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Will County’s Prairie View Landfill Operations Extended to 2042


 Will County’s Prairie View Landfill closure date has been extended to 2042 with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.   President Obama signed the new Act into law in December.

     As part of the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (Plant) decommissioned agreement, the landfill must accept all wastes generated from the cleanup of the former Plant free of charge as part of the agreement to transfer the federal property ownership to Will County.  In 1999, Congressman Jerry Weller authored federal legislation that established a closure date for Prairie View landfill of 23 years upon opening its gates for disposal.   At the pace of the current cleanup, the premature closure of the landfill would cost taxpayers an additional $81 million dollars to transfer the waste from the cleanup to another landfill.

     “The extension of Prairie View’s operating life is a win for the taxpayers and residents of Will County,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “Closing this landfill prematurely would have increased our residents’ disposal costs and would have negatively impacted the County’s financial health with an estimated $40 million reduction in revenues due to lost landfill royalties over the life of the facility.”

     Waste Management of Illinois, Inc., operator of the Prairie View facility, estimates that premature closure of the facility would have resulted in more than seven million tons of unfilled capacity.  

     “Due to an increase in Will County’s recycling rate, the landfill’s life capacity was clearly going to exceed the mandated closure date of 2027,” said Dale Hoekstra, director of landfill operations.                        

            With the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, the U.S. Army and Midewin Tallgrass prairie has more time to complete their mission of cleaning up the 23,000 acre Joliet Army Ammunition Plant.

            “We are hopeful that we can continue to work with our friends at Midewin and our federal officials to continue the remediation efforts on the old Army Ammunition Plant sites,” said Walsh.  “By furthering these efforts, Midewin can move closer to realizing their long term goal of a fully restored tall grass prairie.”

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