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$10 million renewable energy project converts Dubuque landfill methane into usable natural gas

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 8:05 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The new $10 million renewable energy project at the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency Landfill has one clear goal.

”All landfills create methane gas and one way to control it is to flare it off,” John Klostermann, the Dubuque’s public works director, said. “In this case, we are actually going to collect it.”

Once collected, Dubuque Gas Producers, LLC, the city’s private partner, will clean the gas, then they funnel it into Black Hills Energy pipelines and distribute it as renewable natural gas.

”The benefits to everyone is clean air,” Klostermann said. “We are taking methane out of the air, which is a greenhouse gas, and we are using it in a positive way and that could be used to heat homes, can be used on fuel vehicles.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this new gas processing facility could heat more than 2,700 homes in Dubuque each year. Klostermann commented the project has been in the works for a long time.

“The first gas wells actually went in in 2010 when the directors thought they wanted to do something to help the environment,” Klostermann said.

Ken Miller, the solid waste agency administrator, said they currently have 57 wells but could add more.

“We are drawing from all of those 57 wells into the wellheads and down here into the facility,” Miller said. “We will continue to look for opportunities to expand the number of wells in the cell as the cells grow and change and if we identify any areas where additional wells would be useful to capture that gas those would be added in the future also.”

Dubuque’s solid waste agency funded $720,000 of the project with Dubuque Gas Producers, LLC, paying for the rest. The facility has also created three new full-time jobs and more than 150 temporary positions.

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