Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Translate
Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables

Sustainability Campus

With less than 5 years of landfill space remaining at Dane County's Rodefeld Landfill, our community has an opportunity to plan for our changing waste stream and purposefully set the foundation to advance us towards a circular economy.   

Our vision for the next site includes development of a sustainable business park or “Sustainability Campus” to divert waste and create local circular economies.  This will be accomplished by attracting reuse, repair, and recycling businesses; new waste management technologies; and research. The intent is to design the site for safe public access, education, and recreation where visitors can examine their relationship with waste and the Dane County community can move towards a future where waste is not a liability, but a resource and an opportunity. 

Comprehensive planning efforts for the Sustainability Campus begin the summer of 2023, and local teams from SCS Engineers and Vandewalle & Associates have been selected as consultants to lead this process. These firms will work with the County to plan and host community workshops that will provide the opportunity for public engagement and input into our master planning process. They will also start to engage with businesses to find potential waste diversion business partners for the Campus. This work will also evaluate the business case for diverting various waste materials, such as mattresses, food waste, plastics, and other materials. The firms will summarize their findings in a comprehensive plan that provides a robust development framework for the Sustainability Campus.In addition to the planning project outlined above, there are several other concurrent landfill permitting efforts progressing. Explore the tabs below to learn more about this exciting project and timelines for these various initiatives. 

Opportunities

Recreation

Our project accommodates and considers for continued golf at the Yahara site and has the potential to offer additional recreational opportunities for the community. We will strive to maintain, diversify and even enhance the recreational experience at the site through maintenance of existing trees and restoration of natural habitat.

Utilization of surrounding greenspace for recreation and education will be a focus of our master planning efforts and Dane County intends to maintain recreation before, during, and after operating at the Yahara site.  Dane County Parks Division will also be incorporating the current Rodefeld landfill and surrounding lands into their next Parks and Open Space Plan.  Upon the closure of the Rodefeld site, up to 150 acres of land will be available for recreation which will serve our community until the Yahara site is ultimately returned to open space. 

Additional recreational opportunities at the Yahara or Rodefeld site could include trails for hiking, biking, cross country skiing and space for activities such as disc golf.  Our vision for a multi-use recreational site would allow more people than ever before to enjoy the space in a variety of ways.

Reuse & Resale

Designating space for reuse and resale activities at the Sustainability Campus will increase diversion of high value and usable materials from the landfill waste stream. Co-location of a reuse store or mall would provide business owners with access to free or low cost materials.  Surrounding green space can also be designed for community flea markets and workshop space could be included for repair and classes.  This location along Hwy 12/18 and Interstate 90 has high visibility and easy access for potential donors and customers. Retail space would create a functional transition and buffer from the more industrial operations of the landfill to the recreational uses of the golf course and Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison Casino. 

Recycling

The Department of Waste & Renewables recognizes that our waste is a resource and that with investment in our community, local businesses, and technology we can help create jobs and reclaim commodities that can benefit our local economy.  Through an innovative, public-private partnership, we already offer construction & demolition recycling services where metal, wood, cardboard, vinyl siding, aggregate, and other items are processed into marketable materials (wood chips, animal bedding etc.) or sold as commodities.  This existing public private partnership serves as a potential model for additional opportunities of this scale. For example, we have identified mattress recycling as a feasible and realistic business opportunity at the Sustainability Campus.  Not only do bulky mattresses deplete landfill space, but from a business perspective this is lost potential revenue. We look forward to salvaging this lost revenue and committing resources to advancing mattress recycling in our region.  

Organics Management

Organics Composting: Our vision is to establish a composting facility at the Sustainability Campus. Such a facility will aid in securing and quantifying a steady stream of feedstock of organic material, making it the first step towards designing and building a digester facility.  Additionally, composting is necessary for management of digestate in digester operations, mitigates greenhouse gas emissions, and produces a nutrient rich soil amendment that can be used on Dane County farmlands and gardens to increase soil health. A composting program for food waste can be achieved with relatively small capital investment and far less risk than digestion while achieving many of the same environmental benefits.  Implementation of a successful food waste composting program will be a significant advancement in our food waste management system.  

