Save the date! Waste360 is hosting its Global Waste Management Symposium, February 14-17, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California.
The program is taking shape and will feature numerous sessions on solid waste and materials management, such as waste minimization and reuse, landfill operation and design, organics diversion/composting/anaerobic digestion, elevated temperature landfills/subsurface reactions, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable materials management, wastes from energy production (e.g. coal ash), waste containment and geosynthetics, odor emissions and management, leachate treatment, recycling and material markets, landfill gas production, waste-to-energy, waste characterization, and more!
GWMS services the needs of landfill owners and operators, as well as their engineers and the consultant and vendor communities. Join this broad coalition of participants that also includes:
Facility Owners and Operators
Local / State / Federal Agencies
Waste Service Companies
Vendors / Suppliers
Solid Waste Generators
Sponsorship opportunities are currently available.
Duckett Couples Engineering Expertise with Financial Acumen and Creativity
July 30, 2021
The engineer in Ryan Duckett tends to want to build the biggest, most top-of-the-line waste and recycling facilities whenever he can, but always what is practical for his clients. SCS’s mission states that employees adopt our clients’ environmental challenges as our own, and that includes their budgets and social goals as well.
“I appreciate that the waste management enterprises I work with are businesses and care about more than the engineering of a project. They care about the economics, and they look for guidance in both realms to get maximum value and efficiency,” says Duckett, who came to SCS Engineers as a new environmental engineering graduate. Then he went back to school for his MBA. He wanted to join both the technical and financial puzzle pieces.
“Everyone, especially local governments, is constrained by tight budgets. You have to think about the interplay between design and construction and financial feasibility,” he says.
That’s his job – to plan technically sound programs and facilities, whether new builds, upgrades, or changes in operations or services. Or it can be developing protocols for clients to tap into low-carbon fuel credits.
He’s learned to look through both developers’ and operators’ eyes to help clients accomplish what they want at budget levels they set while maximizing what they get from their programs, facilities, and systems.
“You need to make assessments and quantify details to answer questions like, what would an operator have to charge for a given service to break even? Is this service fee reasonable given market conditions? What are estimated operational costs and capital costs for an expansion? Financial analysts vet these questions, but very few of them are intimately involved in solid waste practices or engineering,” Duckett says.
A holistic approach in play
He calls the work he does integrated solid waste management, which involves understanding the entire operation and how one component affects the other, whether routing and collections, materials recovery facilities (MRFs), transfer stations, landfill gas systems, or others.
Duckett shows this holistic approach in play by explaining how grasping the way collections work helps design transfer stations. These major builds can run up to multimillions, even when project managers have the skill set and foresight to plan for efficiency and sustainability.
“You can better estimate how to design queuing space, how to design surge capacity, how to size facilities,” he explains.
“Adding, for example, an extra day’s storage capacity at a transfer station or MRF provides extra flexibility in the event of a disruption farther down the line. In an emergency, owners could potentially save significantly by having more time to identify or negotiate more economical alternatives.”
Some of the solutions he finds are simple but require thinking out of the box—literally in one situation where cardboard boxes were stockpiling at a convenience center because they didn’t fit through the slot in a single-stream receptacle. Simply creating an acceptance area only for boxes diverts multiple truckloads a week from landfills and generates thousands a year in revenue.
Then there are the major construction projects where Duckett digs deeper, such as one plan to site, design, and build a MRF. He conducted a feasibility study looking at different sites and calculated estimated operational costs and upfront capital costs for each identified site.
“We ultimately determined that by co-locating a facility at the existing landfill, the client would save over $200,000 in operating costs, with savings from scales/scale house reuse, the reduced distance of residual stream hauling, labor efficiencies, and other areas.”
In this same scenario, adding robotics for additional processing comes with anticipated savings of about $300,000 in manual sorting costs annually.
When do you recommend spending more upfront?
This question often comes up in Duckett’s world.
He finds that sometimes spending more upfront and on what’s built to last translates to substantial savings in the long run. He reflects on when a client had to replace a transfer station floor every couple of years.
“These floors take so much impact, so this is not an uncommon problem. But you can provide a huge ROI by reducing floor replacement frequency. They can run over half a million to replace properly, even for relatively small facilities,” Duckett says.
He ran budget numbers for different approaches and found in this scenario the higher-end approach, cement with additives such as fly ash, was the better deal.
“It might cost 50 percent more upfront, but the floor could last three times as long, breaking the cycle of frequent, costly replacement,” he says.
