drone technology

SCS Webinar: Using Drones for Operational Efficiency at Landfills, on Pipelines and Infrastructure

March 23, 2021

 Free Webinar

Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with sensors capture a multitude of readings in a single swoop, monitoring and observing locations difficult to access on foot or by vehicle. The combination of UAV-mounted technologies produces photogrammetric and aerial photographic imagery, offering the ability to take measurements from photographs. This technology enables large-scale assessments providing a comprehensive view of a landfill’s overall health.

Mitigation is faster using collected geotagged data, which enables identifying potential problematic areas such as leachate collection headers, landfill gas headers, flares, wellheads, tanks, pipelines, equipment, even buildings. You can zero in on hot spots, unidentified tanks, or terrain that could be causing runoff problems reducing the time normally spent to locate, diagnose, and mitigate.

The same technology also helps energy firms, contractors, and other businesses inspect and monitor long horizontal projects, such as power lines and pipelines, or tall vertical structures, such as bridges and high rises. Performing autonomous flights over time provides historical data assessment and visualization of work’s progress, location of workers and equipment, and assessing and documenting weather or other impacts.

SCS Engineers’ March webinar is now online! Learn more about drone-mounted technology and how to achieve the most benefit. This webinar will help you develop capabilities to assess technology’s potential for addressing operational issues now and in the future. This is a free, live webinar with Q&A – open to solid waste, landfill, landfill gas professionals, contractors, municipalities, and the energy sector.

 

 

 

Our panelists bring comprehensive expertise to the discussion, including solid waste expertise and landfill management; a licensed pilot − flying and assessing over 120 landfills, pipelines, and other infrastructure; Remote Monitoring and Control (RMC) systems including Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), air quality compliance and pollutant dispersion and air measurement programs. The team answers questions throughout the presentation, and the second portion of the program is devoted to Q&A and idea exchange.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

Free Webinar – Using Drones for Operational Efficiency at Landfills, on Pipelines and Infrastructure

March 18, 2021

 

Today, UAVs come mounted with various software that detects gas leaks, captures and maps progress, detects corrosion, and has many other uses. Mitigation is faster using collected geotagged data, which enables identifying potential problem areas such as leachate collection headers, landfill gas headers, flares, wellheads, tanks, pipelines, equipment, even buildings. You can zero in on hot spots, unidentified tanks, or terrain that could be causing runoff problems reducing the time normally spent to locate, diagnose, and mitigate. We’ll focus on the technologies and uses that bring the most value and benefits with plenty of time for questions.

This educational and non-commercial webinar and Q&A forum are free and open to all who want to learn more about UAV use as a diagnostic and monitoring tool.

 

Using Drones for Operational Efficiency at Landfills, on Pipelines and Infrastructure

 

DATE: Tuesday, March 23, 2021

TIME: 2 p.m. ET, 1 CT, Noon MT, 11 PT

 

Click to Register

You will receive an email with your private link to attend. Do not share this link.

 

Our panelists bring comprehensive expertise to the discussion, including solid waste expertise and landfill management; a licensed pilot − flying and assessing over 120 landfills, pipelines, and other infrastructure; Remote Monitoring and Control (RMC) systems including Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), air quality compliance and pollutant dispersion and air measurement programs. The team answers questions throughout the presentation, and the second portion of the program is devoted to Q&A and idea exchange.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

What Makes Landfill Technology Work Better? People

March 1, 2021

landfill technology
To meet all the people behind SCS Technology, we’d need to introduce every SCSer from President and CEO Jim Walsh to field service technicians. Instead, meet Oliver, Melissa, and Dave.

 

Our industry is in a period of a rapid transition to digital data management, but particularly on landfills. Often you read that the latest technology, whether by a brilliant programmer or rolling out as part of a takeover, is innovative. Linking technology and innovation is becoming commonplace, but they are not the same. Innovation is a human process requiring experimentation and iteration to solve landfill issues that often have nothing to do with computers or mobile phones. Landfill technology or apps are tools.

Innovation takes a team of diverse expertise, different perspectives with a constant desire to learn, and most importantly, the primary desire to make landfill operations more efficient and safe. Innovators use technology when and how it makes sense to improve environmental management, profitability, and care for employees and the local community. Lower cost solutions for the vast amount of data collection completed faster and without human error come from people with hands-on in-the-field experience. When it comes to landfill technology, its value is clear when a landfill practitioner demonstrates how the particular technology fits into a solution. The nice part is they also get to the point and skip the tech-speak and jargon.

 

The Landfill Technology Evolution Started Here in 2003

Back in 2003, SCS couldn’t find technology that would enable our engineers and technicians to support landfill operations as we desired. Proving the proverb “necessity is the mother of invention,” we developed a database for our use. Its value in the field was immediate, and SCS continued to adapt and develop SCS DataServices® and SCS MobileTools®, basing refinements on each landfill and client need. It took people in the waste industry to make the right technology tools for the industry.