Organics Digestion: The City of Madison and Dane County have both investigated the feasibility of constructing an anaerobic digester for processing food waste and other organic material.  Dane County has experience with digesters, landfill biogas, and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) operations, including the technical expertise, ability, and interest to own and operate a digester, if it is financially viable.  Based on Dane County’s experience operating an RNG Plant and knowledge of the RNG markets, it appears that organics digestion could become financially viable at a regional scale, but it will require significant capital investment and sufficient feedstock volumes.  Dane County would be able to leverage its extensive industry relationships to further support our region by evaluating the feasibility of digestion. 

 

Engage

We are excited to share more about our project plans with the community and will be sharing opportunities for engagement throughout the course of the project. See below for information on upcoming events: 

Various Dates & Times. Dane County Landfill Tour (In Person): Join us on one of our monthly tours to learn more about our current work and vision for meeting Dane County's future waste management needs. Registration

2.7.2024. 4:00-5:30 pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee: The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is facilitating a meeting of the Local Negotiated Agreement Committee for the landfill that is proposed to be developed on the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course.  The meeting will be held in the large conference room of the Admin/Public Works Building at the Alliant Energy Center.  

Find registration information on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

2.21.2024. 4:00-5:30 pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee (tentative - only meeting if required): The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is facilitating a meeting of the Local Negotiated Agreement Committee for the landfill that is proposed to be developed on the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course.  The meeting will be held in the large conference room of the Admin/Public Works Building at the Alliant Energy Center.  

Find registration information on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

2.29.2024.  8:00 am-6:00 pm. Wisconsin Integrated Waste Management Conference.  The Department of Waste & Renewables will have a booth at the Exhibit Hall.  Stop by to learn about the project and learn more about opportunities at the Campus.  

3.6.20244:00pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee - Public Hearing 

The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is facilitating a PUBLIC HEARING for members of the public to submit written questions, comments, or public testimony regarding the proposed Dane County Landfill No. 3.  The meeting will be held in Mendota Room 5 in the Expo Hall at the Alliant Energy Center.  Onsite parking will be available at no charge.  

Find registration information on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

3.20.2024. 4:00-5:30 pm.. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee: The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is facilitating a meeting of the Local Negotiated Agreement Committee for the landfill that is proposed to be developed on the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course. 

Find registration information on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

4.3.2023. 4:00-5:30 pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee: The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is facilitating a meeting of the Local Negotiated Agreement Committee for the landfill that is proposed to be developed on the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course. The meeting will be held in the large conference room of the Admin/Public Works Building at the Alliant Energy Center.  

Find registration information on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

4.17.2024. 4:00-5:30 pm.. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee (tentative - only meeting if required): The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is facilitating a meeting of the Local Negotiated Agreement Committee for the landfill that is proposed to be developed on the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course. The meeting will be held in the large conference room of the Admin/Public Works Building at the Alliant Energy Center.  

Find registration information on Dane County's Legislative Information Center. 

Timeline

What's Ahead


2.9.2024.  Submit Feasibltiy Report to WDNR

February 2024.  Additional Drilling Work. 

Summer 2024.  WDNR Public Comment Period. 

2025. Submit Plan of Operation

 

Archive

03.17.2022. Permitting Timeline

03.17.2022. Project Timeline

Press

Dane County Press Releases & Newsletters

1.24.2024 Dane County and Purple Cow Organics Partnering to Expand Food Waste and Yard Waste Composting in the Area 

12.15.2022 Master Planning Efforts to Begin For Dane County's Sustainability Campus

11.22.2022 November Newsletter Update on Dane County Sustainability Campus & Landfill Project

04.20.2022. Dane County Launches $10,000 Organics Management Grant This Earth Month

12.01.2021: Public Works and Transportation Committee to Hold Informational Meeting on Dane County Waste & Renewable's Sustainability Campus

11.03.2021: Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison Supports Dane County Community’s Move to Sustainability Campus for Waste Management

Local News Stories

05.19.2022.  Dane Co. Board approves purchase of land from Madison for proposed landfill, sustainability campus

5.11.2022. Madison Common Council votes to sell portion of Yahara Hills Golf Course to Dane Co.

04.28.2022. Early approval processes for a proposed county landfill kick off

03.16.2022. Dane County shares early vision for future landfill site near McFarland, Cottage Grove

03.03.2022. McFarland will host an informational session on a future Dane County landfill next week

12.07.2021. Yahara Hills a likely site for future landfill

11.03.2021. Dane Co. landfill eyes golf course as it runs out of space

11.01.2021. Watch now: City, county eye Yahara Hills Golf Course for future landfill, with focus on reuse

11.01.2021. Dane County Waste Management wants to purchase a portion of Yahara Hills Golf Course for new landfill

Past Events

2.7.2024. 4:00-5:30 pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee: Meeting minutes, recordings and draft agreement availalbe on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

