Environmental Practices

Serving & Protecting Central Iowa

Metro Waste Authority took over the operation of Metro Park West in 2009. Formerly known as the North Dallas Sanitary Landfill, the site originally opened in 1969 and was first permitted in 1984. The permitted disposal area encompasses 30 acres on the 140-acre property, it straddles the county line between Greene and Boone counties, and is on the northern border of Dallas County.

Metro Waste Authority constructed a new landfill disposal area in 2011, making it a Subtitle D or Modern Landfill. Unlike dumps, a modern landfill is designed and engineered to ensure compliance with federal regulations and protect the environment from garbage contaminants.

Air, Water & Soil Quality

Being compliant and protecting the environment is the only way we operate. The entire landfill is made up into areas or "cells." Each of these cells is constructed to protect the environment from the first day garbage is compacted to decades after it's been closed.

Construction & Daily Operations

  • Composite Liner - A flexible membrane (geomembrane) overlays two feet of compacted clay soil lining the bottom and sides of the landfill. This design element protects groundwater and the underlying soil from leachate, created by rain percolating through the waste in the landfill.
  • Collecting Leachate - Using a piping system on top of the composite liner, this system captures the leachate from the landfill. The leachate is then sprayed onto the landfill area to accelerate the garbage breaking down.
  • Air Space & Quality - After garbage is deposited in the landfill, it is compacted. This maximizes the life of the landfill by increasing air space. At the end of every working day, the landfill is covered with tarps, a spray cover or soil. The "daily cover" helps control odor, litter, public health problems and animal scavenging.
  • Monitoring Groundwater - Wells are used to monitor groundwater and regular testing takes place to determine whether waste materials have escaped from the landfill cell.
  • Capturing Landfill Gas - A modern landfill cell was constructed in 2011 and will collect methane gas once the garbage begins to breaking down.
  • Closure & Post-Closure Care - Termed closure and post-closure care requirements, it's a retirement fund for each landfill cell. When the cell is full, it's capped to trap all the garbage in. The cell continues to generate landfill gas, leachate continues to flow and groundwater still requires monitoring. To ensure financial assurance to the communities it serves, landfills are required to set aside dollars every year from the day the landfill cell is constructed.

Life Expectancy of the Landfill

Metro Park West has adequate space with the existing cell and ones planned for the future to meet the projected needs of the communities it serves well into the 21st century. The life of the landfill continues to extend as residents and businesses work together to reduce waste and increase recycling efforts.

State Bans

State law bans the following items from all Iowa landfills: car batteries, waste oils, tires and free liquids. Metro Park West does accept many of these banned items, but those items are not disposed of in the landfill. They are recycled. For example, yard waste is turned into compost. Tires are recycled at Liberty Tire in Des Moines. Residents are encouraged to use our Recycling Guide to find safe, smart recycling options.