Will new sports complex on landfill be safe? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Will new sports complex on landfill be safe?

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Athletes in Wausau are excited about a new sports complex coming town. But some are concerned because it's going to be built on a landfill.

For years, people on Kent Street in Wausau have only seen a landfill. But soon, that will change into a goal post, sidelines and a new field.

"I'm really glad to see some resolution to it," said soccer coach Mike Switalski.

The Marathon County Board approved a plan to turn the Holtz Krause landfill into a sports complex. But some wonder whether that's safe.

"At times the blower house which is to burn off the methane gas has not functioned 100 percent of the time here and I certainly would like to see some assurances with the revised design and implementation of the active gas extraction system that we're going to have a 100 percent functionality of the blower house," said Marathon County Board Member Oliver Burrows.

But officials with the Department of Natural Resources say it is safe. And they plan to take the proper steps to ensure that.

"There will also be upgrades to the existing gas extraction system that will manage the landfill gas emission so nobody will be coming into contact with landfill gas either," said DNR official Erin Endsley.

Officials also say people shouldn't be worried about having a field, on top of garbage.

"Currently the landfill is capped with a total thickness of at least 5 feet of soil so that would prevent anyone from coming into contact with the waste below," said Endsley.

That's one reason Mike Switalski says he won't hesitate to take his team there to play. He coaches boys soccer at Newman Catholic High School.

"The landfill recovery was specifically designed to be a sports complex and I have full faith that the DNR and the engineers that are involved know what they're doing," said Switalski. "Our soccer fields are showing wear and tear because we don't have many around town."

Soon Switalski will have 15 more. That's how many the new complex is set to hold.Construction is scheduled to begin next April.

Officials say the land will cost $272,000. The money will come from the City of Wausau, Marathon County and a Committee of Businesses.

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