Scientists and experts agree that climate change is a present-day threat to communities across the U.S., manifesting in both predictable and unpredictable ways. As detailed in the National Climate Assessment Vol. 4 (NCA4), coastal storms are increasing in strength and frequency, forest fires are becoming much larger and more destructive, annual precipitation is changing and increasing in variability, and widespread flooding is becoming more common both in the interior of the nation and along the coasts.
These changes present complex challenges to the waste management industry that must be addressed and planned for. For example, one challenge is an increasing frequency of large-scale weather events and natural disasters, which are creating more debris that must be managed and which affects the characteristics of landfilled waste. Landfill design needs to incorporate precipitation changes and increased threats due to weather variability, flooding, and sea-level rise. Precipitation changes affect gas generation rates and require a diligent reaction to maintain effective gas collection. Because of weather pattern changes, risks of cover material erosion and swales have increased for landfills in both wet and dry climates, which may require stronger natural caps or the use of emerging technologies for alternate cover. Additionally, landfills are affected by an increase in the variability of precipitation and rapid changes between weather extremes.
It is clear that waste management facilities must adapt to these changes in addition to scenario building for pandemics to maintain effective operations. Adaptations available include making changes to landfill design and planning, such as incorporating precipitation changes into the modeling of leachate and gas generation or increasing the distance between the bottom liner and groundwater.
Systems should be regularly evaluated and areas needing repairs should be corrected quickly and diligently. Gas generation models should be updated regularly and collection systems need to be expanded or adjusted to account for precipitation increases or decreases.
More frequent and intense storms are creating challenges for cover material management, liquids management, and maintaining slope stability. Facilities should implement innovative uses of both existing technology and new or emerging technologies.
Communities with waste management facilities should include waste management infrastructure in emergency management plans, including maintaining landfills and collections operations and using landfills as both temporary debris storage and as an option for final disposal.
Since climate change effects vary by region and locale, many facilities are developing a specific plan for adaptation and management. To reduce the inevitable costs of adaptation and maintain responsiveness to weather changes, a reactive approach is being abandoned in favor of a proactive approach.
About the Author: Jacob Shepherd is a Senior Project Professional specializing in air compliance and reporting within EPA Region III. He is experienced in environmental engineering, air compliance, renewable energy, landfill and landfill gas engineering, and environmental services throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and is a licensed P.E. in Virginia.
Resources and Recovery
Get started with these resources and recovery success studies; click to read, download, or share each:
Contact Service@scsengineers.com for assistance starting or refining your plan ahead of natural disasters and pandemics. We offer these services:
Planning for Natural Disaster Debris – help for communities to develop or revise a disaster debris management plan. Many aspects of disaster debris planning can be relevant to communities demolishing abandoned residential buildings and remediating properties.
Guidance about Planning for Natural Disaster Debris – much of the construction or demolition waste can be recovered and recycled. SCS Engineers designs and builds these facilities so we can help locate the nearest C&D debris recyclers as part of your plan.
Planning Financial Response and Recovery – the SCS Management Services™ team offers services to support financial planning and to quickly access budget and operational financial impacts. Eliminate concerns about the upcoming fiscal year expectations and anticipated medium-term impacts of pandemics and natural hazards on local government operations and revenue streams. Address issues such as:
In light of public concerns related to COVID-19, SCS Engineers has proactive measures and contingency plans in place to protect our employees and our clients, while continuing our work. SCS’s Health & Safety practice, in consultation with our executives, the Centers for Disease Control, and industry associations, endeavors to make the most responsible decisions as circumstances demand.
SCS will post updates here as needed, and is in regular and consistent communication with all employees and with our clients.
The environmental reporting season is just around the corner. Every year Ann O’Brien publishes a table to help you determine your reporting obligations. The table summarizes the most common types of environmental reports due to environmental regulatory agencies in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, along with respective due dates.
The professional engineers and consultants at SCS Engineers can help you navigate the local, state, and federal reporting obligations and permitting for your business, in your region, and in your industry. Contact us at email@example.com or find a professional like Ann, nearest you.
Ann O’Brien is a Project Manager with SCS Engineers with more than 30 years of experience in the printing industry. Ann’s experience includes air and water quality permitting, environmental recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring programs, hazardous waste management, employee EHS training, environmental compliance audits, and environmental site assessments and due diligence associated with real estate transactions and corporate acquisitions.
Do Tracer Environmental professionals ever slow down? The SCS Tracer professionals at SCS Engineers were busy publishing new articles last month in addition to Operator Training. We’ve compiled several of them along with the most popular in our SCS library for your convenience. Select a title and start reading. Enjoy!
How to Properly Complete an IIAR 6 System Safety Inspection Checklist Form? When filling out the ANSI/IIAR 6-2019 Ammonia Refrigeration Safety Inspection Checklists, located in appendix B, some of the information required may not always be readily accessible. This comprehensive article takes readers step-by-step through the process.
Epic Fails, Part Deux Failures that come together, form a picture. The author discusses how we can begin to learn from these Epic Fails and start to take steps to prevent them in our plants.
Ammonia Pipe and Equipment Labeling – Part I Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (RAGEGEP), an overview of many of the standards and guidelines that are relevant to the ammonia refrigeration system labeling, and guidance on how to apply them.
Ammonia Pipe and Equipment Labeling – Part II Options facilities have when choosing their RAGAGEP for pipe and equipment labeling.
It’s All in Your Past, RETA Breeze Investing in the knowledge and development of your personnel is the first step towards making your management system world-class in the safe operation and maintenance of your ammonia refrigeration system.
Employee Training Under PSM/RMP FAQs about designing a training program that is part of your facility’s PSM and RMP programs and provides a defensible position during inspections while ensuring that your facility operators and maintainers perform their jobs safely.
