Our thanks and congratulations to the SWANA International Solid Waste Design Competition participants

April 12, 2021

swana international


SWANA recently announced the winners of the SWDC competition hosted by SWANA’s Young Professionals Group. The competition aims at providing design experience to students interested in pursuing an education or career in solid waste management. The outcome is that all participants are winners, gathering real-world experience to help solve complex solid waste management issues in a supportive environment.

Seven universities participated in the competition: Arizona State University, Wayne State University, University of Southern California, University of Vermont, the University of Texas at Arlington, University of British Columbia, and the National University of Engineering in Peru.

The GambiaThis year’s project challenged teams to find solutions for closing the Bakoteh Dumpsite and supporting changes to modern solid waste management in Kanifing, The Gambia. The dumpsite is one of the largest disposal facilities in The Gambia and the only one in the Kanifing Municipality.

“Our team of judges was impressed with how this group of student design teams engaged in understanding this solid waste challenge plaguing The Gambia,” Competition judge and SCS Engineers Project Manager, Chris Jimieson, says. “The students developed diverse designs that we believe will become part of the eventual solution of constructing The Gambia’s first engineered, sanitary landfill.”

The judging panel included John Welch, Director of the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables; Kaba Bah, Principal Manager at the Midwest GOOH Group in Madison, WI; Lamin Sanyang, Director of Services at Kanifing Municipal Council in The Gambia; and our own Chris Jimieson. The judges have a long association with the Bakoteh Dumpsite.

The SWANA Awards Ceremony features two guest speakers, including David Biderman, CEO and Executive Director of SWANA, and Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Lord Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality, The Gambia. Mayor Bensouda explains in the video how the Bakoteh Dumpsite became a significant problem for the growing community and the solutions they are using to fix it.


Chris Jimieson provides us with an update from his travels to The Gambia in Africa to evaluate their solid waste challenges.

bakoteh dumpsiteMany of you attended my presentation at the office in July 2019 following the Mayor’s visit. I have continued to stay in touch with our contacts in Kanifing, The Gambia. In February 2020, we presented the project at WIRMC to solid waste professionals across Wisconsin. During the pandemic, Lindsey Carlson and I participated in a series of weekend phone calls to stay engaged in understanding their solid waste challenges.  

In October 2020, I presented The Gambia situation as a design project to college students worldwide that wanted to compete in the SWANA YP’s International Solid Waste Design Competition. We asked them to provide a closure plan for the Bakoteh Dumpsite, provide a conceptual design for a new sanitary landfill, and share some cost estimates for each of these endeavors. Seven teams from across the Americas decided to compete. If you are interested, please browse through student design posters, reports, and presentations or contact me, Chris Jimieson.

Thanks to the SWANA YPs, my SCS colleagues, and so many who volunteered to help elevate this project to the international stage.










Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am