Volume 4, Issue 3
Topic: Upgrading Your MRF
Focus: Upgrading Your MRF: What to Consider
Before Starting the Process
Upgraded MRF Case Study
Many factors should be considered when determining if your MRF requires an upgrade. “What are our needs?” would be the first question in the process.
This article appeared in the July 2019 edition of Waste Advantage Magazine
Upgrading your MRF is serious business and requires a lot of planning and thought prior to beginning the actual process of the upgrade.
Where to Begin
The first thing needed to begin any facility upgrade is a full evaluation of the need for the upgrade. Why do you need to upgrade? Has the volume increased? Have the materials the facility receives changed drastically and sorting needs changed? Has the end user (who accepts your commodities) changed their requirements? Has there been a territory expansion? Has the condition of, or maintenance to, the existing equipment become too large of a portion of the budget? There are any number of things that can trigger the need for an upgrade; however, identifying the reason(s) should be the first step in upgrading your MRF.
Once the high-level project performance goals have been laid out and agreed upon, the appropriate professionals should be contacted to assist with the evaluation. Oftentimes it is helpful to have a thirdparty help determine your goals. There are several industry experts who can work to evaluate the waste stream, client requirements, permit needs, and develop the means and methods to go from the current status of your business to where you need to go during this growth or change period. These experts will help analyze your current material and equipment sorting approach and determine where you need to be in order to adjust to the business changes; once that is conceptually defined, the next step would be to determine what, if any, building changes would need to be made to accommodate the proposed changes. Let’s not get too far ahead though; let’s get back to what needs to be figured out early in the process.
Back to the Basics!
So, a consultant has been brought on board to help evaluate the waste stream and help plan the changes you require. There are some items that will need to be thought about when going through this process that will affect you before and during the process of the upgrade.
Is it Major or Minor?
Identifying the specific changes needed will help determine if a major or minor upgrade will be required. In some cases, minor upgrades can occur while you are still in operation and changes can be made during down time or with limited down time. These can consist of updating certain pieces of equipment, adding newer technology to the line such as an optical sorter, replacing a baler or many other things. Minor upgrades are easier to plan with minimal impact on the operations.
Southeastern Ocean County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA) operates a Transfer Station and MRF in Troy, MI that was not able to keep up with the increasing demands of the participating communities. Machinex and Cambridge were brought on to expand the MRF facility. This was a challenging project due to the land-locked limits of property space. Together, Cambridge & Machinex designed & built an expansion of the existing building, new tipping floor, and state-of- the-art automated recycling sorting machinery that can now handle 100 tons of materials per 8-hour shift. The facility successfully incorporated a learning center and larger breakroom / locker rooms for the added employees hired for the larger operations. A win-win-win project for all.
We may often think of ourselves and our co-workers as individuals who would perform the same work in any setting. We would always provide quality work and high levels of effort no matter where we are doing that work. Or will we? There is a growing and significant body of research that identifies five critical areas of office design and operation(s) that can have significant impacts on worker performance. The critical factors are: Lighting, Temperature, Furniture (Comfort), Noise, and Spatial Arrangements.
Lighting has been identified as a key component of employee productivity. The proper type of lighting in an office is crucial. If you’ve ever gotten a headache at work from straining your eyes due to poor lighting, you are not alone. According to the American Society of Interior Design, 68 percent of employees complain about the lighting in their offices. Office lighting should be one of the very first things taken into consideration during the office design phase. Proper office lighting can contribute to an employee’s health, attitude and productivity. It can also save money, so the company can focus on the continued well-being of its employees. Artificial, harsh lights don’t boost health and productivity. In fact, just the opposite. Artificial lighting refers to any forms of light that are not considered “natural light” – lamps, overhead light fixtures, etc. While some types of artificial lighting are beneficial, many offices use forms of artificial lighting that are either too harsh or too dim. Not only does natural light in the office help our eyesight but it also boosts mood, energy level, happiness, and promotes a general willingness to simply show up to work. One study cites that 75.8 percent of employees find natural light important to them, yet only 56.9 percent are satisfied with their current workplace arrangement. If the statistics aren’t enough to support the claim that natural light is best, it is also shown to diminish the effects of seasonal affective disorder. In addition, choosing natural light is inherently a less expensive company alternative. More lighting options in the office provide employees with a feeling of comfort and control over their surroundings. If an employee has the option to work in a pleasant environment, this comfort level will spill over into the quality of their work. If a company installs lights with dimmers on it, an employee can decide whether or not they prefer dimmer or brighter lighting, depending on personal preference and the project they are working on. This allows them to control how they want to work and in what environment.
