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City Works to Keep Demolition Debris Out of Landfill

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - As demolition work continues on the old Cedar Rapids Public Works building, the city is working to keep much of it out of the landfill.

Project leaders know it's a big project for the city with a lot of debris that could take up a lot of space.

The old building that's coming down sits just off of 6th Street SW. The new public works building recently opened, which is called the City Services Center. It went up right next to the old one.

Now workers are just trying to make progress on the job by tearing down the old flood-damaged facility.

Tammy Seber works in the building services department. Day by day, she's been watching the demolition.

"Every day I come by here there's a little bit more gone," Seber said.

Just behind the new building where she's now working, heavy equipment is on the move.

"It's interesting every day," said Flood Recovery Program Manager John Riggs.

Riggs said the demolition is about 80 percent finished.

But with tons and tons of trash -- where's it all going?

"The material is being sorted out as they demo it, so then that way any debris that can't be recycled such as carpet, drywall and miscellaneous material, will actually go to the landfill. 92-93 percent of this building is being recycled," Riggs said.

Through all this trash, the city project leaders said there's actually a bit of treasure.

"We knew that the building had a lot of value in it. Because it was a crane manufacturing facility, there was substantial steel throughout the building, as well as other kinds of wiring and equipment, including cranes and things like that that had salvage value," said Assistant City Manager Sandi Fowler.

Fowler said the cost of demolition is lower because the contractor can salvage a lot of the materials.

Even the concrete is getting crunched up for a new purpose.

"The concrete will get crushed up here on site and will get used as either fill or other base for new drives, roads, but will not leave the site," Riggs said.

Seber said she likes that much of the old building is getting recycled. As the work continues, she's anxious for the future but sad to see it go.

"They haven't knocked our office down yet, but I'm waiting for that to happen," Seber said.

The city said it's working to recycle a lot of the material to make sure the project meets energy-efficient standards. Once the demolition process is done in about a month, workers will expand the new city services center.

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