Oliver Early

Meet Oliver Early, SCS’s DataServices and MobileTools Product Manager. Oliver started his career managing landfill operations. He became interested in technology because it got results for him as a landfill manager of 15 facilities. By combining a comprehensive investigation of physical landfill systems, such as landfill gas collection and control and other environmental monitoring and control systems with evaluations of compliance areas, he improved his landfill system performance and substantially increased power plant production. He used multivariate data techniques, including time series and network analysis, to scrutinize and refine results. Merging DataServices capabilities under Oliver’s guidance took SCS’s original internal database to a timesaving product for all landfills, not just the landfills SCS operates.

The platform, called SCS eTools®, includes modules for leachate, groundwater, DataServices, and the newest application SCS MobileTools, free for those using DataServices. The technology is currently in use on over 630 landfills nationwide and benefits all of SCS’s design, build, and operations work.

For example, if methane readings at a gas probe are elevated, that’s an indication of a potential LFG migration issue. While expertise is great – it could take hours to diagnose and mitigate. With DataServices, you could run an evaluation of the existing well field in a few minutes, ruling out issues with current wells. With the touch of a button, you can share the information with your team and focus on potential mitigation recommendations.

 

Remote Monitoring and Control Technology Didn’t Happen Overnight Either

The best and most innovative solutions come from combining the stakeholders’ experiences and thoughts. Let’s meet a few of the people who lead other landfill innovations.

Melissa Russo

In addition to being a licensed drone pilot herself, flying over 100 landfills, Business Manager Melissa Russo uses SCS Remote Monitoring and Control (RMC) technology to support her landfill clients. Her contributions increase safety and lower environmental risk using unmanned aerial vehicles to gather field data at a lower cost. Melissa developed SCS’s national drone and geographic information systems (GIS) programs to respond to her clients’ needs for expensive regulatory and operating challenges. As a result, capturing more (methane) greenhouse gas instead of releasing it into the atmosphere provides the obvious environmental benefits, and landfill personnel have better and safer working conditions.

Depending on the sensor or camera attached, her pilots can monitor methane concentrations using a tunable diode laser, measure and map surface temperatures to mitigate elevated temperature conditions, or create topography, aerial imagery, and estimate filling volumes. Operators can view, detect and measure changes over time, gaining insight into critical infrastructures such as water infiltration, liquid flow, and vegetation distributions. Melissa’s use of GIS provides a low-cost solution to data management and sharing between field and office.

Melissa is an innovator who genuinely cares about our industry, taking the time to listen and truly understand her clients’ challenges and long-term goals. Only then does she devise customized solutions, regardless of whether it uses technology or not. See Melissa at work.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is Bang for Your Buck

Dave Hostetter

SCS RMC’s Business Manager is David Hostetter. His experience includes remote monitoring and controls systems engineering, construction, and operation; landfill gas and leachate engineering; and mechanical engineering. Dave’s focus is on automating remote process control of landfill systems, landfill gas blower/flare stations, wellfield vacuum and flow, along with leachate and groundwater pumping systems, weather equipment, and air monitors.

As a landfill gas engineer, his impetus was to avoid production downtime and keep operations within regulatory mandates. He wanted his clients to see what was happening at any given time and be alerted to atypical conditions. As a landfill engineer, he knows that “prevention is better than cure,” as long as it’s cost-effective. Dave’s solution is to leverage the Internet of Things through SCS RMC systems. Each piece of equipment you want to monitor gets a sensor. His team configures each sensor or group of sensors to parameters based on his operator’s business needs and environmental reporting responsibilities. A local wireless network communicates with a base station providing continuous readings from each sensor.

RMC sends alerts if readings are outside an acceptable range or if an environmental threshold is nearing exceedance. Alerts go to the landfill’s designated staff or technicians via smartphones, computers, or tablets. From these devices, users access their interface to control, start, stop, and reset field systems and analyze system operation. They can also view data, graphs, tables, alarms, and reports.

That’s more than convenience; it saves labor dollars spent to diagnose and reset these systems and is especially valuable for remote landfills. By design, clients can enable custom authorization levels for their systems. Naturally, the analytical tools are easy to use, understand, and report, as he explains in his video.

 

Albert Einstein Said…

“You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.” We’re not comparing ourselves to Einstein, but all three SCSers leading their teams know that compliance policy never stops changing, and landfills are unique beasts made up of complex systems that need balance to perform. Performance is based on daily decisions and landfill readings generating enormous amounts of data. SCS’s job is to make your job better by collecting those millions of data bits for analysis faster, helping landfill operators use the intelligence to identify the cause and appropriate response to hundreds of issues that are part of landfill or facility management.

The backbone of every service at SCS Engineers is to design and develop based on our clients’ specific needs. As innovators, our mission is to leverage proven technology to meet those needs. As our founders did, we strive to understand our clients’ current and future needs, then develop or integrate the appropriate technology to meet those needs.

SCS is one of the most experienced and successful environmental compliance, design-build, operations, and maintenance firms in the United States. No stand-alone technology company can substitute for our knowledge and hands-on experience with innovative landfill design, build, and operations.