What do you recommend when budgets are so tight, there’s no cash reserve to invest?
Duckett and his team have found solutions in this scenario, too; often, the strategy is to figure out if a phased approach is possible.
“You could spend ten years waiting to generate enough funds to build infrastructure for a major project. Your citizens are missing out, so sometimes it’s best to build smaller, as soon as you need it. Then increase capacity as you can afford it.”
Expert advice from his colleagues
A very positive thing about his holistic approach is that Duckett can reach out to his colleagues who specialize in long-term financial management plans for utilities such as solid waste. This team, led by Vita Quinn, specializes in helping clients build sustainable financing models and plans.
The models help communities manage financial impacts such as COVID disruptions; make investments without burdening community budgets, and help take advantage of commodity market swings such as in the value of recycled paper. Models are useful to show community leaders and citizens the different options and what-if scenarios that make sense based on current and future conditions.
Going back to the drawing board to improve a system
Not long ago, Duckett’s team had to figure out what to do about a decal-based, pay-as-you-throw system that wasn’t working. The operator’s initial plan seemed logical and simple: residents purchase decals and place them on their bins for pick up. But some of them let their subscriptions expire. The city was losing money servicing outstanding accounts. It hired enforcement officers to check every decal for validity, which soon proved too labor-intensive.
“We found an alternative: adding fees for trash and recycling to the water and sewer bill. It’s bringing in more revenue. And the city is saving on hours spent checking thousands of decals, freeing the enforcement officers for other jobs, like bulky and yard waste enforcement,” Duckett says.
Duckett’s greatest lessons learned?
“In my seven years on the job, I have learned that the solid waste industry is complicated with a lot of intricate, moving parts that interconnect. Who would have thought trash was so complex?”
He’s also learned it’s critical to have comprehensive teams with diverse backgrounds to gather different perspectives.
“It goes back to the concept that you need more than engineering expertise to deliver that value add. That value add is important to our customers, so we strive to understand the business challenge along with the technical and social goals.”
Speaking as a young professional to other young professionals and students thinking about careers in waste management, he says: Check it out. Give it serious thought.
“I do not know of another industry that involves so many interesting disciplines: biology, hydrology, geology, engineering … even data and computer scientists.”
He shares this proposition for the young and ambitious:
“As technology advances and regulatory requirements heighten, our teams learn a lot on the job. But we appreciate our sharp graduates who bring the latest knowledge from academic settings. We depend on them to share new ways of thinking and help us solve challenging and intriguing problems.”
His motivation to get into environmental engineering evolved from his passion for the outdoors.
“I grew to appreciate conservation, which centers on doing more with less to preserve resources. Nothing is wasted in nature; everything is cyclical and gets used,” Duckett says.
“That’s what our waste system could emulate, and as a nation, we’re moving in that direction. It’s not just about reducing trash. It’s about reducing wasted effort and money spent beyond what’s necessary. It goes back to the idea of efficiency and getting the most out of something – instead of a using-disposing-buying new mentality.”
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual Sustainable Materials Management Summit on Tuesday, June 15.
This half-day virtual event will bring together the recycling, organics recovery, and resource management professionals. Industry leaders will discuss new US EPA recycling goals, food waste & organics recovery, pandemic responses, and lessons that can be applied as we move forward.
Air & Waste Management Association’s ACE 2021 is Virtual
June 14, 2021
The Air & Waste Management Association’s 114th Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE) will be held virtually, June 14-17, 2021. The conference theme is “Environmental Resiliency for Tomorrow”.
The conference was originally scheduled to take place in Orlando, however in the interest of safety, conference organizers have created a fully-virtual, interactive format with unparalleled technical content delivered through many livestream sessions, on-demand videos, and recorded presentations, as well as interactive Q&A and networking opportunities for authors, attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors. There are also special events for women, students, and young professionals.
ACE 2021 will unite professionals from major industry, private sector, consulting, government and education for an exciting event that will explore the ever-expanding environmental challenges and provide solutions to becoming and remaining resilient for tomorrow. This is an ideal opportunity for professionals to share their knowledge to advance the industry, and for environmental companies to showcase their products, services, and solutions with professionals motivated to build a more resilient and sustainable world.
