Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

$20 Million Expansion of Dane County Landfill Moves Forward

April 14, 2014
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
County Executive


Comprehensive Solid Waste Strategy Will Save $180 Million, Extend Life of the Landfill 30 Years, Continue Tradition of Clean Energy Innovation

The $20 million expansion of the county’s Rodefeld landfill, the key to a comprehensive solid waste strategy that will save county taxpayers an estimated $180 million, extend the life of the landfill another 30 years, and enable the county to continue its clean energy innovation is moving forward, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


Parisi’s administration first announced the comprehensive strategy in Spring of 2012, aimed at addressing serious issues that, left unresolved, would have resulted in the landfill reaching maximum capacity later this year.  Without an expansion or siting a new landfill, communities like Madison would otherwise have to truck garbage collected curbside to other landfills in Wisconsin – at a significant cost to taxpayers.


“Dane County is home to the hardest-working landfill in the state, if not the nation,” said Parisi.  “With this expansion, we’ll save millions in taxpayer dollars, hundreds of acres of productive farmland, and be able to maximize the innovative work we’ve done to generate renewable energy that powers homes and vehicles every day.”


Siting a new landfill would have cost more than $100 million and taken nearly a decade to develop. The process would have been contentious and could have resulted in the loss of at least 200 acres of prime farmland.


The expansion will avoid those troubles, and will also allow the county to nearly double its production of renewable electricity from decaying trash at the Rodefeld facility. The landfill currently generates $3.3 million in electricity annually, enough to power 4,000 homes.


Following successful negotiations and approvals with the City of Madison, the Town of Cottage Grove, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the county is set to move forward with construction of the expansion this summer.  The new expanded landfill should be open by fall.


Dane County and the City of Madison have entered into a long term agreement to ensure operations for the new landfill are adequately funded. 

Under this agreement, approved by the Madison City Council, the Dane County Board, and the County Executive, Madison will pay $43.50 in 2014, increasing to $46.50 in July, per ton of waste brought to the landfill this year.  That figure will increase to $48.50 next year but remains significantly less than what city taxpayers would spent to have waste hauled daily by semi trucks to the next closest landfills in Janesville or Johnson Creek.


The county has also secured a long-term agreement with private waste hauler Pellitteri providing further financial stability to ensure the project’s success.


Combined with previous phases of the comprehensive solid waste strategy – a system to encourage garbage to decay faster, and a new year-round Clean Sweep facility to keep hazardous chemicals and unwanted electronics from filling up the landfill – the Rodefeld facility will have enough capacity to last another 30 years.


In addition to generating electricity that is sold to Madison Gas and Electric (MG&E), the landfill turns decaying trash into cleaner, cheaper, homegrown compressed natural gas that powers more than 30 vehicles in the county fleet.


The county’s switch to CNG has offset the use of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel and gasoline, saving county taxpayers roughly $50,000 annually.  These savings continue to grow as more CNG vehicles are added to the county’s vehicle fleet.


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