October 11, 2017

The Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operations (ISOSWO) presented its 2017 Innovative Project Award to the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency on Tuesday, October 3rd at the Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference and Trade Show in Coralville.  DMASWA Facility Supervisor, Doug Hughes, and project consultant SCS’s Christine Collier received the award on the Agency’s behalf.

The DMASWA was recognized for its Landfill Fire Risk Management Plan & Prevention Program. The project was initiated in 2013 in repose to recent landfill fires. Hughes stated that “Being a landfill manager and a former volunteer firefighter, I believe that fire prevention, communication, and planning before an incident will enable a better response, reducing the risk to the community.”

The project assisted with preparing the DMASWA staff and fire responders for the potential response to a large-scale fire at the facility. The plan was developed by Collier and her staff with input from Agency staff, City of Dubuque Fire Department staff, Dubuque County Emergency Management staff and area volunteer fire departments. The main obstacle was to dispel the belief that the landfill is a hole in the ground. Instead they are a planned structure of plastic liners and pipes that create various hazards during a landfill fire.

The project included the installation of thermal cameras to detect elevated temperatures in the material being accepted and in the working landfill cell. The cameras have the ability to notify Agency staff and first responders if needed. This planning and prevention project was the first of its kind in the state and has inspired other facilities to implement plans, conduct training and /or install thermal cameras.