Local Landfill Potential Site For Avian Flu Disposal

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A central Iowa landfill could be the third site for the state to dispose birds affected by the avian flu.

On Wednesday, Metro Waste Authority agreed it would dispose of roughly one million birds.

"As the largest landfill in the state, it just made sense for us to help," said Metro Waste Authority Executive Director Reo Menning. "This is going to impact all of Iowa and it’s important to us to make sure we provide the assistance we need to make sure Iowa gets back on its feet."

Within the coming days, Menning said the paperwork will be approved to begin bringing birds onto the property. However, the U.S Department of Agriculture claims the location will not be used unless the disease worsens and spreads.

Metro Waste Authority plans to outsource a disposal company to handle the birds. It would keep daily operations and separate from anything avian related. The USDA says it will compensate Metro Waste Authority for services used to treat the issue.

In Wednesday's MWA's  board of supervisors meeting, the proposal was approved 10 -3.

Polk County Supervisor, Tom Hockensmith voted 'no' due to too legal and environmental risks. He said the birds should be disposed near the sites where they were infected.

"It would seem to me the states right across the [boundary] lines would be much closer. It would be much more convenient than transporting 200 or 300 miles down to Polk County," he said.

There are no confirmed cases of the bird flu in Polk County. However, if a case were to surface here, Hockensmith worries MWA would get the blame.

"If poultry in Polk county becomes infected with this disease, the perception is going to be its because Metro Waste Authority agreed to have those birds hauled here," he said.

The other landfill sites are located in the Northwest Iowa town of Sheldon and in Melvern which is in the Southwest part of the state.

There are 63 confirmed or probable cases in Iowa.