landfill operations

Waste Connections 2022 Landfill Manager Meeting, The Woodlands, Texas

February 27, 2022

Waste Connections is hosting its 2022 Landfill Manager Meeting in The Woodlands, Texas, February 27 – March 2, 2022.  SCS Engineers will be at the vendor fair available to discuss your Landfill Design-Build-OMM and Solid Waste Management needs. We’ll also demonstrate our award-winning landfill technology SCS RMC and SCSeTools in use on landfills nationwide.

  • Elevated Temperature Landfills
  • Landfill Construction
  • Landfill Engineering and Consulting
  • Landfill Operations, Monitoring, and Maintenance
  • Landfill Renewable Energy
  • Odor Management
  • CD Debris Recycling
  • Economic Analyses and Modeling
  • Rate Studies
  • Solid Waste Collection Services
  • Solid Waste Feasibility Studies
  • Solid Waste Planning
  • Sustainable Materials Management SMM
  • Waste Characterization and Waste Conversion Assessments

 

 

Posted by Laura Dorn at 6:00 pm

Demonstrating the Value of Landfill Gas Information Management

November 9, 2021

 

SCSeTools® – Developed by Landfill Gas Practitioners for Landfill Owners and Operators

The Birth of LFG Data Tracking

In the early 2000s tracking landfill gas data at facilities was anything but uniform, organized, or secure. The industry was using various methods to track data on paper forms and logbooks, then transferring it by hand into spreadsheets. Some of us used desktop database applications, but as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

From an SCS employee’s idea for demonstrating how to use landfill gas monitoring data to analyze and pinpoint system corrections, SCS DataServices® was born. In the span of several months, a team of SCS’s landfill engineers, field technicians, and technology gurus worked with client-needs to create a concept application visualizing collected landfill data on maps. Our staff field-tested it with good results, and SCS Field Services began using the application to visualize issues with wellfields that aren’t readily apparent when looking at spreadsheets.

A large SCS landfill client had seen our field staff using DataServices, asked if SCS would consider providing them with access to the application on a subscription basis. Our team adapted DataServices, added features, and continued improvements tailored for the client’s use.

As soon as secure data transfer became feasible, SCS moved to an Internet-based solution for our landfill gas practitioners. The platform called SCSeTools® holds the data collected by SCS DataServices®.

Applications and features roll out as we continually update and upgrade, incorporating ideas and improvements from our users and staff along the way. DataServices is addressing the landfill gas management needs of over 600 landfills across the US and Canada in 2021.

The keys to success follow our mission and values of maintaining close communications with our clients, field staff, engineers, and eTools support staff (all landfill gas practitioners), with the help of software engineers. Technology companies are not up at night thinking about landfill operations, but we are.

We introduce our SCS eTools landfill technology capabilities and a few of the creative and talented SCSers behind the technology in the next segment. Our speakers walk you through demonstrations of how over one-third of the landfill owners and operators in North America are increasing efficiencies using SCS eTools.

 

Visualizing Landfill Challenges – Shortcuts to Keeping Your Wellfield in Balance

DataServices shows the entire wellfield for any monitored parameters and zooms in on troublesome areas or wells. Results can be as simple or detailed as the landfill owners’ environmental and business needs dictate. The detailed examples here illustrate how graphs, maps, and charts help keep the wellfield in balance. We link each challenge to the description of a video demonstration.

In balance means extracting more gas for renewable energy, preventing odors and methane migration, keeps subsurface and surface conditions and workers safe. The information can help diagnose equipment conditions before they become costly, maintain regulatory compliance, and support cost estimates if the landfill is expanding or more infrastructure investment or equipment is needed.

Looking at vacuum distribution across a gas collection system – Select the system pressure map, which highlights vacuum distribution across the wellfield to show the wells with good (expected) vacuum, pressure drop over distance, and any wells unexpectantly losing vacuum.  Zooming in and changing the vacuum ranges further enhances where to assign staff to troubleshoot any identified issues.

