Marion explores renewable energy option


Waste-to-energy power plant in Minnesota. Photo by Ruin Raider, Flickr.

Marion, IA is looking more into the possibility of developing a municipal utility that uses renewable energy.

In May, the Marion City Council hired a consulting firm to assess the feasibility of creating a municipal utility.

The end goal is for the city to use a system that turns solid waste to gas, which can then be converted to energy. The city’s current energy provider, Alliant, will likely challenge these plans.

Additionally, this would be the first city to use this particular waste-to-energy technology, and there are questions about if the system can adequately meet Marion’s energy needs.

Read more from The Gazette here.

New trail will connect Cedar River Trail to Marion


Photo by sgt fun, Flickr.

The Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization is committing $2.5 million in 2016 to connect Cedar Rapids’ Cedar River Trail to Marion.

The connecting segment will be 2.8-miles long. Overall, the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization is using 80 percent of its 2016 funds on trails and bike lanes.

There is also a need to repair some parts of the current Cedar River Trail. These repairs would require an additional $1.3 million.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Marion and Cedar Rapids consider plasma arc waste management


Plasma arc. Photo by Jim Carson, Flickr

Either Marion or Cedar Rapids could become the first U.S. city to dispose of waste using plasma arc technology. Plasma arc waste management involves using a plasma laser to break down waste. The laser turns waste piles into a rock and a vapor. This vapor has the potential to generate steam or electricity, that can be sold to local companies.

Plasma Power LLC. would likely provide the technology if either city goes through these plans. Marion officials have discussed using plasma for over five years, but are hesitant to use the unproven technology.

For more information, read the article from Marion Patch here.

Six Iowa watersheds receive management funding


Last week watershed management received a boost across Iowa when the Economic Development Authority and the Department of Natural Resources distributed funding to monitor flooding.

Read more from the Iowa DNR press release below:

The Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced funding for six Watershed Management Authority (WMA) applications.  Recipients of the seed money will form a WMA to reduce future flood risks and improve water quality in a watershed.  Continue reading