Cambridge Companies contributes and participates in design and construction related articles within the waste industry.

View articles, press releases, and advertisements from 2017 below.

Experience Cambridge

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.

Prevention
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… 

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TOPIC

  • Waste Facilities
  • Odor Control
  • Prevention &
    Reduction

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Experience Cambridge

Best Practices: Tipping Floors
Waste Advantage Magazine│ November 2017

The Global Development Research Corporation (www.gdrc.org) 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.

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TOPIC

  • Transfer Station
  • Tipping Floors
  • Best Practices

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Testimonials

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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TOPIC

  • Transfer Station
  • Technology

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Experience Cambridge

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… 

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TOPIC

  • Project Planning
  • Design
  • Construction

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Experience Cambridge

Pulling it all Together

Waste Today│ April 6, 2017

A question that often arises at the beginning of a material recovery facility (MRF) retool or transfer station project is “What are the key factors to kicking off a project in the correct manner to maximize the productivity of your team and the entire project over the coming weeks and months?”

Many factors contribute to a successful project from the request for proposal (RFP) process through the construction team involvement, ensuring communication is continual throughout the project.

The RFP
I’ll quickly touch on the RFP process without getting into the work that takes place prior to the issuance of the RFP but only what takes place after the RFP is distributed.

The RFP can be distributed in a variety of ways: 1) to design/builders, 2) to equipment suppliers or 3) sometimes a hybrid is used where an RFP for the building modifications is issued separately from the equipment RFP.

This article discusses a project where the RFP went directly to the equipment supplier, which was then responsible for finding a design/build contractor or general contractor and design team to assist in developing the pricing and other information required in the RFP. In such a case, the equipment supplier would generate the formal response to the RFP and would answer any questions that arise from the owner.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to issue an RFP for a project; it really depends on individual needs.

Once the RFP is issued and the selection process is completed, the contract is signed and the work on the proposed project begins.

In this example, the equipment supplier is holding the master contract with the owner and a subcontract with the design/builder. With this scenario, all communication with the owner (whether it is a private or public project) needs to flow through the equipment supplier as the entity that holds the master contract. This is key to the process, as the equipment supplier ultimately is responsible for staying within the project scope and budget as well as for ensuring the design remains consistent with the RFP response. If this happens, the risks on the construction side are lessened.

In this RFP scenario, the design/builder or general contractor is being asked to provide a budget for the project during the RFP process. This is important to note because it is early in the overall process. The design/builder or general contractor is going to be asked to hold to this budget until the project is completed.

This direction needs to be provided during the RFP process because many external factors that affect the construction budget need to be built into the budget early on. These include permit fees, material cost escalations, labor cost escalations, etc. From the time an RFP is launched and responded to to when a contract is in place likely will be around a year or more.

Inherent risks must be factored into budgets to cover a calendar year. It is also important that the contractor supply a complete scope of work and list of inclusions/exclusions as part of the budget for the equipment supplier to include in its response. This will help the owner to better understand the scope of work included in the proposal.

The kick-off
Now that the RFP is complete and the supplier, design team and contractor are under contract, it is time to bring the entire team together. I would recommend a kick-off meeting at the project site with all involved stakeholders attending the walk-through. The goal of this meeting to is close any gaps on the scope and to discuss the steps moving forward.

Everyone needs to understand visually what is included in the project, how it will impact operations and what shut down may be required. It also allows everyone the opportunity to put a face to the names for all parties involved, including the contractor, equipment supplier and owner. This is very important when building a relationship among all parties and assists with communication going forward. It also helps to assemble and distribute a project organization chart identifying all persons involved and their role in the project.

As with all meetings, the items discussed at the site visit should be documented and issued to the team after the meeting is concluded. This is important for all meetings that take place throughout the project. Documentation shouldn’t be limited to meeting minutes; any scope or schedule changes need to be clearly identified, and a budget update/change order needs to be developed immediately to allow the owner a chance to review it and ask for changes, decline it or accept it. All additional items that need to be tracked should be added to a project “tickler” list for the project manager to stay on top of. This list would then be discussed on the regular project calls.

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.

Read More… 

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TOPIC

  • Project Planning
  • RFP
  • Teams
  • Communication

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Experience Cambridge

Transfer Station Design Considerations

MSW Management │ Whitepaper │ April 2017

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TOPIC

  • Project Planning
  • Design
  • Construction

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Experience Cambridge

Facility Planning & Design: Emergency Response

Waste Advantage Magazine│ February 2017

There are a multitude of reasons why a waste collection and disposal company may need a new facility. Fire. Flood. Growth. Eminent Domain. Bad Neighbors. Consolidation. Some situations allow for plenty of time to plan while others require a quick reaction to the situation. While the preferred method is to take the necessary time to plan, sometimes companies encounter times when they have to react. One of the most common reasons for emergency response in the waste industry is fire. I have seen reports that the waste industry alone has around 40 fires per month throughout North America.1 In these situations, the best solution to the problem needs to be created in as little time as possible, for the most reasonable price, which will allow operations to continue with little or no downtime. No matter the type of facility, the proper steps need to be taken to evaluate its current state. The first step in the process is to contact the insurance company to make sure that they know an event occurred and can schedule an adjuster to come out to the facility.  Depending on what caused the event, the second step may be to bring in the proper authorities to file a report. Also, the cause of the event will need to be determined.  If it was an operational issue, internal processes may need to be evaluated and adjusted to help prevent emergency situations in the future. Now let us focus on the building and planning pieces of an emergency response. This article will only focus on these parts and won’t touch on the insurance, people or other issues that will also need to be handled.  Read More… 

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TOPIC

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Emergency Response

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Experience Cambridge

Facility Planning & Design: Emergency Response

Waste Advantage Magazine│ February 2017

There are a multitude of reasons why a waste collection and disposal company may need a new facility. Fire. Flood. Growth. Eminent Domain. Bad Neighbors. Consolidation. Some situations allow for plenty of time to plan while others require a quick reaction to the situation. While the preferred method is to take the necessary time to plan, sometimes companies encounter times when they have to react. One of the most common reasons for emergency response in the waste industry is fire. I have seen reports that the waste industry alone has around 40 fires per month throughout North America.1 In these situations, the best solution to the problem needs to be created in as little time as possible, for the most reasonable price, which will allow operations to continue with little or no downtime. No matter the type of facility, the proper steps need to be taken to evaluate its current state. The first step in the process is to contact the insurance company to make sure that they know an event occurred and can schedule an adjuster to come out to the facility.  Depending on what caused the event, the second step may be to bring in the proper authorities to file a report. Also, the cause of the event will need to be determined.  If it was an operational issue, internal processes may need to be evaluated and adjusted to help prevent emergency situations in the future. Now let us focus on the building and planning pieces of an emergency response. This article will only focus on these parts and won’t touch on the insurance, people or other issues that will also need to be handled.  Read More… 

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TOPIC

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Emergency Response

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