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Read more on the design-build and solid waste industries from articles on Cambridge Companies, our design-build experience and our expertise on new builds, repairs, renovations, upgrades, expansions and modifications on solid waste facilities.

Site Safety Details to Take Into Consideration Before Breaking Ground
Waste Advantage Magazine│ February 2018

Site safety is a major concern at project sites. Prior to beginning any project, the contractor, owner and design team need to fully evaluate the impact of the construction on the actual site itself as well as the surrounding areas. The major topics we will cover in this article include the owner’s safety plan and requirements, the contractor’s safety plan, the municipality and/or traffic board requirements as well as other various factors that play into the design of the overall project safety plan. This needs to be a group effort to build and manage the plan—a single entity cannot complete an effective safety program by itself. Everyone has a different perspective/role and his/her input is invaluable to the design of the overall safety program.

The basic premise and assumptions for this article is that the project is:

  • Taking place in a more urban area that has a lot of car traffic but little foot traffic.
  • Ground-up construction project with additional operations onsite.
  • Employees will be visiting the project daily to go to work at the other buildings.
  • Visitors will be onsite periodically.

Owner Safety Requirements
Any design and construction firm must fully read and understand the owner’s safety requirements and incorporate them into the project safety plan.

Read More… 

Odor Control at Waste Disposal Facilities
Waste Advantage Magazine│ December 2017

The idea of “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) is a real thing in today’s world—and getting more prevalent. Odor is one of the main issues that comes up every time a waste disposal facility is looking to build or expand. While every resident produces waste or recyclable materials daily, none of them want to live near or see the facility where it ends up.  Nearby residents, whether homeowners or businesses, do not want waste facilities near their home or place of business for a lot of different reasons, but odor tends to be one of the primary ones. Odors from landfills, transfer stations, recycling facilities and other like sites have been an issue in the past as well as today. My expertise does not lie in treating landfills so we will not be discussing odor issues in relation to this type of waste disposal facility. However, it is possible to design a new or existing facility’s renovation to help owners manage waste properly and prevent odor issues or work with them to help eliminate them going forward.

They key to odor reduction is prevention. Every day, transfer stations and recycling facilities accept hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tons of waste. The facility itself is limited to the material it receives based on its permit, so while odor may be a non-issue at many facilities, it is at a few. In most cases, recycling facilities or MRFs accept clean waste that has little to no moisture or organic content, so they tend to have few, if any, odor issues. Dirty MRFs and transfer stations, on the other hand, take in all types of materials based on their permits from various environmental agencies throughout the U.S. Every facility has their own permit and their own requirements. When working with owners to design a facility, a few of the initial questions that should be asked include what type of material they can accept and how the material will be entering and leaving the facility. The goal with any facility that accepts waste is to get it out as fast as you can. Facilities should be designed for waste to be stored in a methodical order. This allows for the stored material to be efficiently removed from the floor, into tractor trailers and onto its next destination, typically a landfill. Getting the tipping floor empty daily is one way to reduce odors from a waste disposal facility. This is a method called “balancing your floor”. The inbound and outbound materials are analyzed on a daily basis, projected downtimes for your receiving landfill are factored in and a facility that can handle your waste daily is designed. This keeps waste in the transfer at all times through regular operations.

Read More… 

Best Practices: Tipping Floors
Waste Advantage Magazine│ November 2017

The Global Development Research Corporation ( defines tipping floors as “an unloading area for vehicles that are delivering MSW to a transfer station or incinerator.” While technically speaking, this is true, they are much more difficult to design and maintain than this simple description implies. There are also tipping floors that handle many different types of products beyond municipal solid waste (MSW). Many different companies out there argue that their way is the best, but, in reality, it boils down to:

  • What is right for the end user or owner of the facility?
  • What will serve their needs the best?
  • What will meet their design and operational objectives?

Tipping floors have been a constant topic of conversations for as long as they have existed. There are probably thousands of different ideas and concepts on the “right way” to design a tipping floor to withstand the given abuse of the facility’s operations. Some people focus on the concrete mix design, some focus on the aggregate, some provide a sacrificial wear layer and some install toppings. Again, there are many ways to go about designing a transfer station tipping floor. No transfer facility is created equal. They all need to be treated differently and the owner needs to provide information to the designers in order to ensure that all the pertinent information is being considered as a part of the tipping floor design. Not that it is an exact science, but you can impact the usable life of the floor by using the correct design for your facility. The main thing is to understand the operations of the facility. The owner, who will be dealing with the material on the floor on a daily basis, really determines how long a floor will last. This article will touch on some of the factors that must be included in the design.

The Materials
Tipping floors exist at a lot of different facilities. Anyone who takes in raw materials for processing or transferring technically has a tipping floor. For purposes of this audience we will focus on the solid waste industry, which typically have the following products on their tipping floors:

  • Construction and demolition debris,
  • Recycling materials,
  • Municipal solid waste and
  • A few others.

Read More… 

Proper Planning of a Project
Waste Advantage Magazine│ September 2017

So you have decided whom you want to work with on your next project. Congratulations! Now the hard work begins. This article will touch on the step from post-award through start of design and what needs to be accomplished in that phase in order to ensure that your project flows smoothly into the design phase. The process should be similar whether you have chosen a design/build firm or if you decided that you would prefer to hire an architect directly. The important part is that you have an idea and now that idea needs to be translated to reality by your design team.

The Initial Phase
This initial phase is called several different things in the marketplace. The term varies by company and is referred to as scoping, feasibility, pre-design, conceptual design, etc. This is the most important phase in your project’s development. The better things are defined in this phase, 1) the budget will be more accurate, 2) the timeline will be better defined and 3) the end solution will be better.  The first thing that should be gathered is the name and contact information for each project team member as well as their role and level of authority. This list will include owner team members, design team members as well as other members as needed such as the construction team. The importance of identifying each level of authority cannot be understated. This allows the design team to know who to go to for the decisions, feedback and clarifications within the project.  Read More… 

Technology is All the Rage
MSW Management│ September/October 2017

Technology continues to have an impactful and transformative effect on our world. Its reach even extends to the operation of transfer stations. The scope of these impacts cover many critical operations including loading, scaling, environmental compliance, and safety.  When conceptualized and implemented properly, these technologies should allow your facility to operate more efficiently, provide a safer work place, and minimize impacts on the environment.

Operational Efficiency
Ensuring transfer stations operate in an efficient manner is critical to maintaining facility capacity as well as keeping operating costs low. To that end, technology offers several approaches that impact different areas of operations.  The first would be the site entry and scaling. Sites typically need a scale house staffed at all times while the facility is in operation. Often times there are two staff members who deal with both in and out bound traffic. One approach, which may help this operation, would be to use a Remote Presence Unit. This unit provides a video screen and microphone with a ticket printer that allows vehicle operators to see and talk with staff and receive their tickets as well. The advantage with this approach is that scale operators can be pooled in one facility and they would be better able to cover multiple sites from one location.  Read More… 

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