As reported in the July 29, 2020, digital news by Environmental Business International
Electronic waste represents billions in lost value
A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21% in five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020. Only 17.4% of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled, meaning gold, silver, copper, platinum and other recoverable materials conservatively valued at $57 billion were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse. The report predicts global e-waste will reach 74 Mt by 2030, making e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream. Global E-waste Statistics Partnership is a collaboration between UN University, International Telecommunication Union, International Solid Waste Assn. and the UN Environment Programme.
What can consumers do to help protect human health and the environment?
We can’t simply toss phones and electronics into our trash or recycling bins at home. To protect our health, water resources, and our communities we can reuse many of our devices and electronics. Try these; the links help you find local resources.
Discarded products with a battery or plug such as computers and mobile phones are electronic waste or (e-waste). Toxic and hazardous substances such as mercury, brominated flame retardants (BFR), or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are found in many types of electronic equipment and pose a severe risk to human health and the environment if not handled in an environmentally sound manner.
While most electronics are not designed or assembled with recycling in mind, separate collection and recycling of e-waste can be economically viable for products containing high concentrations and contents of precious metals. Cell phones and computers contain base materials such as gold.
Recycling programs are often confronted with the costs of recycling vs material recovery markets, and because the recovery of some materials is especially challenging. Within the paradigm of a circular economy, the mining of e-waste can be considered an important source of secondary raw materials.
Thanks for helping us keep our communities safer!
For community recycling and reuse program development visit our Sustainable Materials Management website.
The Pros and Cons of FAST-41
Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4370m et seq., commonly known as the FAST-41 program, provides a set of tools to help coordinate the environmental processing and approval of most major infrastructure projects.
While not perfect, even presenting certain disadvantages at times, it is worthy of study. FAST-41 can lead to a variety of benefits, including a more predictable permitting path, increased accountability and coordination among federal agencies, and certain legal protections.
In the end, any potential FAST-41 project applicant should spend the time and resources to weigh the pros and cons of obtaining FAST-41 coverage. That coverage may help achieve the often-elusive goal of corralling disparate agencies and timelines for essential infrastructure projects, all without compromising the depth and integrity of the NEPA process.
About the Co-Authors: Nathan Eady is a vice president/project director, and land-use planner for SCS Engineers. He provides both technical and managerial support for various environmental, regulatory, and land-use projects. He is also SCS’s National Oil and Gas Expert and an expert in the safe permitting of plants and facilities. Mr. Kane, P.E., J.D. is president of P3 Collaborative LLC; Mr. Marsh is a Partner at Downey Brand LLP; Mr. Veasy is a senior associate at Downey Brand LLP.
That’s Bill Lape in a word. Bill is a Certified Industrial Refrigeration Operator, a Certified Refrigeration Service Technician, and a member of the National Board of Directors of the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association – RETA. He is also a certified Process Safety Management Professional through the University of Wisconsin.
PSM SAFETY & COMPLIANCE CONSIDERATIONS IN THE AGE OF PANDEMICS PSM safety programs and training remain a top priority during the pandemic. While online training is not a complete substitute for live, face-to-face PSM training and instruction, in the age of pandemics, it is a viable option. What to look for in PSM – ammonia refrigeration system safety training?
EPIC FAIL: ICE BUILD UP When developing your inspections for your system’s mechanical integrity program, always be mindful of the potential consequences of ice buildup, particularly if it continues for an extended period of time.
SCS Engineers is known for sharing best practices, and now we’re expanding our video library online in the SCS Learning Center. Our first video is for Solid Waste Managers and Departments struggling to keep their programs funded, especially recycling.
Strategic Planning for Financial Security is an educational video providing insight into the relationship between solid waste strategic planning and financial security. Less than 30-minutes and available for association events with Q&A.
The video discusses strategies that are useful when developing a business case analysis for SMM, recycling, or composting programs. The process also helps you identify opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs; design a Capital Plan and secure support for rate increases.
Vita Quinn presents a financial modeling scenario employing financial modeling and solid waste facility software packages to help decision-makers visualize the impact of various alternatives on the planning process. The model is helpful when planning scenarios for budgeting and testing alternative outcomes regarding future solid waste policies, strategies, and funding.
The model is especially useful for cost-benefit analysis of alternatives, fine-tuning strategies as more detailed information and data become available, or when revenue streams or funding levels change following natural disasters, pandemics, market swings, or economic downturns.
SCS Management Services® offers financial sustainability with preventative solutions and long-term financial management plans to public agencies facing environmental and market challenges, shifting regulations, and those aiming for new clean energy goals. Utilities and public-sector organizations provide life-sustaining services to their citizens and communities; providing these services while managing budget constraints; reporting, compliance, and operational challenges; and maintaining affordable rates. We support agencies and companies responsible for managing solid waste, stormwater, wastewater, brownfields-remediation, and energy programs that require integrated skill-sets and financial sustainability for optimal value.