1.10.2024. 3:00-4:30 pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee: Meeting minutes, recordings and draft agreement availalbe on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

12.6.2023. 5:30-6:30 pm. Madison Food Policy Council Commitee Meeting. Agenda item includes presentation on Sustainabilty Campus and Dane County's vision for manging food waste and other organic materials. Meeting Details.

12.6.2023. 3:00-4:30 pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee: Meeting minutes, recordings and draft agreement availalbe on Dane County's Legislative Information Center.  

11.13.2023. 5:30 pm. City of Madison Plan Commission Meeting. Agenda Item to Review  Dane County Conditional Use Permit for Sustainability Campus & new landfill project. Meeting Details.

11.03.2023. 7:30-3:00 pm. Sustain Dane Summit at Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center : Join us and fellow sustainability leaders in the community to learn, connect, share, reflect, and build new skills at the Sustain Dane Summit! This year the Summit will feature a special presentation on the Sustainability Campus with opportunity to provide feedback and meet the project team. More Information Here.

10.11.2023. 9:00-1:00 pm. Madison Area Food Rescue Convening-Warner Park Community Recreation Center. Agenda item includes presentation on Dane County Sustainability Campus and Dane County's vision for manging food waste and other organic materials.

10.03.2023. 3:00-4:30 pm. Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee: The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables is facilitating the first organizational meeting of the Local Negotiated Agreement Committee for the landfill that is proposed to be developed on the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course.

The October 3, 2023 Dane County Landfill No. 3 Local Negotiated Agreement Committee meeting will be
a hybrid meeting. Members of the public can either attend in person in the Drumlin Room of the Lyman F. Anderson Agriculture & Conservtion Center (5201 Fen Oak Drive, Madison, WI) or virtually via Zoom. It is recommended to register via the Zoom link, even if you plan to attend in person. Please Register Here.

08.05.2023. 11:30-2:30 pm. Sustainability Campus Workshop: Come learn about the Sustainability Campus and discover the opportunities it will give to the local community! Learn more and register here.

03.02.2023. 7:00 pm. Dane County Board Meeting- Anticipated Agenda Item On Award of Contract for Sustainability Campus Development Assistance at Yahara Hills. Meeting Details.

02.20.2023. 5:30 pm. Personnel & Finance Committee Meeting- Anticipated Agenda Item On Award of Contract for Sustainability Campus Development Assistance at Yahara Hills. Meeting Details.

01.03.2023. 5:30 pm. Public Works & Transportation Committee Meeting- Agenda Item On Award of Contract for Sustainability Campus Development Assistance at Yahara Hills. Meeting Details.

12.15.2022. 7:00 pm. Dane County Board Meeting- Agenda Item On Award of Contract for Sustainability Campus Development Assistance at Yahara Hills. Meeting Details.

12.13.2022. 8:30 am. Sustain Dane Sustainable Breakfast Series: Food Scraps Year in Review & Future Opportunities- Learn more about future opportunities to divert food scraps at the Dane County Sustainability Campus and other local food scraps diversion efforts. 

11.17.2022. 7:00 pm. Dane County Board Meeting- Agenda Item On Award of Contract for Engineering Design and Permitting Services for the Proposed Dane County Landfill site at Yahara Hills. Meeting Agenda.

11.04.2022. 7:45am-3pm. Sustain Dane Summit- Come visit the Waste & Renewables Exhibit at this event to learn more about the Sustainability Campus.

10.11.2022. 6:30 pm. City of Madison Common Council Meeting- Agenda Item On Rezoning & Subdivision Applications for a portion of Yahara Hills for Sustainability Campus & Landfill. Meeting Minutes.

10.03.2022. 5:30 pm. City of Madison Plan Commission Meeting- Agenda Item On Rezoning & Subdivision Applications for a portion of Yahara Hills for Sustainability Campus & Landfill. Meeting Minutes.

