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.
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.
Local governments feed tens of thousands to millions of dollars into their landfills long after closure to continue protecting the environment and people, compelling some of them to find creative ways to offset post-closure maintenance costs and to potentially profit. In some cases, these localities convert closed landfills to active, useful community assets.
Two Maryland counties are among recent SCS Engineers’ clients who are converting their idle properties into revenue-generators that serve their communities—they are installing solar farms, a growing trend on closed landfills. This is consistent with the U.S. EPA’s Re-Powering America’s Land Initiative that encourages renewable energy development on landfills.
Siting solar energy installations
These sites are fairly flat, open spaces conducive to solar installation, and most are near power lines and in regions where real estate is limited and high-priced. While properties like these Maryland landfills provide ideal locations and are inexpensive, the projects command a robust multidisciplinary redevelopment approach. It takes proficiency in environmental and civil engineering designs that protect natural resources while maintaining landfill integrity. Look for consultants with both landfill and brownfields experience who know permitting processes, are up on local regulators’ hot spots, and have established relationships with energy service companies.
One of these projects on a closed county landfill will be a 6-megawatt system, sprawling over 170 acres, the largest solar project on county property. It will provide inexpensive, green electricity to low- and mid-income families, enough to power 930 homes, as well as power county buildings.
SCS Engineers was selected by Ameresco, the solar developer for both projects, to develop the required state and local permits. As the solar developer, Ameresco is performing turnkey services for the projects, including solar design, interconnection with the utility for sale of the electrical power, and operation of the solar systems consistent with a long-term agreement with both of these counties.
“This project will provide financial relief to people of the county and also help fulfill our client’s goal to advance green infrastructure and operations in county buildings,” says Mike Kalish, SCS Engineers Project Manager.
A full understanding of local regulations and proven engineering designs are key to success.
Pulling together the detailed engineering components to secure the state permit and local approvals are involved processes. Knowing the regulatory programs and potential impacts of the design and construction are key to quick and efficient navigation of the approval processes. “The faster you can get through permitting, the better for communities who want access to power. The county officials have made this decision while Ameresco is investing significant capital, and we want to assist in project implementation to enable a return on that investment as soon as possible,” Kalish says.
He and his team key in on what regulators look for and their anticipated trigger points and work to stay a step ahead.
“Because of our familiarity from prior work at these sites, we were able to avoid costly site investigations, thereby saving time in the permitting processes,” Kalish says.
SCS supports clients not just in developing designs that meet regulators’ requirements but verifying, documenting, and demonstrating compliance with all aspects and considering the long-term needs. For instance, meeting the fire marshal’s codes showing the proposed roadway design meets stipulations around access into the site and around solar panel arrays.
“We also take great care to maintain the cap’s integrity and ultimately its closure certification,” Kalish says. “But we have a holistic plan that accounts for more than the cap to be sure that the landfill is in its existing condition once we complete the project. For example, the solar panels mount on a series of ballast blocks that sit on the ground surface; there is no digging involved.”
“We are attentive to mitigating impacts to natural resources and ecosystems, just as we are diligent in protecting the landfill.”
“There’s also adjacent forest we need to go through to connect to the electric grid. So, in our evaluations, we take into account design considerations and impacts to forest conservation regulations as well,” Kalish says. “Maximizing development while protecting sensitive resources, as well as valuable capital assets, is a priority.”
“That’s a quick turnaround considering the diligence and attention to detail that large solar projects require, but it’s important to our client, so it’s our priority too. This is when knowing local regulations well is most valuable. As important is that we have a long-standing relationship with the client where we know the site’s history – all key to being able to move quickly and safely.”
The SCS Engineers and Ameresco Team
SCS is working with Ameresco, one of the largest renewable energy project developers in North America. SCS and Ameresco have very complementary skills. Whereas SCS has decades of experience in landfill engineering and permitting, including varied post-closure uses for landfills such as solar, Ameresco has extensive experience with renewable energy to provide comprehensive turnkey services from electrical design to managing the interconnect to the grid to negotiating the purchase agreements for the sale of power to utilities. The teaming relationship is vital to executing successful projects from feasibility study to design, all the way to completion.
“Ameresco is a very big player in energy, and we are large in the landfill engineering space. Both companies have offices nationwide. We work on over one-third of the landfills in the United States. Together, we have an expansive reach and breadth of experience in every essential competency to offer successful solar projects on closed landfills,” Kalish says.
If you can solve their many challenges, landfills often are perfect sites for a myriad of uses. Landfill redevelopment can be smart growth, taking advantage of existing infrastructure and nearby populations to provide infill opportunities for commercial, industrial, residential, and recreational development, sometimes with an opportunity for alternative energy such as solar power. And more active use of a closed landfill site makes post-closure care more robust as compared with quarterly inspections.
If you missed SCS Engineers’ February webinar, it’s not too late! Learn more about the environmental and regulatory strategies to assess and redevelop closed landfills for reuse and, by doing so, set realistic goals toward cost-effective and sustainable economic development. SCS webinars are non-commercial, and your registration information is confidential.