Using a methane distribution map shows whether the wells are tuned to where the landfill owner wants them. Wells may be identified below the targeted range, indicating slight over pulling; a technician can use this map to identify such issues and quickly check the identified wells. Wells identified above the desired methane tuning range indicate wells not collecting enough gas, which has consequences. These wells can be the source of odors, leachate seeps, possible lateral migration to an out of waste probe. Not sending enough fuel to a power plant or atmospheric releases can affect surface emissions monitoring.

Managing liquids – Changing waste streams and more rainfall in certain areas of the country complicates liquids management. DataServices visualizes the impacts of liquids on wells and helps landfill owners better manage a proper liquids removal program.  The program will let them know how many pumps to budget for and, over time, where to relocate well dewatering pumps so that they are most efficient at removing liquids from landfills.

High-BTU Gas Plants –Filter maps help users locate wells contributing to gas dilution into renewable energy plants. It can help create punch lists for landfill staff to investigate, troubleshoot and tune. As wellfield technicians make corrections, they show on the map in real-time.

Temperature and subsurface oxidation events – Some call the condition subsurface fires, but this is a serious issue for landfills. Over-pulling wells, damaged infrastructure, and other conditions can cause oxidation events. Using a combination of temperature Parameter Maps to review wellhead temperature distribution and a Points Chart feature provides a deeper dive into the data. It provides more insight into which well or wells may be contributing to the high-temperature issues.

Locating a specific well – That’s not so easy when hundreds of wells surround you and at larger landfills. DataServices had built-in filter features to identify a single monitoring point on a wellfield map easily.

Customizing for compliance, best practices, and rules – DataServices allows monitoring points across a single site to have customized rules for each monitoring point. Rules can be for regulatory purposes, standard operating procedures, best management practices, and even site-specific preferences or any combination thereof. It is efficient to customize rule application to landfills and collection points – meaning wells, probes or ports, horizontal collectors. This customization capability helps organize and confirm regulatory compliance. It is especially salient with the 2021 EPA and state compliance changes for a single landfill or an organization with hundreds of landfills.

MobileForms – Inspection forms, blower flare station monitoring forms, load tracking from municipalities, incoming hazardous waste tracking, MRF bale counts are examples of paperless entry available. The data feeds directly from mobile phones to the supervisor and into the maintenance department, so staff can start cataloging and looking at what’s going on in real-time at several types of facilities. It’s available for regulators and inspections and helps reduce staff hours tabulating and centralizing the information.  Any information historically captured on a form or log attached to a clipboard can now be captured and stored electronically.  From there, it can be recovered and produced as a PDF export file or data from the forms used to trend data and help make informed operational decisions.

MobileTools – DataServices in a condensed format suitable for mobile devices. Field staff use MobileTools to save time formerly used to return to the office, transfer/transcribe the collected data and upload it to a supervisor for quality checks before storage.  Technicians can now recall the last 20 readings for any given well and review trend graphs on their phones or tablets while standing adjacent to the well they have questions about and need to access the data.  MobileTools also allows them to upload field data such as liquid level readings while the data is being collected.  The information instantly populates into DataServices and is available for review by others on the project team.

The most valuable tools are in development now for release in 2022. ARC GIS integration developed under SCS RMC® will further enhance DataServices with even better visualization and location capabilities and provide enhanced features such as allowing landfill owners to see their well as-built information and view subsurface information about their wells.

 

Learn more at SCS Engineers, where we adopt our clients’ environmental challenges as our own.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:38 pm

Using Data to Maximize Landfill Gas Efficiencies

September 23, 2021

Recorded September 23, 2021, On-Demand Below

Our SCS Client Webinar focuses on landfill gas maintenance and how Landfill Operators create more efficient operations using their monitoring data. Scott Messier, Site Operations Manager at the Monterey Regional Waste Management District, will join us to describe how he finds efficiencies.

Our panel discusses common operational challenges such as locating new LFG wells, locating the cause of odors or surface emission monitoring hits, determining the cause of LFG migration to probes, identifying obstructions in the header network, getting more gas for a power plant and preventing migration, and identifying elevated temperature conditions.