08.20.2022. 11:30-3:30 PM.  Waste & Renewables Open House: A Community Celebration Towards Waste As A Resource (In Person): Thanks for helping us celebrate our community’s journey towards utilizing waste as a resource!

05.19.2022. 7:00 pm. Dane County County Board Meeting (Virtual)- Agenda Item On Authorizing the Purchase of Land for County Landfill & Sustainability Campus from the City of Madison. More Information.

05.10.2022. 6:30 pm. City of Madison Common Council Meeting (Virtual): Agenda Items On City-County Agreements Pertaining to land sale and development of a portion of Yahara Hills for Sustainability Campus & Landfill, and entering into a new Solid Waste Agreement and Amending the Yahara Hills Neighborhood Development Plan. More Information.

05.09.2022. 5:30 pm. Dane County Personnel & Finance Committee Meeting (Virtual): Agenda Item On Authorizing the Purchase of Land for County Landfill & Sustainability Campus from the City of Madison. More Information.

04.25.2022. 5:30 pm. City of Madison Plan Commission Meeting (Virtual)- Agenda Item On Amending the Yahara Hills Neighborhood Development Plan, to provide updated recommendations for the area located on the eastern portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course. More Information.

04.25.2022. 4:30 pm. City of Madison Finance Commitee Meeting (Virtual):  Agenda Item On City-County Agreements Pertaining to land sale and development of a portion of Yahara Hills for Sustainability Campus & Landfill, and entering into a new Solid Waste Agreement. More Information.

04.21.2022. 6:30 pm.  Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables, City Staff and Elected Officials Public Outreach Meeting (In Person & Virtual): - Waste & Renewables Sustainability Campus. Presentation SlidesAudio Recording.

04.18.2022. 5:00 pm. City of Madison Transportation Policy and Planning Board (Virtual)- Agenda Item On City-County Agreements Pertaining to land sale and development of a portion of Yahara Hills for Sustainability Campus & Landfill, and entering into a new Solid Waste Agreement Meeting Details.

04.13.2022. 6:30 pm. City of Madison Board of Park Commissoners (Virtual)- Agenda Item On City-County Agreements Pertaining to land sale and development of a portion of Yahara Hills for Sustainability Campus & Landfill, and entering into a new Solid Waste Agreement  Meeting Details.

04.12.2022. 5:30 pm. Dane County Public Works & Transportation Committee Meeting (Virtual):  Agenda Item On Authorizing the Purchase of Land for County Landfill & Sustainability Campus from the City of Madison. Meeting Details.

04.06.2022. 4:30 pm. City of Madison Board of Public Works Meeting (Virtual)- Agenda Item On City-County Agreements Pertaining to land sale and development of a portion of Yahara Hills for Sustainability Campus & Landfill, and entering into a new Solid Waste Agreement Meeting Details.

03.19.2022. 11:00 am.  Dane County Landfill Tour (In Person): Join us on this special tour to learn more about our current work and vision for meeting Dane County's future waste management needs. Registration

03.17.2022. 6:00 pm. Yahara Hill Neighborhood Development Plan Amendment- Neighborhood Meeting (In person & Virtual): Join the City of Madison and Dane County to review the proposed amendment to the neighborhood plan to accomodate for the proposed Sustainability Campus. Watch Recording.

03.10.2022. 6.00pm. Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC) Public Hearing (Virtual): Topic: Amendment of the Dane County Water Quality Plan by Revising the Sewer Service Area Boundary and Environmental Corridors in the Central Urban Service Area (City of Madison / Yahara Hills Neighborhood). Watch Recording.

03.10.2022. 5:30 pm. Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables and the Village of McFarland (In Person & Virtual):  Public Informational Meeting on Waste & Renewables Sustainability Campus. Watch Recording. Poster Displays.

12.16.2021. 3:30 pm.  Dane County Landfill Tour (In Person): Join us on this special tour to learn more about our current work and vision for meeting Dane County's future waste management needs. Registration

12.7.2021. 5:30 pm.  Dane County Public Works & Transportation Committee Special Session. Virtual (Zoom):Public Informational Meeting on Waste & Renewables Sustainability Campus.  Watch Recording.