 

Visit SCS Engineers to discover SCS eTools and SCS RMC capabilities. You’ll find case studies, technology awards, and more resources for using technology to manage labor, liquids, air monitoring, groundwater, volume, GHGs, and more

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Getting Your Landfill Drone Program Off the Ground and New SCS RMC Technology

June 6, 2019

Do you glaze over when the tech-speak starts? In our blog, we’ll try to prevent that from happening while describing new technology for landfills and industrial use. We’ve merged our SCS Engineers technology with some new web-based technology that will make your landfill, facility, or plant safer for workers and help lower operational costs. Not only that, with SCS Dataservices® (already on over 600 landfills) you will have a complete and accurate record at your disposal.

You can find information on our website, but here we describe the most exciting new Remote Monitoring and Control (RMC) options:

No-Crew Aerial Vehicle, or Drone Technology

SCS owns a small fleet of no-crew aerial vehicles (UAVs) and employs licensed UAV pilots nationwide. The use of UAV technology, commonly known as drones, can produce photogrammic and aerial photographic imagery offering site owners and operators the ability to take measurements from photographs, especially useful for recovering the exact positions of surface points quickly and efficiently. Some of the benefits of UAVs are:

  • Real-time, more accurate air samples help determine greenhouse gas emissions;
  • High-quality orthomosaic maps, digital terrain models, waste volumetrics;
  • Surveys and inspections are much faster than when using a land vehicle;
  • Labor costs can be lower, especially when regular site inspections are required over a large and hard to navigate areas;
  • Using drones instead of human labor to provide images of dangerous or difficult to navigate sites is safer.

SCS deploys UAV technology on a case-by-case basis as an adjunct to our RMC® services. We also offer to consult and training on the implementation of UAV programs at solid waste and other facilities.

Augmented Reality Technology

SCS can also present real-time data in mixed reality environments (e.g., Microsoft HoloLens2). Augmented 3D facilitates the difficult task of visualizing actual and conceptual site conditions. Another application of reality technology includes analyzing landfills in more than three dimensions by combining multiple datasets. These 4D models enable operators to view conditions over time, providing the ability to detect and measure changes and insight into the benefits of critical infrastructure such as earthworks and systems. One could add costs as a 5th dimension to visualize the resources, time and money needed to move solid materials.

Mobile Control of Industrial Processes

Shown here are the landfill flare controls.

The SCS RMC® team integrates web-based technology called Ignition 8 into our client solutions. An Inductive Automation product, Ignition 8 enables us to build dynamic industrial applications that automatically respond to each client’s unique perspective.

Ignition Perspective enables us to build full SCADA, HMI, and alarm systems, and provide clients with a mobile view of their operations via smartphones and other mobile devices. Full-control of industrial processes is more mobile, customizable, scalable, and secure than ever before. For example, one of our clients uses advanced SCS RMC® – Ignition Perspective HTML 5 integration for remote access and control of piping and instrumentation diagrams that stream live sensor data. The application reduces O&M costs by:

  • Proactively avoiding systematic and equipment issues by receiving instant notifications;
  • Less onsite callouts with the ability to remotely troubleshoot the system;
  • Automatic reporting;
  • Data storage in a secure, cloud-based environment;
  • Providing high-clarity data visualization.

 

 

Read Waste Today’s article Using Drones for Landfill Monitoring to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Optimizing Landfill Operations with Drone Technology

April 29, 2019

The days of laying out ground control points and spending hours in front of a computer processing data have come and gone. Phil Carrillo of SCS Engineers and others discuss how to get a drone program started that will add real value to your landfill operations, and provide a good return on investment.

In addition to the expert tips, the article provides links to information and resources important to planning a program. Here are a few tips from the experts:

  • Decide which area, or areas, you’re most interested in using a drone for such as methane monitoring or land surveying. This helps determine which equipment and software you need.
  • Obtain the right certifications such as a Remote Pilot Certificate from the
    Federal Aviation Administration, which requires applicants to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge exam and license renewal every two years.
  • Choose a drone that works well for your operations, considering its use, the size of your landfill and your budget. RTK and PPK drones come with GPS correction technology, minimizing the need for placing control points beforehand.
  • Multirotors are optimal for most landfills less than 500 acres, while fixed-wings offer more battery life for larger landfills.
  • The camera resolution is important when using drones for mapping, and the actual drone size and stability are factors if you plan to add extra sensors.
  • An updated computer may also be needed to process the data, depending on the software you choose.
  • Software is chosen based on your existing equipment, knowledge of analytics and customer service requirements. Cloud-computing software eliminates the need for major computer upgrades and programs are available that offer analyses functionality.
  • Cities have airspace regulations; be sure you remain within legal parameters.
  • Plan for human-made and natural conditions. Drones don’t like rain, and gusts over 15 mph can knock them off course. Drones and obstacles such as power lines or curious birds can be avoided with a plan.

Still sound daunting? It’s not for the professionals at SCS Engineers. Read the article on our website; we encourage sharing it with others too.

Contact us at

More landfill technology resources are here

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:07 am