Volume 4, Issue 2
Topic: Minimizing Impacts from Transfer Stations and MRF Operations
Focus: Minimizing Impacts
New Staff Biographies
At a waste facility, what can be done to be a good neighbor within the community you serve?
This article appeared in the May 2019 edition of Waste Advantage Magazine
Transfer stations and material recovery facilities (MRFs) serve important functions to the greater community. They serve as a means to more efficiently transport municipal solid waste (MSW) for disposal and recover materials for recycling to minimize what is sent to the landfill. From a high level, they exist as purely positive forces with important functions. Why then, are they relegated to the far corners of industrial parks or adjacent to closed landfills? This issue relates to the complexities of managing the potentially negative impacts these facilities can have on their neighbors and the community as a whole. By better understanding the impacts your facility can have on the larger community you can better address them or use education to build a greater understanding and appreciation for the realities of your business. The impacts can be grouped into several categories: Vectors, Odors and Dust, Wind-Blown Debris, Environmental Concerns, and Traffic.
Any facility that receives solid waste, single stream recyclables or source separated material has as issue with vectors in one way or another. Vectors as a term covers nuisance animals that can carry disease. For solid waste facilities, this mostly deals with mice, rats and birds. There are several operational best practices to help minimize these populations. For the mice and rats, keeping the floor clean is important. In addition, designing a facility with minimal space to create homes can help stop a colony from getting a foothold. As a best-practice, a local pest control company may be engaged to set up bait block stations to keep the population of these low. Birds, on the other hand, can pose a difficult challenge. The birds will often roost in the roof rafters, and their waste can become a large issue. There are several strategies that can be effective in dealing with this, depending on your building type and the type of bird you are attempting to discourage. Bird wire—a wire that is strung across tipping aprons and similar areas—discourages the birds from nesting in the areas it is strung. In addition, you can install bird netting on the inside of your building to keep the birds from roosting in your ceiling. Another approach that can be effective is using air noise makers to disturb the birds. You must take proactive action to keep these vectors under control, as their populations not only impact your facility, but your neighbors who will also pay the price if you do not address this.
Odors and Dust
The issue with odor and dust in transfer stations and MRFs can be greatly minimized through smart facility planning, operations and a few remediative approaches. When you are designing a facility, it is important to site the primary tipping bay doors away from the prevailing winds. In addition, high-speed doors can be installed on all exterior doors.
This Transfer Station was oriented on this site to have the unloading doors facing south. This positions them away from the sight-line of all adjacent odors. Having the rear of the building near the entrance also allows for a preferred traffic pattern and, aesthetically, leaves a fairly attractive wall visible to traffic. Also, the building will blend into the surroundings, helping to keep attention away from the facility. Visit this project on our website for more information!
Jennifer Pucher, Human Resource Manager
Jen began working for Cambridge in May 2019. She has degrees in psychology from Joliet Junior College and DePaul University; she earned her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health at Lewis University and is licensed in school counseling. She is also a Society of HR Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Recent positions Jen has held include Assistant Controller, Office & Facilities Manager, and HR Project Manager.
Her experience includes writing policies and procedures, updating employee handbooks, creating onboarding and ambassador programs, recruiting, and establishing a disability…
Click here to read more about Jennifer!
Monica Farrell, National Business Development Manager
Monica started as the National Business Development Manager in June 2019 and is based in the Scottsdale, AZ office. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing at the University of Phoenix and her Certified Business Developer designation (CBD) from Arizona State University in 2017. Monica has been working in Business Development/Sales for 20 years with a focus on the Construction Industry for the last five years. Monica’s experience includes growing brand awareness; developing strategic plans and implementing strategies with existing and potential clients; working with various departments to prepare statements of qualifications, proposals and submittals; tracking and reporting opportunities within the sales pipeline; developing and giving presentations and leading efforts with social media; building relationships with key current and potential partners including customers, architects, subcontractors, engineers, community leaders, economic developers and owner representatives.
Some of Monica’s responsibilities at Cambridge include growing Cambridge contracts for solid waste facility design/build projects across the greater 48 states; …
Click here to read more about Monica!
Christopher Beezhold, Intern
Chris Beezhold joined the Cambridge team in May 2019 as a CPM intern for the summer. He is entering his sophomore year at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. Chris is majoring in construction management and is heavily involved with his fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) at Purdue where he holds the position of maintenance manager. Additionally, He leads a weekly cell group, and he participates in several intramural sports. He is also involved in the Purdue Water Skiing Club.