Watch Now: Using Data to Maximize Landfill Gas Efficiencies

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

Maintaining Gas Extraction System Pumps Saves Time and Money | SCS Field Services

September 7, 2021

SCSeTools LFG data to create operational efficiencies for landfill operators
Even a robust vacuum on the wells will not pull gas once pipes fill with fluid.  With no path to move it from trash into the collection infrastructure, operators work harder to stave off odor and slope stability issues, among potential resulting problems.

 

Accumulating liquids are problematic for landfills taking sludges and other wet wastes not traditionally part of the incoming waste stream. Add to the mix increasing precipitation, and operators could be staring down the perfect storm—especially as they work to optimize their gas extraction systems. Here’s the challenge, explains Pete Carrico, SCS Engineers Senior Vice President and national expert on liquids management:

“Trash is porous, and the soils used for daily and intermediate cover usually aren’t, so liquid gets trapped between alternating trash layers as the landfill fills. These “perched” liquids can drain into well columns and block the slotted portion of the extraction well piping that withdraws gas from waste and into the gas collection system.”

Even a robust vacuum on the wells will not pull gas once pipes fill with fluid.  With no path to move it from trash into the collection infrastructure, operators work harder to stave off odor and slope stability issues, among potential resulting problems.

The good news is they have a recourse to remove the liquids, unblock well perforations, and extract more gas. They do it by installing dewatering systems: an intricate network of pneumatic pumps, air lines to power them, and conveyance lines, also known as force mains, to remove liquid.

Manufacturers have designed and redesigned their pumps to try and address problems specific to landfill gas extraction systems. And the equipment does the job but requires meticulous attention and skill to keep all the moving parts going. These liquids are rough on pumps due to their harsh nature. The suspended solids and biological material they contain are the biggest challenges, and if the landfill has high temperatures, these liquids can heat up, further taxing the system, Carrico says.

“No pump indefinitely survives the challenging conditions you have in landfills. So, where we can make the biggest difference is with these maintenance programs,” Carrico says. You’re spending O&M budget on what provides the most impact.”

SCS uses dedicated, factory-trained pump crews who focus solely on operating and maintaining gas extraction dewatering systems. These crews help ensure the infrastructure functions as it should, and gas moves through well piping slots, into the gas header piping, and to the blower/flare station for beneficial end-use.

“Operations run more smoothly with these crews in place. An SCS field crew is as unique as each landfill. Our specialists have various skill sets, i.e., gas collection system monitoring, surface emissions monitoring, or pump maintenance expertise. That’s how we produce better outcomes in terms of pump performance. If you effectively maintain and repair the pumps, you will restore them to their designed specifications, pump more liquids, and with greater ease,” Carrico says.

The teams, who work on landfills across the country, stay busy. One site can have five to 300-plus pumps, each with multiple components, and they must be removed and cleaned frequently.

Replacing worn, fouled, or damaged components is an especially tedious and complex job.

Some wells are 70 to 100 feet deep. Pulling air lines, liquid lines, and pumps out from that depth is hard and requires special equipment to do safely.  SCS crews know how to take them apart and put them back together; they don’t just lower them back in the ground after working on them. But hook them up to air and water lines and watch them work at capacity before returning them to service.

It’s a value add; with a good maintenance plan and the right crew, pumps can be kept at their designed specifications and run efficiently for many years.  They can typically be cleaned and reset for a fraction of their replacement cost.

“We leverage our size and resources. We have a deep bench of in-house experts and engineers willing to share information to help with problems, which is important as conditions vary at each site, as can problems and solutions. So, it’s important not to do this in a silo but rather pull from our broader knowledge base,” Carrico says.

Technology helps too, especially with tracking, maintaining, and reporting progress to clients. A geographical information system (GIS) maps each well’s location, and pump technicians upload data corresponding to each one from wireless tablets almost instantaneously.

 

Wellfield liquid levels and detail at a glance. Using a landfill’s collected data, narrow down the entire well field’s pumps to determine what needs investigation and where it is using GIS. Supervisors can check the overall monitoring status, select a well pump not performing to see the details, then assign technicians exactly where most needed.

