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Inter-Governmental Cooperation for Success in Solid Waste


In 2003, Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties (BOW) in Northeast Wisconsin entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement to operate regional landfill(s) and recycling facilities in lieu of operating three smaller separate facilities. Foth assisted BOW with this original Agreement and, in 2018, the BOW partners asked Foth to help evaluate the existing BOW Agreement and determine the next step for BOW future operations.


The BOW Planning Team was established to facilitate the review process that included the BOW solid waste directors and a strategic consulting team at Foth with planning, engineering, accounting, and legal expertise. The BOW Planning Team met monthly to accomplish four goals:

1) Validate that BOW has been successful,

2) Review the existing landfill plan and Agreement,

3) Establish a plan for future operations, and

4) Create a corresponding written amendment to the Agreement.

Meetings were held in a neutral location that helped the BOW Planning Team to build rapport and trust. The process allowed for creative thinking, understanding of each BOW partner, and positive progress. The phased approach focused on the economic and options analysis which was documented through written memorandum. The BOW Planning Team leveraged their consensus to gain support from each governing board and county executives.


In 2020, the BOW directors, executives, and boards celebrated approval and execution of an Amended and Restated Intergovernmental Solid Waste Disposal Agreement through a signing ceremony at the Brown County South Landfill. The impacts of achieving the project goals are highlighted.

  • The BOW partnership has saved over $48 M since its inception in 2003, demonstrating that working together has benefited the municipalities, businesses, and citizens of Northeast Wisconsin.
  • The BOW partnership identified and selected a dual landfill operation as the most effective option to serve the community. BOW opened the Brown County South Landfill in 2022 and will open the Outagamie County Northwest Landfill in 2025 to serve the growing needs of their customers.
  • The plan for BOW to open two landfills offers operational flexibility and choice to BOW customers. It also reduces risks for the BOW counties associated with permit timing, requirements, and operations.
  • The Amended Agreement includes new provisions that increase efficiency and equity between the BOW partners by sharing hauling and transfer costs.
  • The Amended Agreement establishes a process for the BOW directors to work together on things in the future through signing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs). These documents will allow for continuous improvement and added sharing between the counties in the future.
  • The new cooperative landfill plan establishes stable and consistent solid waste disposal capacity for BOW counties and the region through the year 2042.


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