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Report: Region has most available landfill space

Without expansion, the landfills have 15 years left

Without future expansions, landfills in the Sauk Valley have between 14 and 31 years of life left in them.

The northwest region of the state, which includes Lee, Ogle, Whiteside and Carroll counties, has the second-shortest lifespan in the state at 15, according to a recently released Illinois Environmental Protection Agency report.

However, the region also has the largest portion of available space in the state, as of Jan. 1, with 23.86 percent, the report said. The next-largest portion is 20.85 percent for east-central Illinois, which includes Champaign County.

Kim Biggs, a spokeswoman with the Illinois EPA, said the region is at the extremes in those categories, because it had the most space at the end of 2013 and also took in more waste than any other region last year.

The years of life are calculated by dividing the total capacity by the amount of waste a facility accepts during the year. Because the number is based on the previous year’s intake, it can fluctuate from one year to the next, depending on trends, expansion and the amount of waste accepted.

Mike Wiersema, district manager for Prairie Hill Recycling and Disposal Facility in Morrison, said the capacity figures are important for landfill operations and help them plan for future construction.

“We monitor our capacity throughout the entire year,” he said. “We know how much air space we have at a given moment.”

Wiersema said the Morrison facility has no plans to accept more waste than it has in the past few years.

Landfills by the numbers

Here's a quick look at Sauk Valley landfills and the northwest region of the state, which includes Carroll, Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties, in addition to Boone, Bureau, DeKalb, Jo Davies, LaSalle, Putnam, Stephenson and Winnebago.

Note: 3.3 gate cubic yards per ton

Northwest region

• Seven landfills accepting waste in 2013

• 15,187,038 gate cubic yards of waste accepted in 2013

• 33.68 percent of the state's share of waste accepted in 2013

Lee County Landfill

• 31 landfill life years

• 24.98 percent of the region's capacity

• 1,803,877 gate cubic yards of waste accepted in 2013

Prairie Hill Recycling and Disposal Facility in Morrision

• 18 landfill life years

• 16.43 percent of the region's capacity

• 2,103,920 gate cubic yards of waste accepted in 2013

Orchard Hills Landfill in Ogle County

• 14 landfill life years

• 34.75 percent of region's capacity

• 5,529,382 gate cubic yards of waste accepted in 2013

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