The livestream program will feature 23 technical sessions, including:
EPA Priorities 2021‐2022
PFAS Emerging Contaminant Regulatory Trends, Research and Remediation Updates
New Source Review (NSR): Issues and Recent Developments
Regional Haze and Aerosol Optical Properties
Electric Power industry ‐ Clean Air Act Accomplishments
PM2.5 Implementation Issues
AERMOD Modeling System Updates with U.S. EPA
Corporate Sustainability: Plans, Programs, Metrics, and Analytics
Climate Risk, Modelling, and MET data
E‐Enterprise for the Environment
How Does it Work? Recycling
Innovative Uses of Earth observations within NASA HAQAST v2.0
Waste Issues Roundtable
PM, VOC, NOx and Mercury Control Technologies
Technical program highlights:
The live Keynote Plenary Session will feature high level representatives from the Biden administration that will discuss their plans to tackle climate change as well as industry representatives that will share their vision on facing the climate challenges of the future.
51st Annual Critical Review (live) on Cancer and PFOA, by Scott M. Bartell and Verónica M. Vieira, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of California, Irvine.
The Mini-Symposium on Environmental Resiliency
Over 25panels featuring experts who will discuss the latest issues in technology and regulation including:
Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
EPA Priorities 2021-2022
New Source Review
GHG/CO2 Control Technologies & Strategies
Regional Haze and Aerosol Optical Properties
Clean Air Act Accomplishments for the Electric Power Industry
Air Permitting, Legislation, and Policy Developments
How Does It Work? Introductory Sessions for young professionals and students
How Does It Work? Solid Waste and Recycling
How Does It Work? Energy Production
How Does It Work? Environmental, Social, Governance
How Does It Work? Stack Testing
Combined technical and student poster session with audio and video recordings, live Q & A and more
How Kirkwood, Missouri is Reducing Recycling Contamination
March 16, 2021
We all enjoy a success story, especially when it comes to reducing contamination in recyclable materials. Congratulations to the city and citizens for their Clean/Green campaign with its many benefits. Bill Bensing, Director of Public Services in Kirkwood, takes us through his journey in this timely APWA Reporter article.
As it does nationwide, Florida’s aspirational 75% recycling goal presents unique challenges and opportunities. Specifically, Florida municipal policymakers and professional staff are wrestling with contamination and changing global commodity markets that affect the financial viability of their recycling programs…
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – WDNR is performing a waste sort to determine what’s in the trash going into Wisconsin’s landfills. During the waste audit, the team will collect at least 200 samples of waste from 12 waste disposal sites across the state for eight weeks. It’s a dirty …
Cities have begun to “right-size” their recycling systems by evaluating the usage of community recycling containers and reducing/redistributing containers to maximize the quantity of recyclables each site receives. Communities are evaluating curbside recycling programs to increase efficiency, and decreasing contamination is a priority…
Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Wisconsin Integrated Resource Management Conference Goes Virtual in February 2021
February 22, 2021
The Wisconsin Integrated Resource Management Conference (WIRMC) is the place to market your business to Wisconsin solid waste and recycling professionals. WIRMC 2021 will take place as a virtual conference from February 22-25, 2021. Several SCS professionals will be presenter, and SCS Engineers is a Gold Level sponsor of this important event. Please stop by our Virtual booth!
Featured Hot Topics and Speakers include:
2020 Wisconsin Statewide Waste Characterization Study (Monday, Feb 22)
Speaker: Casey Lamensky, WDNR and Betsy Powers, SCS Engineers
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has sponsored statewide waste sorts in 2002, 2009, and 2020. The 2020 study is being performed in October through December 2020 by SCS Engineers. This presentation will hit on the highlights of the project (participating facilities and methodology), share challenges and how they were addressed, and present some preliminary results and how the DNR hopes to use the information. We will discuss patterns that are standing out and lessons that can be shared.
School Sustainability Programs: Thriving in Changing Times – Panel (Tuesday, Feb 23)
Panelists include: Angeline Koch, Milwaukee Public Schools, Claire Oleksiak, Sustain Dane, Chris Jimieson, Madison Metropolitan School District, Janet Whited, Recycling Specialist, San Diego USD, moderator Debbi Dodson, Carton Council
Landfill Technology Innovations: YPs Improving Operations and Management (Tuesday, Feb 23)
Speakers: David Hostetter, Joy Stephens, Melissa Russo, and Sam Rice all of SCS Engineers
The technologies for operating and monitoring landfills are expanding and changing rapidly. Hear from several SCS Young Professionals about the exciting developments currently underway.
