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Sioux Falls to sell landfill methane to ethanol plant

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Methane well
One of 40 wells that draw methane from decomposing garbage at the Fargo landfill.
Photo courtesy city of Fargo

The city of Sioux Falls will sell the gas from decomposing garbage to fuel an ethanol plant. Methane gas is a natural byproduct at landfills. It means millions in profits for the city along with an ethanol plant using less natural gas.

The city will build an 11 mile pipeline from the land fill to the ethanol plant. It will cost the city about $4 million. But the city will make about $2 million annually from the sale of the gas to the plant.

Mark Cotter is the director of public works. He says the city will design the pipeline and work with landowners along the route.

"It is a low pressure gas line much the same as what you see in front of your own homes which is natural gas. In many cases those pressures can range from 15 to 65 pounds," Cotter said.

Cotter says the city will begin pumping methane gas in 2009.

The city of Fargo also sells its landfill methane gas to Cargill.