 

The ability to automate tracking and display critical information right away on a dashboard has increased our program’s efficiency. Technicians spend less time tracking and look at analyses of all the landfill conditions to know where to concentrate their efforts, Carrico says.

A few landfills are working to avoid pumping liquids altogether. They are building large gabion rock structures at the landfill’s base, with piping that connects to the extraction well system, creating a conduit. Liquids automatically drain to the bottom where leachate is intended to go while effectively pulling more gas into the gas collection system.

“This is a newer trend that some of our clients are already doing. And we are involved supporting the well designs,” Carrico says.

For now, in most cases, achieving the best outcomes is about investing in pumps and a good maintenance program.

“Monitoring and regularly measuring—checking stroke-counters, which show how many times a pump cycles, and checking flow meters to know how many gallons a day a system produces are key to finding savings. It’s how you reduce or prevent catastrophic failures,” says Greg Hansen, Senior Project Manager with SCS Field Services Operations, Maintenance & Monitoring.

To execute properly, Hansen provides this advice for operators setting up a pump program:

Have pump maintenance areas with water, electricity, disposal means for waste liquids, and storage facilities for spare parts and tools. More specifically:

  • Set up ample storage for spare parts inventory to avoid downtime. There may be 100 parts to a pump, and to replace them quickly, keep a parts inventory equal to about 10% of in-use pumps.
  • Know before you order parts which ones are compatible with your system as they are not all interchangeable. SCS can help with this.
  • Place the operation near leachate tanks so technicians can efficiently dispose of wastewater. Have cleaning materials analyzed to ensure they are acceptable according to the disposal permit.

Operators planning on doing maintenance in-house should train their technicians on cleaning, servicing, and testing pumps. Either SCS or the pump manufacturer can provide this training.

Above all, Hansen says, “You need a comprehensive OM&M program. The better the job tuning pumps, the better they do in the field, and the longer they work before being cleaned or repaired. It’s a continual process.”

 

More Resources

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

When Landfill Operators Brace for Storms, it’s Safety First

August 10, 2021

 

With the frequency and severity of storms on the rise, municipal solid waste landfill operators have to think differently to keep their workers and environment safe. Planning is key to safely hit the ground running in the wake of severe weather.

Federal law does not hold household hazardous waste (HHW) to the same standards as what is classified as hazardous waste (generated by businesses and received at subtitle C landfills). Yet, these materials have the same compounds and are potentially dangerous too.

“Subtitle D landfills routinely receive these wastes, but under normal conditions, it’s in much smaller quantities, and they are typically segregated. So managing them is not a big deal. But, after a storm, operators can be inundated with these oxidizers, corrosives, flammable gases, and flammable solids. It’s all coming in at once and mixed with other storm debris, posing a risk for reactions and workers’ safety,” says Mike Knox, SCS Quality Advisor. He supports landfill operators in safely managing hazardous wastes. Storm season is a busy time for him and his clients. Those unprepared find themselves pulled in multiple directions and need to act quickly and smartly.

If a structure blows down, it may generate waste that contains gallons of dangerous liquid, gas containers, propane tanks, and pesticides mixed in. It’s dangerous, especially if a waste worker does not see it.

 

Mike’s Planning Advice

Operators set themselves up for success when they’re ready to go with a plan before that first 80-mile-an-hour wind gust hits.

“You must know how to identify hazardous wastes ahead, train staff ahead, and look at worse-case scenarios ahead,” Knox says.

He and his team start by looking at operators’ facilities and identifying materials, workers’ roles, and available equipment and assets. They identify safety areas and set up classrooms. Important are preparing the staging areas to manage the influx, screen, and segregate by waste type.

Then they look at government rules; help operators determine what they need to do; and execute a plan.

 

Minimizing Risk

Operators need to secure waste, make sure it’s packaged right, and minimize it where possible to stave off mishaps.

The safety of people and equipment is part of a proactive strategy. Trucks can tip over with heavy, wet loads, so do not overload them. Space trucks in the tipping area are at least 10 feet further apart than the dump trailer is long. For a 30-foot trailer, that’s 40 feet.