Food Recycling and Rescue – A Major City’s Three-Pronged Approach (Wednesday, Feb 22)
Speaker: Michelle Leonard, Vice President, SCS Engineers
Los Angeles County’s unincorporated area is home to almost 1 million people, and each year its communities dispose of approximately 128,000 tons of food. At the same time, approximately 1 in 7 individuals are food insecure, lacking regular access to quality nutritious meals. In the last three years, Los Angeles County Public Works has launched a number of programs to reduce wasted food. These include in-house recycling, food scraps collection, and edible food recovery. These programs have saved millions of pounds of food from going to waste. We will provide attendees with detailed information on food recycling and donation. Details will include how the programs were envisioned, the planning process undertaken by the County, the program results, and the County’s next steps, and will provide suggestions for how other communities can implement a successful food recycling and donation program.
Changing Air Rules for Landfills (Thursday, Feb 25)
Speaker: Mark Hammers, SCS Engineers
On March 26, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) finalized amendments to the 2003 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. The NESHAP rules affect air permits and landfill gas system operating requirements for most active landfills. Some of the changes, like revised wellhead operational standards, may be welcomed by permittees. Other changes include additional monitoring requirements for wells operating at higher temperatures, and correction and clarification of Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction (SSM) requirements. State agencies with air permitting authority are now incorporating the new NESHAP requirements into Title V permits. The interaction between the recently amended NESHAP rules and existing New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rules (Subpart WWW and Subpart XXX) is creating some unique challenges. Learn about these unique challenges along with the history, applicability, timelines, and primary requirements of the revised NESHAP.
SCS Engineers Annual Landfill & Solid Waste Seminar for Maryland
February 4, 2021
Join SCS Engineers for our 18th Annual Maryland Landfill & Solid Waste Seminar on February 4, 2021. This half-day seminar is a FREE virtual event — open to solid waste professionals.
The seminar is designed to provide updates on the latest regulatory, policy, and technological developments in solid waste, landfill and landfill gas industries.
The seminar is intended for solid waste management professionals, landfill managers, waste/recycling managers, supervisors, and operators. For attendees already possessing landfill experience, topics will provide a fresh perspective and cover important regulatory and technological updates. For those new to the field, topics will cover essential information on all aspects of landfill development, operations, monitoring, and management. Opportunity for CEUs available.
The seminar will cover the following topics:
Liquids Management: What Are Our Options?, by Darrin Dillah, Ph.D., PE, & Parita Shah
Maryland Regulatory Update, by Jacob Shepherd, PE
Best Available Control (BACT) for Landfill Gas Collection Systems: What Does This Look Like in 2021?, by Bob Dick, PE, BCEE
Efficiency Assessments for Landfill & Other Solid Waste Facility Operations, by Daniel Jansen
Groundwater Sampling: Do You Know What’s Being Done at Your Site?, by Jennifer Robb
How Recycling Programs Have Adapted and Improved in Response to Difficult Market Conditions, by Brent Dieleman
The solid waste and recycling industry is being reshaped by powerful forces – fiscal uncertainty, a critical need for infrastructure investment, local governments pushed to engage in creative city-to-city and public/private partnerships, and the need to leverage technology to connect to our communities and customers. “When we embrace disruptions, we can lean in and make decisions that help accelerate needed solutions and sunset legacy practices that can stand in the way of progress,” said SWANA Deputy Executive Director Meri Beth Wojtaszek. “This has some leaders replacing the phrase ‘before and after’ to ‘before and faster.’”
Visit WASTECON.org for program updates and registration information as it becomes available.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM (EST) Keynote: Outside the Box: Reinventing Your Organization in Response to COVID-19 features a diverse panel that will share some innovative ways their organizations have responded and reinvented themselves to remain relevant during the pandemic. Three speakers provide perspective including, Carlton Williams – City of Philadelphia; James Walsh – SCS Engineers; John Brusa, Jr. – Barton & Loguidice.
Thursday, January 28, at 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM (EST) Keynote:Paying for Waste Services During the Downturn features a panel that will present options for financing solid waste operations during the economic downturn and ways to plan for the future. EconomistVita Quinn – SCS Engineers; John Chalmers – Baltimore City Department of Public Works; Kim Braun – Culver City, CA
Anytime! On-Demand Resources – at your convenience, these short, non-commercial sessions are available in the SCS Learning Center. Click the title to begin playing.
A solid waste expert, an economist, and a city council member discuss municipal funding resources and strategies. Each brings their perspective and experience to inform and answer questions from a live audience including, the big picture approach, expense-based solutions, revenue diversification and optimization strategies, financial modeling of solid waste services.