11.03.2021. 6:30 pm. City of Madison Board of Park Commissioners Meeting. Virtual (Zoom): Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables Informational Presentation Regarding Possible Future Use of Portion of Yahara Hills Golf Course for Proposed Yahara Sustainability Campus.  Meeting Minutes

10.12.2021. 5:30 pm. Dane County Public Works Meeting (Virtual): Agenda Item on Department of Waste & Renewables Budget Overview Meeting Minues.

05.24.2021. 12:00 pm. County Public Works Sustainability Subcommittee Meeting (Virtual): Agenda Item on Department of Waste & Renewables Presentations: Innovation Campus & Trash Lab. Meeting Minues.

03.18.2021. 7:00 pm. Waste as a Resource Informational Presentation to County Board Waste as a Resource Informational Presentation to County Board (Virtual): Announcement of project to County Board Meeting Minues.

10.26.2020. 4:30 pm. City of Madison Sustainable Madison Committee Meeting (Virtual): Soft announcement of project during SWAC presentation. Meeting Minutes.

FAQs

FAQs will be updated as new questions arise.  Last updated 02.15.2024

What is the status of the Sustainability Campus and when will the landfill be built?

The Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables (W&R) is currently working with SCS Engineers and Vandewalle & Associates to establish the goals and identify potential tenants for the Sustainable Business Park.  They have completed an engagement plan which includes milestones for gathering community input.   Upcoming events, workshops and meetings can be found in the "Engage" tab. 

W&R is concurrently working with SCS Engineers on design and permitting for the new landfill site.  The engineering team has submitted three (1. Initial Site Inspection Request, 2. Initial Site Report and 3. Feasibility Report) of the four required items to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) for the permitting process. 

The Feasibility Report was submitted on February 13, 2024.  If the WDNR determines that the Feasibility Report contains all of the required information, there will be a 30-day public comment period.   This will likely take place sometime in the summer of 2024.  Following the public comment period, if the WDNR provides a determination that the proposed landfill is feasible, permitting will move to the final step, the Plan of Operation.  The Plan of Operation includes a detailed design of the facility, including phasing for construction, and an extensive written plan for how the site will be operated to protect health and the environment.

The local negotiated agreement (LNA) process (see below) and local approval process, an additional requirement for permitting the landfill, is also currently in progress.

Construction of some elements of the Sustainability Campus, including a Waste Education Center (and Administrative Building) are proposed to start by 2025-2026.  These early elements of the project will impact a relatively small footprint of the site.  Construction of the landfill infrastructure is anticipated to start in approximately 2027-2028 so that the proposed site is ready to accept waste prior to the Rodefeld site reaching capacity.

How does the Local Negotiated Agreement (LNA) process work?  What’s included with the Agreement?

The Local Negotiated Agreement (LNA) process is administered by the State of Wisconsin Waste Facility Siting Board (WFSB) and is required as part of the Feasibility Report for landfill permitting.  The LNA process allows for neighboring municipalities to negotiate directly with the landfill owner/operator (Dane County) about operational concerns and/or compensation for economic impacts that are a direct result of the facility.

Dane County and the municipalities must closely follow the LNA process outlined in the State statutes (ss. 289.33). The process begins when the siting board mails letters inviting affected municipalities to participate.  Affected municipalities are defined as municipalities that are within 1,500 feet of the proposed edge of waste of the landfill, which for the proposed landfill, includes the City of Madison and Town of Cottage Grove.  These letters were sent in April 2023. 

Each affected municipality then had to appoint members to the LNA committee and pass siting resolutions, a step that was completed in June 2023.  Finally, in August 2023, the WFSB authorized negotiations to begin.

Municipalities beyond 1,500 feet of the proposed limits of the waste are allowed to be brought into the LNA process with consent of the LNA committee.  This approval was granted by the committee to the Village of McFarland in January 2024.

Since October 2023, the Committee has been meeting every few weeks to discuss a variety of topics including, but not limited to: 

  • Access and haul routes,
  • Mitigation of nuisances (litter, odor, dust, mud tracking, birds, etc.),
  • Procedures for reporting and correcting operational concerns,  
  • Hours of operation,
  • Environmental monitoring,
  • Limitations to the site,
  • Final use of the site, and
  • Property compensation.

The meeting minutes, recordings, and the current draft of the agreement can be found on Dane County’s Legislative Information Center.  Members of the public are welcome to attend the recurring meetings and are also encouraged to attend the public hearing that is scheduled for March 6, 2024 at 4:00 pm.  This hearing will be held at the Alliant Energy Center Expo Hall, Mendota Room 5, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison WI 53713. Post cards are being sent to neighboring property owners. Onsite parking will be available at no charge.

