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The remains of chickens killed by the avian flu will be buried in a Mills County landfill as soon as next week, weather permitting. The Daily Non Pareil reports the United States Department of Agriculture has reached a deal with Iowa Waste Systems, owner of the Loess Hills Sanitary Landfill near Malvern to serve as one of several statewide sites to received the dead birds.
Robert Glebs, CEO of Iowa Waste Systems said they have told the USDA they would like to accept 10 loads of dead chickens as a ‘test run’ for the first burial, which amounts to about 200 tons in weight. The test run was supposed to have taken place Wednesday, but Glebs says rain, which could have allowed excess water into the ground as a leachate, prevented it from taking place. He said the landfill will try to bury the chickens next week, weather permitting.
The plastic bags with chickens inside are placed deep in the ground before being covered with waste and soil within five minutes.State Senator Mark Costello, a Republican from Imogene, says hehas received more than a few grievances from people in the area with worries about diseased animal remains coming to their neck of the woods. However, Costello said the protocols and regulations to keep the diseased remains safe and contained are stringent and detailed. The Iowa Department of Transportation will figure out a safe route for the trucks, which are purified after carrying the remains to the site, he said.
According to Costello, the remains are placed in bags, which are heated to destroy the flu germs, before being buried and do not leak. He said he was unsure how many trucks carrying remains could be coming to Mills County, but he heard recent estimates put 25 million birds have died from the flu. The outbreak in the upper Midwest could cost producers nearly $1 billion, according to the Associated Press.
Dustin Vande Hoef, public information director for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, said the landfill will follow special waste-handling criteria. Vande Hoef said previous animal disease outbreaks have been handled in similar fashion in the past.