This discussion, moderated by Bob Gardner, provides useful strategies when developing a business case analysis for SMM, recycling, or composting programs. The process also helps identify opportunities to increase efficiency, reduce operating costs, design a Capital Plan, and secure support for rate increases. Michelle Leonard assesses the pandemic’s effect on recycling programs, state regulatory policy, and funding challenges. Vita Quinn presents a financial modeling scenario employing financial modeling and solid waste facility software to help decision-makers visualize the impact of various alternatives on the planning process. The model is useful for budgeting and testing alternative scenarios for future waste policies, strategies, and funding.
Cassandra Drotman discusses the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and market opportunities. She covers how the program works, what counts in California, and how other states are using California as a market in addition to their regional markets. She’s not just talking about green fuel; Cassandra examines the increasing range of low-carbon and renewable alternatives that are helping to drive transportation sector fuel pools to cleaner, reliable, and economically viable options.
Each U.S. region faces unique weather and climate events. Solid waste facilities and landfills are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather since they are exposed 24/7 to the environment. Extreme weather can disrupt safe and cost-effective operations, increase maintenance needs, and may compromise landfill stability. Increase your facility’s longevity and ability to survive extreme weather. The recording includes Q&A from solid waste professionals and features Robert Gardner and Bob Isenberg, who bring decades of expertise to the table, including landfill design and solid waste master planning. They provide strategies and resources based on successful solutions that help support your facility as you prepare for and likely will experience severe weather disruptions.
More so than ever before, the solid waste industry faces complex and challenging odor issues based upon public, regulatory, and legal actions. Since odors are generally enforced through nuisance regulations, compliance can be difficult to achieve, not to mention almost impossible to define. Enforcement of odor nuisances is subjective, usually at the discretion of an environmental inspector or Air Pollution Control Officer, and often based upon citizen complaints. When citizen complaints mount and enforcement action is leveraged, lawsuits often surface as an added ongoing challenge to waste facility operations. This free webinar will help you develop capabilities to assess the potential for odor issues and, by doing so, set realistic benchmarks toward cost-effective and meaningful mitigation measures.
Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
ISWA Roadmap for Sustainable Waste Management in Developing Countries
December 9, 2020
The International Solid Waste Management Association (ISWA) is hosting a virtual presentation on Sustainable Waste Management in Developing Countries on December 9.
5 min Introduction from SCS Engineers Vice President, James Law, Chair WGL
40 min presentation from Professor Sahadat Hossain
15 min Q&A (moderated by James Law)
Sustainable waste management is a major issue for both developed and developing countries. Even though source reduction or recycling is the preferred choice of waste management, over 70% of solid waste is openly dumped or landfilled globally. The availability of land/space for building waste management facilities (landfills, composting, recycling, and/or Waste to Energy, WTE) can constrain the decision making. However, we need to pay special attention to both the availability of land/space and the applicability of technology in a specific region (based on waste characteristics). What works for developed countries like the USA or Europe or Japan, South Korea may not be applicable to Asia, Africa or Latin American countries because of the waste characteristics. The webinar will present and discuss roadways for sustainable waste management in developing countries.
The Dallas City Council recently authorized a three-year service contract, with two one-year renewal options, for environmental monitoring and engineering consulting services supporting Dallas’s Department of Sanitation Services. SCS Engineers will use its integrated specialized practices to support the City’s McCommas Bluff Sanitary Landfill, Bachman Transfer Station, Fair Oaks Transfer Station, and Southwest Transfer Station.
Vice President Ryan Kuntz, P.E., the team’s principal consulting engineer, said, “SCS is privileged that the City of Dallas entrusts us to partner with the City’s staff to maintain the landfill and the transfer stations’ safe and efficient operations. The Department of Sanitation Services support the citizens and the environment; we’re honored to be of assistance.”
Landfills are extraordinarily complex systems integrating liquids and gas management systems, and the City’s McCommas Bluff Landfill is one of the largest landfills in the State of Texas. Transfer stations also require expertise in technical and regulatory issues for successful operation.
The City finds it cost-effective to employ an engineering firm, such as SCS, that specializes in solid waste engineering. SCS enhances environmental services with its specialized in-house practices, providing comprehensive capabilities and advanced technologies that improve efficiency and help control costs.
SCS Engineers will provide monitoring and engineering support staff from the firm’s Bedford, Texas office, along with the help of our minority/women-owned business partners. The SCS Bedford team’s professionals and field technicians are experienced and knowledgeable of regional and local geology, regulatory policies, and technical challenges.
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 watch our 50th Anniversary video.
Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:01 am
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