Members of the public can register for the meeting here:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vIv38_PvT6SNeNfXZF8vTA

What impacts will this project have on nearby properties and will they get compensation?

Dane County’s goal is to minimize impacts to neighbors and nearby communities to the extent possible.  Discussion about how we will design and operate the facility to accomplish this follows in later responses.  Despite these efforts, there is the potential for adverse effects on individual properties located near the landfill. The amount of annual compensation to the neighbors of the existing Rodefeld Landfill currently varies from about $1,200 to $7,000 annually and is based on the potential for impacts to that property. 

Not all properties within a certain distance of the proposed landfill are guaranteed compensation.  The level of compensation will be determined by the anticipated level of impact to each property.  In an attempt to determine which properties might experience impacts from the proposed landfill, Dane County hired an environmental engineering firm, Tetra Tech, to visit surrounding residential properties and perform a survey of the potential for visual impacts, noise, dust, birds, odors, and traffic.   They also modelled the potential for dust and odors through air dispersion modelling. 

The final results of the survey and modelling will be presented to the LNA committee on February 21, 2024 and the recording of the presentation and written report will be made available on Dane County’s Legislative Information Center.   

Appendix A of the report includes a table that ranks each nearby address with an impact assessment score which is intended to be used to determine the amount of compensation that each property is eligible for.  The LNA committee is still in the process of developing compensation level recommendations.  Please note that the report and modeling are not intended or able to predict future impacts with 100% accuracy, rather, the results are being used as a starting point for the LNA committee to compare the potential impacts of the proposed site with the existing Rodefeld landfill and discuss the appropriate levels of future compensation. 

What impacts will this project have on property values?

Again, our ultimate goal is to be an asset and have positive impacts on our surrounding communities by being a source of economic growth, jobs, recreation, educational opportunities, and renewable energy.  

To provide our closest neighbors added security and peace of mind, we have property value guarantees for the most impacted properties within the proposed local negotiated agreement.  This guarantee requires us to compensate these homeowners if their home does not sell for appraised market value.  This is a provision in our existing agreement and since this agreement started in 1994, the County has only had to compensate neighbors under this provision three times.  

What level of screening is going to be provided for nearby homeowners and golf course users?

To the extent possible, Dane County will protect and save existing mature trees on the site.  Additional screening, most preferably natural screening, such as trees and shrubs, will be planted in advance of the project to allow time for maturation of the trees.  Screening could also come in the form of soil berms or fencing.  We are required to provide adequate screening of the landfill and during the final stages of permitting, Dane County will need to obtain the WDNR’ approval of plans for providing screening.   The landscaping and screening plan for the proposed site was recently approved by the City of Madison with our application for a conditional use permit.  It can be found here.

Whose waste is being disposed of in the landfill and does the landfill take waste from outside of the County?

The majority of Dane County’s waste is disposed of at Dane County’s landfill, but not all of it.  Each municipality is responsible for waste collections and can contract for their waste disposal services which sometimes results in waste leaving the County (most commonly if a contracted hauler also owns a landfill).   To preserve the landfill as a resource for Dane County, the current draft of the local negotiated agreement indicates that only 5% of waste is allowed to be from outside of Dane County. 

What are the opportunities for public input and what approvals are needed?

Public input is key to the success of this project and we look forward to continuing to engage with the community about what the future of waste management looks like for Dane County. We value our neighbors’ input on this project, and we will do our best to incorporate the feedback.  There have been and will continue to be many opportunities for public input during the planning process, and Dane County will consider all of that feedback as we work to design and develop this site.  

With our design team, we recently completed an engagement plan which includes milestones for gathering community input.   More information on upcoming meetings will be posted in the “Engage” section on the project web page.  

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the Local Negotiated Agreement process by attending meetings, submitting written feedback, or attending the March 6, 2024 public hearing.   Information about these meetings can be found of Dane County’s Legislative Information Center.

Following submittal of the Feasibility Report (submitted on February 9, 2024) there will be a formal public comment period facilitated by the WDNR.  This is expected to occur in summer of 2024.

In addition, we have heard recent requests for additional ways to provide comments and concerns and have created a feedback section on our webpage here under the “Contact Us” tab.

