking garbage to other communities.

“The city of Madison, for example, would have to truck semis and semis full of garbage to somewhere like Janesville,” said Parisi. “Not only is that very inefficient from a cost standpoint, it increases obviously truck traffic and CO2 and the other emissions from fossil fuel that come from having to drive those trucks back and forth.”

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Dane County recycles and uses a liquid to make garbage decompose faster, but the amount of trash going into its landfill has nevertheless continued to grow each year.

“Essentially, garbage has been increasing 2 percent in the Dane County area. With both population and consumption growth we expect that (to contiue) in the future,” said John Welch, who manages solid waste for the county. “And so when we get our permit, we have to calculate that we’re really approved for enough … space to meet the actual demands of the area.”

Some of the cost of operating the landfill is offset by selling electricity to the local utility, Madison Gas & Electric. Methane from rotting garbage is also converted so that it can be used in specially equipped county trucks as compressed natural gas.

The new portion of the landfill should be completed later this year.