Setting up this extra space can be difficult unless you’ve established a large tipping area, and don’t take chances with dump trailers; the results have proven deadly in the past, Knox advises.

Check that backup alarms and strobe lights are working. Train equipment operators to look for vehicles and pedestrians. Do not allow cell phones at the working face; a distraction that no one needs. Mandate the use of high-visibility vests and restrict people to stay within five feet of their vehicle. Strictly control scavenging. People cannot wander and pull items from the trash.

 

Fuel Up

Fuel is the item most often overlooked in Knox’s experience.

“Having enough fuel to operate heavy landfill equipment and hauling fleets is essential to keep waste moving. Severe storms have impacted fuel supplies for several days to a week or more, so stock up,” he recommends. Mike typically arranges for temporary fuel storage tanks so haulers and heavy equipment operators can stay on their mark through and after the storm.

 

Scenarios in Preparation

Part of safety management is asking “what if” and then answering ahead of a problem. Depending on where ‘what if’ leads, you prioritize and go after the big things first. One big one is, what if floods occur? That question leads to more specifics to plan for, such as roads likely to be impacted and establishing alternate routes available. What other actions will help traffic flow?

Remember: if there’s a lot of rain or clay, trucks can slip going up hills. So alternate tipping areas that are lower and flatter may be needed to accommodate inclement weather access. “And that takes preparation.  Sometimes you have to build a road to reroute to an area you are not using. It can take days,” Knox says.

Building wet weather access roads are important, as are measures like cleaning out stormwater ditches. Nevertheless, know that, depending on location, rising water may flood out areas despite these efforts. Pumping water into berms and ponds from flooded ditches can be a temporary solution if your plan and local regulations allow it. Coordinate with regulatory and permit agencies to set up such actions.

You will want to bolster protections of maintenance facilities, the scale house, and other structures that could be damaged or lose power – stock up on tarps, lumber, and power generators.

Many operators find waste screening towers to be especially useful. Knox and his team will build them in advance to prepare for what’s coming. Waste screeners at the gate radio to active face supervisors if hazardous materials are arriving so they can properly place them, ensuring they are covered with dirt before sending staff to the active face.

Knox completes quality evaluations guided by a 200-item checklist to ensure proper procedures are in place. He compliments this list with many questions to prepare.

 

Know Your Jurisdiction’s Rules and Storm Accommodations

Operators check local permit conditions to take advantage of possible modifications they may make. Some jurisdictions have more lenient weight restrictions for hauling vehicles or the option to set up temporary staging areas.

Knox also suggests coordinating with the local permit and regulatory agencies following the storm to take advantage of emergency relief funds and coordinate across the area’s public and emergency services.

Local government, emergency responders, regulatory and permitting agencies often have Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) to coordinate resources, information, and crisis management. Mayors, County Commissioners, fire departments, hospitals, police, environmental regulatory agencies, and other key industry leaders are typically part of this team.

These groups practice response coordination and stage tabletop exercises or mock disasters. “Take time to participate and plan with the EOC. Check for whatever else may be available in your area to help prepare, and work as a team with these local entities to respond to severe weather or other emergency events,” Knox says.

 

Circling Back to Planning

“Knowing what to do before the storm hits will make your recovery easier. You will keep your employees, your community, and your site safe. And be ready to go back to normal operations much faster.”

 

 

Michael KnoxAbout the Author: Mike Knox has over 30 years of Ordnance and Hazardous Materials experience. He is a Regional OM&M Compliance Manager with extensive supervisory abilities in hazardous waste emergency response and large-scale clearance operations.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 3:35 pm

SWANA Virtual Landfill Challenges Summit

June 17, 2021

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual Landfill Challenges Summit on Thursday, June 17.

This half-day, virtual event will bring together landfill, landfill gas, and biogas professionals from throughout the United States and Canada. Industry experts from the public and private sectors will discuss current and future challenges that are expected to impact landfill operations and landfill gas production, and what lessons can be applied as we move forward.

The virtual summit will be followed by an on-line networking event.

Visit the summit site for details and registration information

 

 

 

Posted by Laura Dorn at 1:00 pm

What do environmental engineers do?