Before joining Cambridge’s team, Chris obtained field experience in the residential sector of construction working for his family’s business. His field experience includes building and remodeling homes, barns, garages and a church, land developing, …
Click here to read more about Christopher!
Tyler Harakal, Intern
Tyler joined the Cambridge team in May 2019 as a CPM intern for the summer. He is entering his senior year at Purdue University in Lafayette, IN. Tyler is a part of the Purdue Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) student organization to assist in networking and engaging in discussions with contractors who are ABC members.
Before coming onto the Cambridge team, Tyler learned how to work in the field as an associate for an electrical subcontractor. He performed the duties of an apprentice …
Click here to read more about Tyler!
Volume 4, Issue 1
Focus: CNG Conversion at Existing Facilities,
New Staff Biographies
Safety, code compliance and cost effectiveness should all be central considerations when upgrading a facility.
This article appeared in the February 2019 edition of Waste Advantage Magazine
Converting a fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG) can make a lot of sense to reduce fuel costs. Typical considerations toward making this decision include the cost of the new vehicles as well as the fueling infrastructure. An often-overlooked component, that is essential for a fleet CNG conversion, is the cost to modify the existing shop facility to ensure those new vehicles can be serviced in a safe and code compliant environment. It is essential to understand the activities that occur in the shop as they have a direct impact on the CNG retrofit building modifications.
Existing Shop Typical Improvements
As the existing shop is assessed, the first question should be about what might be required for it to be CNG compliant. While a qualified engineer or specialty consultant should be engaged to perform the detailed analysis and scoping, there are several elements that will likely need to be provided, as well as several items to avoid.
The existing ventilation system will likely need to be upgraded to afford more air changes per hour. The shop (if it is heated) is likely heated with a gas-fired unit or radiant tube heaters. These are typically not compatible with a CNG shop and will need replacement.
The height of the shop has a direct impact on the ventilation requirements. If the shop is shorter than 20′-0″, it may not be entirely viable for a CNG retrofit.
It is likely that the existing facility does not have a gas detection system. One may be required by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).
The walls that separate the shop from the administration offices will be required to be two-hour rated for a CNG Shop. If the current walls are not rated, upgrading these can be costly and disruptive to operations.
Look up at the ceiling and down at the floor. If there is any wiring or conduit in the areas within 18″ of the roof or the floor, it will need to be upgraded to Class 1, Division 2 rated.
This is not an exhaustive list of where all changes need to be made, but it is meant to help illustrate how the CNG retrofit work can impact many different areas of the shop. With a better understanding of areas where upgrades will likely be necessary, the next step will be to work with a consultant to perform a detailed analysis of the facility to better define which of the potential upgrades the facility will need to begin servicing CNG vehicles.
Existing Shop Classification
The assembled team should start the shop conversion analysis with a detailed review of the existing shop and what activities are performed there. The goal will be to determine whether the facility will be classified as a Minor Repair Shop or Major Repair Shop The terms ‘Minor Repair Shop’ and ‘Major Repair Shop’ are designations in the code that determine the standards the shop needs to meet, depending on the work that will be performed there:
- Minor Repair Shop: This includes service activities that do not impact the fuel system or generate heat in excess of 750° F (welding, grinding, etc.). It does include brake repairs, tire work and PM activities.
- Major Repair Shop: These include areas where there will be welding, vehicle body work or engine overhauls. Fuel system work may also be performed here.
Our client needed a new facility with a CNG compliant shop to meet local contract requirements. The new facility has (6) maintenance bays, (1) lube equipment & storage bay, (1) wash bay and an office area to accommodate all the drivers, training, locker rooms and operations team. It also has a second floor for storage and future expansion.
Lisa Redmond, Project Coordinator
Lisa began working for Cambridge in January 2019. She attended South Suburban College for her Construction Management & Technology Certificate. Lisa’s experience includes management of rental properties; monitoring profitability on all properties; invoicing and collection; executing necessary accounting functions; organizing and managing monthly budgets; …
Click here to read more about Scott!
Zerina Vila, Assistant Project Manager
Zerina started with Cambridge Companies in March 2019. She has worked as a Project Coordinator, Construction Administrator, and Office Manager. Zerina’s experience includes being the interface between the engineering and design teams; attending client meetings; preparing scopes of work; proposing creative solutions to resolve conflicts to best serve client’s needs; …
Click here to read more about Bob!