CLINTON — After more than a year of negotiations, cattle brain and spinal cord material could start coming to the Clinton County landfill next week, according to recent action by the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency board.

The issue first came up last September when Ewing Miller, district manager of Darling International, the Clinton animal rendering facility formerly known as National By-Products, told the landfill board a proposed new regulation from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources would have a serious impact on his plant.

Miller explained that as a protection against mad cow disease (BSE) samples of brain and spinal cord material of beef animals more than 30 months of age must be tested. Then, in the past, the material could be processed into feed for some types of animals, but not for bovines.

He said the DNR was expected to issue a new rule that the brain and spinal stem material could no longer be used for any type of feed. “We will have no place to go with it except the landfill,” he said.

But the landfill had already rejected two loads of material that the landfill operator could not handle because they were “extra sloppy.”

The new rule from the DNR was supposed to take effect April 1 of this year, but at a statewide meeting last December there were many questions but no answers, Brad Seward, CCASWA operations manager, told his board.

“Darling officials indicated they were going to choose, pretty much on a national basis, not to have any kind of incineration of the material,” which brought Darling International back to the landfill.

At this month’s landfill meeting, Seward brought to the board a proposal to which he said Darling had agreed:

• There is a limit of two truckloads per week.

• Loads will be accepted only during the hours of 7:30 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• Containers holding brain and spinal cord matter must be accompanied by a drying agent in order to contain any potential greases or liquids.

• If the handling of the material results in any measurable leachate contamination at Clinton’s wastewater treatment plant, or other measurable environmental hazards, Darling must help pay for any costs of remediation.

The agreement also required written approval from the city’s public works director before it could go into effect, but Gary Schellhorn, who is that director, was at the meeting and said he had no objection to accepting the material and would look into amending the landfill’s waste water agreement.

Because the agreement was not listed on the board’s agenda for the Sept. 10 meeting, it could not be voted on, but board members indicated a willingness to approve it at the next meeting, Oct. 8.

However, since the new rule goes into effect Sept. 29, the CCASWA’s operations committee was authorized to permit the material to be brought to the landfill between Sept. 29 and Oct. 8.

Seward told the board the proposed agreement with Darling is similar to special waste authorizations granted by the director without involving the board, but he wanted to bring it to the board because of public interest in the issue.

He indicated the material may be processed into compost using the bioreactor during warm weather and will be landfilled with other waste when the bioreactor is shut down for the winter.

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