June 16, 2021

environmental engineers

 

After answering, we often hear this… That’s cool; I didn’t know that!

 

Here at SCS, we work for developers, industry, and manufacturers to help them run cleaner, safer, and more efficiently. This PBS video provides insight into how SCS brings value to the waste industry, our clients, and, most importantly, our communities.

  • Reduce waste
  • Turn waste into energy
  • Protect and clean the air, soil, and water

You may ask yourself, don’t pig farms create pollution? Yes, but even that waste is reusable!

Did you know the food you buy in the grocery is supported by our environmental experts? Learn more about SCS’s environmental engineers and consultants who bring contaminated properties back to life, lower and capture greenhouse gases for fuels and renewable energy, and make possible a brighter future.

If you are interested in becoming an SCS Engineers employee-owner, watch our comprehensive video to see the breadth of services our teams offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

SCS Webinar: Using GIS Technology on Landfills, Facilities, and Development Projects

June 10, 2021

Recorded Live Thursday, June 10 at 2:00 pm ET

 

Watch Using GIS Technology on Landfills, Facilities, and Development Projects Now

 

GIS improves operational efficiency at waste facilities, landfills and helps keep development projects on schedule. GIS technology transforms volumes of collected data into maps and easy-to-understand dashboards – making staff assignments and decisions more precise and timely.

Our panelists use case studies to demonstrate how they use this proven technology in new ways to improve forensic, diagnostic, and planning activities. Join us to learn how your operation may also leverage GIS to address these challenges:

Landfills: Operators make diagnostic and forensic use of GIS to address maintenance tasks faster. We’ll cover modeling 3D wells and liquid level data, showing how GIS embedded dashboards and infographics pinpoint exactly where to assign staff. At the same time, supervisors monitor completed assignments seeing real-time results and what still needs attention.

Siting Facilities: Decision-makers use multi-criteria decision analysis incorporated into a geographic information system to account for relevant technical data, environmental, social, and economic factors during the site selection of a waste transfer station. The resulting maps and infographics are useful at public meetings too.

Property Development: Time is money on development projects. Environmental engineers use GIS to more accurately pinpoint potential contamination sources, conduct site assessments, strategize remediation solutions, and see sampling results weeks faster. Infographics and dashboards show if and exactly where to continue sampling without waiting weeks or months for reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

Landfill Operators Sleep Better at Night Counting Sheep

June 8, 2021

Shepherding in the 21st Century is a natural, sustainable way to keep landfill slopes groomed. While the sheep do the trimming, it is man and beast working together to make it successful.

 

Among the extensive list of landfill operating costs are those incurred for landscaping to keep the slopes trimmed. While regularly mowing large spaces is expensive, keeping sites well-groomed is essential for protecting landfill covers and providing other safeguards. Putting sheep and other grazing livestock to work eliminating invasive plants and other vegetation from properties difficult to traverse for two-legged workers could be a good alternative. Grazing is an often useful technique for maintaining traditional native plants while reducing weeds and unwanted vegetation, mitigating risk for growth to dry out and possibly catch fire or intrude on a site’s pipelines and infrastructure.

In municipal solid waste landfills near urban areas, such as in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and California, grazing animals are helping with slope management. These locations also reap environmental benefits of reduced soil erosion; improved air and water quality; better plant diversity, vigor and production; and improved wildlife habitat.

As with all landfill operations, planning is everything. The choice of grazing animal (i.e., sheep, goats, cattle, or horses) and the number of animals necessary is site-specific. To determine the best choices, SCS Engineers looks at site characteristics such as the age of the plants and the proportion of grass species present, the local climate, and wildlife species present.

A landfill operator in California using sheep to groom landfill slopes is pleased with the results after three months and plans to continue the grazing method in the upcoming years. “We use 400 sheep per acre, per day, and have 600 on-site.”

“We save the landfill 66 percent of its landscaping budget using a natural method.”

“We talked about it for years before we implemented this method,” he says. “We needed time to research the feasibility and the costs, but that isn’t a challenge for SCS; their environmental scientists have landfill expertise in gauging air, soil, water, inorganic and organic content. These are all conditions requiring careful consideration before bringing in sheep to graze.”

