Alliant Energy wanted to consolidate coal combustion residuals waste at its Ottumwa Midland Landfill in Ottumwa, Iowa, but the site was quickly running out of capacity. To achieve its vision of creating a sustainable, long-lasting landfill with the capacity to support its operations for the next 25 years, Alliant carefully assessed how to best use the available land at the site.
“We took a very proactive and holistic approach to the expansion,” says Lindsay Motl, Senior CCR Consultant with Alliant Energy. “We wanted to create a sustainable, long-term home for our CCR waste with the capacity to take in waste streams from other power plants in our fleet.”
At the time of the expansion, the regulatory environment was shifting. The CCR rules were in draft form, and environmental regulations were changing. But that didn’t stop Alliant. “We wanted to use this project as a model for all of our future expansions. Examining the draft rules and constructing the expansion to anticipate changes under the rule was part of our proactive approach,” adds Motl.
Meeting their goals before existing capacity ran out at the site was a challenge. “That’s why we invited SCS Engineers to the table. I knew SCS engineers would treat our challenges as their own, based on our past work together. Alliant faced a complex set of pressures, and I immediately trusted SCS Engineers to take an ownership role in helping us solve them.”
The project team debated several options, each with their own unique set of challenges and rewards. There was no single right option. Being able to participate in that conversation was key. “I appreciate that SCS Engineers came to the table to talk and debate with us, not at us. Their consultative, collaborative approach helped them become trusted members of our team. I trust what SCS Engineers told me throughout the project. They told the truth, even if it was a hard truth to hear. It all comes back to honesty. SCS Engineers’ honesty made them my trusted advisor.”
Alliant achieved its vision and is in a position to build on its success. “This was a landmark project in many ways. We finished the project early. We came in under budget. We successfully managed environmental regulations. But best of all we have a sustainable home for CCR with the capacity to accept CCR from other power plants in our fleet. We went in with a goal of having the capacity for 25 years to come, and in fact, we have more. Now we have a model to help us address capacity at CCR landfills in the future. We’re set up for long-term, sustainable success,” Motl confirms.
Alliant is prepared to develop the second phase of the project. “It will be easier because of the good work done to date,” says Motl. “The expansion was a success both professionally and personally. I grew my leadership and team-building skills and used the experience to grow within Alliant. Everyone agrees this project had a successful outcome driven by collaboration and consultation with all our partners.”
“Alliant faced a complex set of pressures, and I immediately trusted SCS Engineers to take an ownership role in helping us solve them.” Lindsay Motl, Sr. CCR Consultant, Alliant Energy