Being a landfill operator or owner is a demanding job. Your position requires knowledge of engineering, biology, chemistry, business, technology, and psychology. Most people don’t realize the complexity of landfill operations and the systems, personnel, and equipment that keep everything in balance. That’s okay; it’s part of the job too. The public generates trash, and it is picked up, reused, recycled, or landfilled as communities dictate.
Right now, landfill operations are more challenging than ever – so we’re providing a bit of help from our SCS website library. We hope it helps, but you can always reach out to your project manager for additional assistance.
Strategies for EPA Regulation Limbo
Landfill owners and operators remain in a state of regulatory limbo. Some sites are complying with the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) under Subpart XXX and dealing with the duplicate requirements from Subpart WWW and other issues. Several states have approved Subpart Cf Emission Guidelines (EG) rules, so landfills in those states must begin to comply with those state rules. Several other states have proposed state plan approvals and could see approved EG rules issued soon, as in Virginia. When EPA issues the federal plan for the EG, all of the remaining landfills in states without approved state plans will have to start to comply. This will put all NSPS/EG-applicable landfills into the same boat with the existing Subpart XXX sites. In addition, landfills are figuring out how the new National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) rule overlays on top of the NSPS/EG requirements.
During this period of limbo, where multiple overlapping regulations exist, certain public and private landfill owners within the solid waste industry have endeavored to take a unified and consistent stand on compliance strategies with guidance coming from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the National Waste and Recycling Association (NW&RA). Gabrielle Stephens, Cassandra B. Drotman, and Patrick Sullivan of SCS provide a regulatory update and compliance strategies in their paper Uncertainty EPA has Created with New NSPS XXX and Cf Rules
Staff Shortages and Funding Dilemmas
Many of our clients are in their annual budget period. Needless to say, nearly all municipalities have concerns about the upcoming fiscal year expectations and anticipated medium-term impacts of COVID-19 on local government operations and revenue streams. They have shared goals to:
In response, our team of economists is helping our clients prepare for Fiscal Year 2020/2021, with a Micro-analysis for the near-term (1-2 year) budget/operational impacts. It’s free, and you’ll get results in 2-3 days.
SCS is offering free webinars to discuss revenue diversification alternatives, realistic cost projections, and funding opportunities. We will announce the first webinar in the next week, but if you’d like to get started now contact the SCS Management Services® Lead here for a private session.
San Bernardino County’s almost 500-acre San Timoteo landfill upgraded with gas monitoring and controls that manage its four blowers, flare station, pumps, valves, thermocouples, and other devices. There are 340 tags, 16 screens and more than 50 alarms monitored and managed by web-based SCADA software. Simpler, streamlined SCADA is more capable and closely connected, and less costly for landfill gas monitoring and control.
San Timoteo added options such as 3D imaging from flying drones and augmented reality (AR) displays. After flying the site, the imagery is uploaded to update its map and create point-cloud graphics. Aerial data is used to create topographic mapping, 2D images, 3D renderings, and GIS, thermal and tunable diode laser (TDL) images for methane leak detection.
Landfill operators and managers can remotely view the site using a mobile device, and “walk the site” from their offices or anywhere using the HoloLens.
Now nearly all landfills can afford to gather data with Ethernet and wireless networking, analyze data with sophisticated software, and display it on ubiquitous interfaces including tablet PCs and smartphones. The trick is applying the technologies in applications that enable more effective decisions.
Navigating the Permitting Process for CCR Impoundment Closures and Groundwater Monitoring Systems
Join us on Monday, July 27 from noon to 2 p.m. CDT to learn how SCS Engineers helps electric utilities overcome permitting obstacles at CCR impoundments and landfills. We offer the service nationwide.
Using case studies, we’ll highlight the permitting process and the keys to how electric utilities overcame obstacles to achieve the results they needed.
What you can expect to learn?
Registration and USWAG conference information here. This year’s event is a series of webinars USWAG is offering at no additional charge for members and affiliates.
SCS Engineers launched a successful new program enabling waste managers and facilities to pilot test Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting before making a capital investment. There is a high interest in organic materials management (e.g., composting, anaerobic digestion), driven by state and local regulations for diversion of organics from disposal facilities and the desire to reduce carbon emissions.
The organic fraction of any waste stream is successfully compostable, including materials, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, food processing by-products, and biosolids. The organic fraction of the municipal waste stream, which includes food scraps, is about 30 percent by weight, so it is possible to divert a significant amount from landfilling. SCS helps waste managers evaluate their organic waste streams and whether composting is a viable solution for their circumstances. ASP composting is often the preferred method because it is fast, cost-efficient, and controls odors and emissions effectively.