The operator was sold on grazing, seeing the environmental, economic, and safety benefits of this alternative to herbicides and staff maneuvering trimming equipment on steep slopes. Finding a shepherd was the next step. With all its benefits, the method does require human oversight.

Luis lives at the landfill in a trailer home, his base of operations. He grew up in Peru, herding sheep. The landfill operations staff trained him on landfill safety, and Luis, in turn, teaches landfill staff what to expect from the 600 sheep.

The herd grazes during daylight hours, clearing patches of mustard grass and weeds. “Sheep are a better choice than goats here; they are more selective and won’t eat native plants or damage the infrastructure by trying to eat it too,” says the landfill operator.

As the sheep graze on invasive grasses, they are preventing tumbleweeds and destroying the seeds while chewing. A further benefit is the fertilizer they leave behind supports the growth of native plants that require minimal grooming, are tolerant of dry conditions, and facilitate the protection of the landfill cover.

“Around here, where the climate is very dry, preventing tumbleweeds and flammable conditions is a priority. The herd is packing the groundcover down while they’re eating, providing a great alternative to mowing while helping control runoff,” says the operator.

The herd is low maintenance, thriving outdoors without shelter and needing only to have their water troughs filled. The shepherd has two helpers, a border collie for herding the sheep to new locations and another larger dog to help protect the sheep from coyotes. Both the dogs and the wildlife help cut down the number of burrowing animals, which for obvious reasons are not landfill-friendly.

Occasionally, the landfill operation staff helps Luis move the herd. He sets up new locations across the landfill as the sheep are grazing in another area. Then the dogs help move the herd to the new location. Keeping the sheep going in the right direction is hard work, explains SCS’s Regional Manager. “If one sheep breaks off, twenty more will follow. Depending on where we’re moving them, Luis may need extra hands.”

The herd shown grazing can easily climb steep landfill slopes.

This natural “landscaping” alternative with all its landfill-specific benefits is working well. The sheep can do some damage, they sometimes rub along exposed pipelines scratching themselves, but the staff is quickly alerted to anything broken. Luis uses a lightweight grid fence to corral the animals. The battery-powered fencing helps protect the sheep at night from coyotes with a light “shocking” deterrent, similar to static electricity. It’s enough to keep the carnivores at bay along with the dogs’ help.

The SCS landfill operations team has adopted the two dogs. Their Field Services Regional Manager points out, “We didn’t plan on adopting them, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. These are hardworking animals, and Guardian, the dog protecting the sheep at night, can get Foxtail, a grass-like weed, caught in his fur. The seeds can injure dogs, so we inspect and brush them, and we watch to ensure they stay healthy. These dogs, like the sheep, are part of the team and important to helping maintain the landfill − not to mention they’re special to us.”

The sheep, dogs, and Luis are doing an exemplary job. The operator expects in two or three seasons to see a significant improvement in maintenance; each consecutive year, there is less undesirable vegetation. “It’s working well; next year, we will start grazing in January to help prevent more invasive new growth earlier in the season,” he says.

“Environmentally, I like to think we’re helping our client be a good neighbor,” he continues. “And we save the landfill 66 percent of their landscaping budget every year; that helps us all sleep better.”

 


 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends ecological restoration and revegetation of landfills, abandoned dumps, mines, and other site containment systems designed to protect people and the environment from exposure and prevent contaminant migration. Grazing is one cost-effective and efficient option to consider supporting these priorities.

Find more landfill engineering and operations information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

SWANA 2021 Landfill Challenges Summit on June 17

June 3, 2021

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual summit in place of SOAR this June 17th. The Landfill Challenges Summit presents sessions from 12:00 – 5:00 pm EDT and on-demand sessions throughout the conference.

The Landfill Challenges Summit brings together landfill, landfill gas, and biogas professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Industry experts, including those at SCS Engineers, will discuss current and future challenges that are expected to impact landfill operations and landfill gas production and what lessons can be applied as we move forward.

REGISTER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 8:00 am