Our panelists bring comprehensive expertise to the table, including scores of successful landfill redevelopment projects. Using case studies, they will cover the topics your team will need to address to meet the unique environmental and regulatory challenges of redeveloping landfills for solar or residential, or commercial use.
Thousands of acres of closed landfills in the U.S. may be suitable for redevelopment. Federal investment tax credits and state incentive programs and rebates are available, enhancing the financial viability of converting a closed landfill or Brownfields property into solar farms. Landfills have operating expenses long after closing, and renewable energy production can help offset these expenses and produce a more environmentally friendly carbon footprint.
We hope you will join us to learn about evaluating the feasibility of converting closed landfills into self-sustaining or revenue-generating assets.
SCS Engineers’ newest environmental technology application is for use at solid waste facilities and landfills. These sites require specific monitoring and analyses of groundwater and liquids, landfill gas – LFG, and surface emissions critical to facility infrastructure and the environment.
“We work side-by-side with our clients at hundreds of facilities nationwide. SCS MobileTools® supports operating decisions, whether our client is managing one site or hundreds,” states Pete Carrico, senior vice president and assistant director of SCS Field Services.” The App’s interface gives clients quick access to information that drives critical operating decisions and provides data for corporate directives and landfill gas OM&M programs for regional or national operations.
SCS MobileTools® is the iOS and Android mobile interface for the SCSeTools® platform. Access to data to make informed decisions is especially valuable when technicians are in the field, or operators are working remotely. Landfill and solid waste facility owners, operators, and technicians use the new application to observe system and environmental activity securely and in real-time on a mobile phone or device.
Featuring state-of-the-art technology, SCS MobileTools® provides users the ability to interact with a site or facility data, including site-specific monitoring and exceedance metrics for landfill gas, liquid levels, and surface emissions. Responsive, touch-enabled flow data charting is accessible, illustrating flow targets, reading dates, flow rates, and historical flow data analysis.
When compared year-over-year, generation and disposal trends produce information critical to assessing optimal options and solutions that represent significant savings for landfill gas Operations, Maintenance & Monitoring – OM&M programs. For this reason, the savings compound for regional or national operators.
For instance, monitoring and analyzing landfill gas generation and collection data against modeled estimates are valuable information. SCS MobileTools® handles the input, analysis, review, and export of landfill gas flow and related information, specifically flow rates, impacts on gas collection (e.g., extraction well liquid levels), and analytical data for data collection points.
In SCS’s release pipeline, SCS MobileTools® will include mapping and visualization functions in early 2021. SCS MobileTools® is available for download on the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads, Google Play for Android.
Utility Dive reports that Alliant Energy announced its commitment to net-zero carbon emissions from its electricity by 2050.
The “new aspirational goal” reduces carbon emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and eliminates all coal-fired power by 2040, 10 years faster than previously planned. Alliant owns or partially owns eight coal-fired power plants across Wisconsin and Iowa — three of which are slated for retirement or conversion to natural gas.
Alliant’s announcement follows growing commitments by investor-owned utilities to move toward a more low-carbon fuel mix. Xcel Energy, Madison Gas, and Electric and Consumers Energy are among the other Midwest utilities to have made such a pledge.
Alliant reached its 30% renewables by 2030 goal this year and its “intention is [to] keep adding renewables to our energy mix,” utility spokesperson Scott Reigstad said in an email.
Alliant also said it may keep some natural gas-fired plants online, retrofitted with carbon capture or some other emissions-reducing technology, or it could also use carbon offsets to reach that goal.
EUEC 2020: The Energy, Utility & Environment Conference and Exhibition, is set to proceed as a VIRTUAL CONFERENCE, with remote access to EUEC 2020, using a brand new EUEC Mobile App that will be active April 15, 2020.
You can Register as a “Virtual Attendee” giving you the ability to network and learn all from the comfort of your mobile device.
The conference will include presentations on numerous tracks:
Click here for more information and to register
Environmental Business Journal had this to say in their recently published Emerging Technology & the Environmental Industry issue:
SCS Engineers has built an impressive history, set of accomplishments and qualifications in designing, building and operating Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) facilities. In the RNG field, which is one of the company’s most important market areas, SCS creates the RNG by removing almost all other gas constituents except the methane. These other constituents include carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and other sulfur compounds, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including siloxanes, oxygen, nitrogen, and waste.
According to Steve Hamilton, a senior vice president, SCS’s leadership position is a result of the firm’s holistic approach and experience.
Our teams employ decades of energy systems expertise as we analyze and evaluate the effects of variations in processes and the parameters important to success. SCS models, maps, and evaluates complex systems and processes to evaluate plant performance. We account for project objectives and requirements while taking your technical, business, energy and environmental objectives into account.
EBJ announced on January 23 that it is honoring SCS Engineers with multiple awards for environmental business achievements, advanced technology, and another for ASP composting project merit. The official awards ceremony takes place during EBJ’s Environmental Industry Summit XVIII in San Diego, California, in March.