SCS owns a covered ASP compost system that is mobile and can be set-up on sites within an area of 50 feet by 100 feet, or less. In the covered ASP compost system, process and odor control is pro-active with a shorter composting period. A pilot test allows waste managers to assess composting and to see if it is the right fit for their situation. The ASP system processes material batches in two months. Additional batches or “recipes” can test in 2-month intervals.
SCS’ services include the setup and operation of the mobile ASP system. The system can compost up to 50 tons of targeted material per batch. SCS provides all equipment and consulting services, along with the test reports with the process and lab data. The resulting report and data are useful information to supplement a feasibility study (e.g., the quality of the end-products for sale or community use).
Greg McCarron of SCS Engineers comments, “Virtually every town can develop and support a compost program that is locally based and directly beneficial to their community. Our mobile ASP system can provide proof of concept for our clients and the information that allows managers to make informed decisions.”
Partial Reprint of EPA Press Release
Over the past three years alone, EPA has assessed 6,572 properties, completed cleanups at 638 properties, and made 2,900 properties ready for anticipated reuse. Over this same period, more than 43,000 jobs have been leveraged as a result of Brownfields’ actions.
EPA recently announced the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through the agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. Many of the communities and tribes selected can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones.
“Without redevelopment opportunities, urban and rural communities – even those with deep historic roots – can eventually wither,” said OLEM Assistant Administrator Peter Wright. “Brownfields remediation and revitalization support communities by investing in the redevelopment of existing properties in the community.”
Since EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995, it has provided nearly $1.6 billion in Brownfield funding to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s Brownfields funding has leveraged more than $32.6 billion in cleanup and redevelopment from both public and private sources, which in turn has produced more than 167,000 jobs. This is an average of nine jobs per $100,000 of EPA investment and more than $17 in private funding for each dollar of EPA Brownfield grant funding.
Brownfields grants have been shown to:
A Brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Brownfields program empowers local leaders and communities to transform underused and distressed properties into community assets across America. Brownfields funds assess and cleanup vacant, underused, and potentially contaminated properties so that property can be reused as housing, recreation, and open space, health facilities, social services, or commercial sites. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 Brownfields in the United States.
For more information on successful Brownfields program applications, site revitalization, and success stories nationwide visit Brownfields and Voluntary Remediation. If you’d rather jump right into a few success stories, click on these below:
Locate a Brownfields and remediation expert near you – SCS Staff
On July 7, 2020, the City of Brownsville Commission approved a recommendation by the Engineering and Public Works Department to continue an existing multi-year partnership with SCS Engineers. SCS is an environmental consulting and contracting firm that will serve the City for an additional five years. The environmental contracts support the Landfill Gas Collection and Control System (GCCS) expansion and provide landfill engineering, compliance, monitoring and operations assistance.
Project Director, J. Roy Murray, an SCS vice president, and the team’s principal consulting engineer will continue to serve the City’s citizens and staff. Mr. Murray has decades of experience in civil and environmental permitting, design, and construction at municipal solid waste landfills (MSW), including 20 years serving the Brownsville Landfill. Mr. Murray states:
The City staff and Commission continues to entrust SCS Engineers to help the landfill staff with the safe, efficient, and compliant operation of the landfill. We are honored by their trust. The City of Brownsville MSW Landfill Operations team serves the City well. The facility is the primary solid waste disposal site for surrounding communities, carefully engineered and maintained regularly even during severe weather and now a pandemic. The forethought of the Landfill Division, their leadership, and innovative practices provide the citizens with stellar services while protecting the environment.
The initial installation of the City Landfill’s Gas Collection and Control System (GCCS) completed in 2011, was part of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant the City received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. SCS Engineers assisted with the application process, and as a result of the collaboration, the City received a $1.7 million grant to install a landfill gas collection system at the landfill. With GCCS operation, the City has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions. The landfill infrastructure and emission reductions were voluntary at the time, but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Air Quality rules and regulations, and EPA’s New Source Performance Standards, now require them.
The Gas Collection and Control System consists of 16 landfill gas extraction wells and currently provides coverage of 32 acres of the City Landfill’s disposal footprint. The City plans to expand the GCCS during 2021, to support landfill’s growth and stricter air permit regulations. The expansion includes 38 additional wells covering 120 acres of the landfill footprint. The new wells will integrate with the collection system and integrate with liquids management, leachate control, and stormwater systems, among others.
About SCS Engineers
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology are a direct result of our experience and dedication to solid waste management and other industries responsible for safeguarding the environment. For more information about SCS, please follow us on your preferred social media channel, or watch our 50th Anniversary video.