Excavating crews from Wanasek Corp. work at the Maryland Avenue construction site in Burlington Tuesday. Crews recently unearthed waste from a former landfill at the site. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

Maryland Ave. work unearths waste; project cost rises

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Crews excavating Maryland Avenue as part of a reconstruction project recently unearthed waste from a landfill dating back decades.

City officials last week alerted residents of potential odors emanating from the construction site as the material is excavated.

Peter Riggs, Director of Public Works, acknowledged a segment of Maryland Avenue sits on top of an unlicensed and long-closed 40-acre landfill.

“Utility replacement and road construction included in the Maryland Avenue project requires below grade excavation, which in turn, exposed waste material that has been buried since the 1930s to 1970s,” Riggs said in an email. “Initially we expected to haul this material off site and dispose of it in an active sanitary landfill.”

He also clarified the unlicensed landfill does not mean unregulated, noting the site was used until it closed in 1970.

The city began the project by hauling waste material to Metro Landfill in Franklin, however, crews working on the project found more waste than expected.

The excessive waste material, according to a post on the City of Burlington Facebook page, caused the city to seek options to contain costs for hauling and disposing of this material.

City officials and engineering consultant Kapur and Associates worked with staff from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in developing a plan to safely remove waste from the site.

“Unfortunately, we have encountered greater than anticipated volumes of waste materials,” Riggs said in an email. “Instead of continuing to pay high costs for hauling and disposal, we sought permission from the WDNR to open the licensed portion of the City of Burlington landfill that is adjacent to Maryland Avenue and dispose of the material there.”

Burlington received an approved plan modification from the DNR, the Facebook post stated, adding contractor Wanasek Corp. has begun stockpiling waste on the top of the closed landfill on Maryland Avenue.

Riggs, meanwhile, said opening the city landfill comes at a cost.

But that expense would be exceeded by the cost of hauling and landfill fees.

“There are costs to opening the city landfill, but these would be greatly offset by savings from eliminating hauling and landfill disposal fees,” Riggs said.

      The read the full version of this story see the July 22 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.