SCS is receiving the Gold Business Achievement Award for a Large Environmental Firm, for outstanding business performance in 2019. We largely attribute our organic growth to our clients interested in Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) and renewable natural gas (RNG) services. Our SMM programs increase our clients’ solid waste management efficiencies, reduce waste, and support sustainable recycling, and our design and design/build facilities convert landfill gas, dairy digester gas, and wastewater treatment plant digester gas to RNG. In addition, SCS’s Geographic & Practice Area Expansion initiative in 2019 enables us to expand our professional engineering and consulting services for liquids management, wastewater treatment, and emerging contaminants from new offices in the South, Central, and Midwest regions of the United States.
The Information Technology Award for SCS Remote Monitoring and Control® (SCS RMC®) software is especially gratifying. SCS RMC technology helps lower landfill operating costs and maximize gas capture by integrating next-generation supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) opportunities such as 3D imaging from drones and virtual reality (VR). Beyond typical SCADA features, our system uses aerial data to compose topographic mapping, 2D images, and 3D renderings. SCS RMC can also incorporate geographic information systems (GIS), thermal, near-infrared, and methane leak detection data. The 3D model in use by San Bernardino County and other clients incorporates a Microsoft HoloLens VR headset that allows executives, facility management, and operators to “walk the site” from their offices, as well as view and control equipment remotely from almost any internet-connected mobile device. The technology integrates with our SCSeTools® platform, in use on over 600 landfills that help facilities continually gauge operational health and spot trends that help determine when and how to invest in infrastructure.
The Environmental Services Division of the city of San Diego, in collaboration with SCS Engineers, is receiving the Composting Project Merit Award in recognition for the composting operation at the Miramar Landfill in San Diego. In collaboration with the City, SCS designed an innovative covered Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting system that will divert 100,000 tons per year of organic waste from the landfill. The ASP became operational in August 2019 and will compost 40,000 tons per year into useful by-products (and has capacity for an additional 20,000 tons). It provides an enhanced stormwater control system, and will eventually run on renewable energy generated from the landfill. According to the StopWaste.com calculator, the upgrade reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 19,015 cars from the road.
In addition, the recent announcement of SCS’s ASP Composting Pilot Program is making headlines. 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. Pilot tests allow 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.
“Managing air, water, and soil pollution prevention are driving state and local regulations,” said Bob Gardner, a Senior Vice President of SCS Engineers. “Offsetting as much of the cost by improving operations, lowering energy consumption, and switching to renewable energy resources is critical to our clients.”
About SCS Engineers
SCS, an employee-owned environmental consulting and construction firm, is celebrating our 50th year in business. We are producing technologies and programs that lower industrial operating costs and reduce greenhouse gases for private and public clients who are establishing goals to reduce their environmental impact.
Our technologies and programs are finding footholds in the agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing sectors as municipalities and companies aim to reach climate change goals without passing all of the expense to consumers. SCS clients entrust us with the management of more than 35 million metric tons of anthropogenic CO2e greenhouse gases every year. We collect and beneficially use or destroy enough to offset greenhouse gas emissions from 7.4 million passenger cars annually.
Meet SCS Engineers professionals at RENEW Wisconsin’s 2020 Renewable Energy Summit in Monona Terrace, Madison, Wisconsin, January 16.
The summit will bring together renewable energy industry experts, utility leaders, government officials, students and advocates for the 9th Annual Renewable Energy Summit. This year’s theme is 2020 Vision: The Path to 100% Clean Energy, and attendees will discuss Wisconsin’s renewable energy future. Learn, network, and prepare for 2020 as Wisconsin’s renewable energy landscape advances to make a better place to live, work, and play.
Planning your RNG pipeline design requires a review of how the project might impact land use, archaeologic resources, endangered resources, floodplains, wetlands, and soil erosion. The linear nature of pipeline projects often requires permits from multiple agencies, transportation authorities, and railroads. Getting the agencies involved early and identifying review timeframes will help keep your project on track.
Betsy and Andy will present two case studies for RNG pipeline projects where multiple permitting agencies were involved. Each project presented unique challenges that required additional coordination with local, state and federal agencies as well as the Department of Transportation and railroad operator. They share the obstacles faced and how you can overcome or avoid them to keep your project on schedule.
Conference Information and Registration
Betsy Powers, PE, is a senior project manager/civil engineer with over 20 years of consulting experience in civil and environmental engineering at SCS Engineers. She has extensive experience in the solid waste field and is currently managing the pipeline permitting and design for two RNG projects. Her experience includes design, permitting, and construction of municipal and industrial solid waste landfills, as well as recycling and composting facilities. She managed the civil site design for Wisconsin’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) system on a closed industrial landfill.
Andrew Zikeli is a senior biogas project specialist with over 8 years of biogas to renewable natural gas project experience and over 25 years of consulting experience in environmental compliance and permitting. He has extensive experience in RNG project development, plant design, permitting and commissioning, and is currently managing pipeline installation for two Wisconsin RNG projects.