Planning for Success – Waste Today

As the dust begins to settle at the site of a newly constructed transfer station, many operators are often left with the daunting question, “Now what?” After overcoming what seems like an endless list of regulatory hurdles, beginning to create a thorough management plan may seem like the ultimate feat.

Basically, the overall operation of a transfer station is similar to that of a truck terminal. Small local collection vehicles will deliver the materials to a centrally located facility where the contents are emptied for temporary storage. Once there, the materials are loaded into larger vehicles to be transported to waste recovery, recycling, treatment or disposal facilities.

Transfer stations are typically designed for a continuous flow of material throughout this process, which means efficiency and maintenance are critical to successful operations.

Keep traffic flows in mind. A constant flow of traffic is essential for the safety of transfer station facilities. Major vehicle configurations, including different road surfaces, transit lanes, turning radii, and different site locations are examples of factors to consider when designing and operating a vehicle. a transfer station.

The safest traffic movements are one-way counter-clockwise, with very few crossings and intersections. Minimizing conflicting movements not only prevents accidents, but also minimizes congestion and promotes efficient operations. Separating the traffic of commercial collection vehicles from smaller vehicles also supports efficient operations and encourages safe operation.

Photo courtesy of RRT Design & Construction

Semi-trailer transfer trucks and large commercial collection vehicles require a large turning radius compared to small collection and passenger vehicles. Designing and maintaining roads with a turning radius wide enough to safely turn large trucks is essential to maintaining continuous movement in and around a transfer station.

Avoid wide traffic jams. Designing a transfer station with sufficient queuing space for multiple vehicles before they step onto the scale is essential for efficient operations, maintaining positive community relations, and ensuring a safe installation. for ingress and egress of site traffic. Queues should be long enough to direct site traffic away from main roads and minimize the impact on offsite traffic. This alone can make a difference in the overall perception of the installation, as well as the flow of traffic, both onsite and offsite.

Maintaining software and general accounting practices that allow for minimal time spent at the scale to weigh incoming loads, sign scale tickets, communicate with the scale attendant, and exit the scale to be closer to the tilting floor are essential tools for effective, yet economically efficient support. operations.

When a transfer facility operates with a single scale, the need for outbound weights impedes the flow of traffic, and there is no fallback option to weigh inbound loads to collect funds associated with tipping fees billed. The most efficient sites operate with an inbound ladder and an outbound ladder that partially limits the need to stop traffic, but also provides contingency planning in the event of a ladder failure. Additionally, a software program coupled with policies that record rate weights and other regular account information eliminates the need to weigh each outgoing truck as it leaves the site.

Labor shortages have led some companies to choose virtual scale attendants to weigh incoming and outgoing trucks. This can be beneficial, but the value of having someone who not only provides a face for customer service at a transfer station, but also someone that drivers and operators can interact with, brings value to all operations. If you have questions regarding billing or specific charges, on-site personnel can resolve issues as they arise. The scale also serves as a point for regulatory compliance, billing, data collection, radiation testing and waste screening, which requires additional assistance not offered by a virtual attendant.

Photos courtesy of Caldwell Environmental Solutions

Maintain a safe and clean swing floor. The tilting floor serves as a temporary storage space for materials delivered to the facility. Maintaining a safe distance between incoming collection trucks, waste handling equipment, and other obstacles not only ensures efficiency, but more importantly contributes to a safe operating environment.

Minimizing nuisances such as dust, litter, odors and unwanted animals starts with the tilting floor. Containment of materials inside an enclosed building, use of foggers to reduce dust, and continuous movement of materials through the facility reduce odors and prevent the presence of unwanted vermin and scavengers.

Watch out for unwanted materials. Depending on the types of waste and recyclables accepted and when the materials are sorted, designated locations for each type of material should maintain an organized workspace on the tilting floor. Keeping the failover threshold clear reflects management best practices and helps maintain safe operational efficiency.

It is common for unacceptable materials to arrive at a transfer station from collection vehicles. Using the tilting floor as a platform for identification and separation of prohibited materials ensures the effective management of hazardous waste, special waste and waste that could cause fire or other disasters before they are loaded on transport vehicles.

When loaded semi-trailers are set up to transport materials from a transfer station, being proactive in the management of rodents, birds and other pests is essential for the effective management of a facility. Enclosed trailers are generally more expensive than open-top units, but they provide additional protection from scavengers and reduce the need for ongoing exterminator services.

Think of your neighbors. Noise from heavy commercial trucks, haul trucks, and equipment, an unenclosed tilting floor, and inadequate buffer vegetation are some of the reasons neighbors at a transfer station may complain.

Maintaining facilities as part of an overall facility maintenance plan will ensure continued support from the local community.

Waste is also an ongoing problem in and around any facility devoted to waste and recycling functions, with the main offenders often being trucks with uncovered loads. Maintaining a regular waste patrol should be part of any operations plan. Adding resources to collect waste within the site, around the property lines and approximately one mile in each direction from the entrance or exit of the transfer station is proving to be a welcome response. when additional waste accumulates due to wind or other similar events.

Communicate with your team. Training staff and encouraging regular communication between staff, customers and others on site is an ongoing team effort. The proper management of specific waste streams may depend on the newest product on the shelf at the local retailer. Regulations directly affecting operating procedures, hazardous and special waste handling, active safety training, notices of special events, reminders to follow facility rules, and other similar matters should be discussed regularly to ensure consistency of communications and compliance with procedures.

Communication between the weigh station, facility management, and transfer station operators is also critical to the continued safety and efficiency of any transfer station operation. Two-way radio communication for personnel should be a requirement in any plan of operations.

Any facility that relies on equipment and people must have a contingency plan to operate in abnormal circumstances. Contingency planning can include equipment failure, site maintenance, labor shortages, natural disaster response, and any other situation that is less than ideal. Developing a contingency plan based on situations as they arise will provide a solid foundation with a toolbox full of options for reacting when unforeseen events occur.

Regardless of the materials processed, the vehicles used for transportation, or the location of a transfer station, the goal is the same: to condense small loads of material into larger loads for more efficient operations. The primary objective of solid waste management is to protect public health, and the key to successful management of transfer stations is to keep these materials moving through the process in the safest and most efficient way. effective as possible.

Becky Caldwell is president of Caldwell Environmental Solutions LLC in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact her at [email protected]

Comments are closed.