How and when will access to the site be determined and how will this project impact traffic?

The proposed access points were recently approved by the City of Madison with our application for a conditional use permit.  The current proposal can be found here.  Additionally, as part of the Local Negotiations process, the committee is proposing to require that the major hauling route to the facility comes from US Hwy 12/18 and Cty Hwy AB.  This will minimize impacts to traffic on town and county roadways such as Siggelkow Road.

How high will the landfill go?

There are physical limits to how high a landfill can be built based on stability of the slopes and geotechnical investigations.  The height of the landfill also determines the capacity and the length of time the landfill site could serve the community.

With the preliminary design submitted as part of the Feasibility Report, the final elevation is proposed to be 1,135 feet high or about 240 feet above current ground elevation.  For comparison, the existing landfill is approved to go to 1,065 feet high, but the Rodefeld site is narrower which limits the vertical height.  The final elevation of the proposed landfill will be determined through the Local Negotiations and the Plan of Operation.

What will be done to control landfill odors?

We are committed to doing everything possible to minimize odors.  Landfill odors are caused by constituents in biogas that are produced during the breakdown of the waste we all generate from our households and businesses. The most effective way for us to control odors is to control the landfill gas with a robust and well-functioning landfill gas extraction system.  To achieve this, we have and will continue to use the following management practices:

  • Install permanent cap over closed areas of the landfill.  This cap is engineered to include multiple layers, including a layer of HDPE plastic, and the cap is over 4-feet thick in depth.  Covering the waste with a cap creates a physical barrier that prevents gas from leaving the waste. 
  • Install temporary cover soils and cover vegetation over as much of the uncapped landfill area as possible.
  • Minimize open area and cover the active area of the landfill at the end of each day.
  • Install landfill gas wells sooner and closer together than required to collect landfill gas as it is generated.  To learn more about our landfill gas collection and treatment system, check out this video.  Dane currently installs gas wells far in advance than federally required and plans to continue to do so.
  • Utilize advanced gas collection and monitoring systems that remotely monitor our gas extraction wells every 15 minutes and automatically make adjustments to maximize the gas collection effectiveness. 
  • Monitor the gas extraction system on a daily basis and inspect and monitor our entire wellfield at least monthly.  Also perform a scan of the surface of the landfill each quarter to identify any areas where gas could be travelling through the cover. 
  • We have added two new fulltime staff positions in 2023 and 2024 dedicated to management and optimization of our gas collection system.

Varying conditions such as barometric pressure, wind patterns, and humidity do temporarily impact gas collection abilities and the potential for odors. We have invested in a number of tools and practices to respond to these conditions including:

  • Mobile odorant misting system
  • Perimeter odor neutralizing vapor system
  • Surface application of deodorant, as needed
  • On-site weather stations to monitor these conditions
  • Automatic gas well control heads that respond to these changing conditions automatically and be adjusted remotely

We have heard recent requests for additional ways to provide comments and concerns and have created a feedback section on our webpage here. 

Will there be a compost site at the Yahara site?

Dane County recently announced that after receiving multiple innovative proposals, the County is partnering with Purple Cow Organics to expand food waste and yard waste composting services in the county over the next five years.  With this partnership, Dane County will provide investment and equipment for Purple Cow to expand their existing site on Meier Road to accept food waste.     There will likely be a residential drop off for collection of food waste and yard waste included at the Campus, but this means that for the foreseeable future, there will not be a need to construct a composting facility at the Yahara Hills site.

Will the landfill attract pests?

We are required to minimize conditions that would attract pests and animals such as rodents, birds, and burrowing animals (to protect the integrity of the landfill final cover). These efforts include covering the waste daily, paid professional pest control, and regular inspections for signs of animal intrusion on the landfill.  We don’t commonly receive comments or concerns from our existing neighbors about pests.

Of note, we have invested in native pollinator seed mixes on our landfill cover and are committed to habitat restoration so that the site attracts a diversity of species, including native sandhill cranes, pollinator species, and other migrating native wildlife.

Archive

12.8.2021: Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Contact

We are excited to share more about our project plans with you!  Please contact us at waste.renewables@countyofdane.com 

Additionally, you can take our project feedback survey here. This survey was administered during the in-person March 10th, 2022 Public Informational Meeting at the McFarland Municipal Center.