Mechanical Integrity, Documentation Discrepancies Checks, and verification prevent big problems.
Managing Organizational Change: How it Impacts Your Ammonia Refrigeration System During periods of organizational change, we must keep in mind the potential impacts on our facility’s PSM/RMP or ARM programs, and on the operation of the ammonia refrigeration system itself.
PSM/RMP Compliance Audits: Who Should Perform Them? What to look for in an auditor for hire? For starters, more than a consultant familiar with PSM/RMP regulations.
Management of Change: Have We Captured All of the Impacts of a Change? It is vital to ask as many questions as possible regarding equipment changes under consideration. With more information, you may find that the proposed changes could impact safety.
We are all trying to wrap our heads around how to implement and document Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (RAGAGEP). There are so many elements to review when codes and standards are released it is difficult to know where to start.
One place to start is with the industry improvements associated with life safety. International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) ANSI Standard 2, Safe Design of Closed-Circuit Ammonia Refrigeration Systems, includes specifications for new construction and can be a tool to ensure your engine room is keeping up with industry standards especially when it concerns life safety.
One change from previous versions of the IIAR Standard 2 is the number and location of eyewash/safety showers. IIAR 2 (2014) is now more in line with OSHA expectations. Keep reading…more from Lee Pyle.
A few years ago, an engineer working for a“friend’s plant” chose to replace their evaporative condenser with an adiabatic condenser. On the surface, the choice seemed like a good idea since adiabatic condensers often provide higher heat rejection with lower water and electricity usage. The condenser was purchased and installed, but all was not well. When not carefully considered, replacing equipment or control programs can have unforeseen consequences such as negative impacts on operational safety.
In this real life example the author examines what information would have made a big difference and significant savings had the right questions been asked.
Click to read this article and others written for those in industries using ammonia refrigeration.
Regulatory policies governing the food industry are in flux giving corporate compliance headaches, but it doesn’t need to keep you up at night with a massive workload. Consultants are an option if you lack the workforce or expertise to conduct PSM/RMP compliance audits.
William Lape, CIRO, reviews the questions to ask of your consultant before hiring. Starting with the amount of experience that the auditor has evaluating programs against the PSM/RMP regulations; review the resumes and auditor’s support structure; training related to the PSM/RMP regulations and how to properly audit; and ask questions, is the auditor familiar with your covered process, or just PSM/RMP in general? Imagine hiring a consultant with the lowest price and discovering s/he has little experience with ammonia refrigeration.
Read this article and others by clicking here.
A fire at your transfer station or MRF can cause significant downtime, lost revenue, and added cost to restore the damaged equipment and building components. The fire department can tear a metal building apart just fighting the fire. Fires can also trigger negative publicity and could result in injury or even loss of life. Even with automatic sprinkler systems in place, fires can spread quickly. Traditional fire sprinklers are designed to protect the building from completely burning down. However, in most solid waste processing facilities, they are mounted relatively high in the building. Placement can result in significantly delayed response times to react to a fire which has time to grow and propagate. The delay can result in significant damage to structural elements, insulation, lighting, electrical, roof, and wall panels.
International Fire Protection recently published an article by Ryan Fogelman suggesting an investment in more effective fire technology safety systems to prevent fire incidents rather than mitigating the damage. The author’s solution is using automated detection of excessive heat using military grade thermal detection to pinpoint the exact location, with automated emergency alerts, remote human verification, and remotely controlled coolants to contain the threat of fire. These are all innovative solutions and certainly seem logical to help MRFs, transfer stations, and composting operations minimize the chance of an expensive emergency that could shut down operations.
Now we face the dilemma of how public agencies and businesses can afford the new or improved technology.
SCS Engineers believes that preventative strategies and designs are superior and in the long term are safer and less costly. For example, system costs typically include the monthly 24/7 monitoring and operation and set up for multi-year periods (e.g., ten years). At one MRF that experienced a fire, SCS Engineers estimated the cost to install, monitor, and maintain a 24/7 fire suppression system for the 10-year period was less than the cost of the single fire incident. Operators and owners are challenged with a business problem that requires integrating specialized engineering and technology expertise with financial expertise to create operational efficiencies.
When estimating the cost of new technologies to mitigate emergencies and increase safety, the financial considerations are paramount. Elected officials, public works directors, private sector waste management decision-makers and public utilities must operate efficiently while providing critical community services, and maintain existing service levels. They must do so while keeping rates, fees, taxes, and assessments as low as possible for the residents of a community.
Environmentally sustainable solutions must be economically feasible to achieve consensus by constituents and shareholders.
SCS Management Services™ supports a comprehensive approach to environmental solutions as described in International Fire Protection, by providing financial experts who work in combination with our engineering and technology consultants to design solutions that support MRFs, transfer stations, and composting operations planning for long-term economic and financial sustainability.
Modeling for a Worst Case Release and the Alternative Release Scenario – not so mysterious after all. Lee Pyle explains it to you in her recent article in the RETA Breeze. Lee is SCS Engineers National Expert on Industrial Risk Management Plans and Process Safety Management.
All of us with over 10,000 pounds of ammonia in our plant system are well aware of the EPA Risk Management Program Hazard Assessment requirements (40 CFR Part 68.20). When the EPA inspector shows up, we hand them the manual and cross our fingers that they understand what they are reading and pray they do not ask a question.
Do not fret; chances are that the inspector at your plant is probably not much more fluent in dispersion modeling than you are. Much debate occurs over how long it would take to stop a release, but you do not want to get into a debate with an EPA inspector.
Read, share, or print Unmasking the Mystery of the Worst Case Release and the Alternative Release Scenario here. Happy Modeling!
Jeopardy question: What is the best way to thaw frozen chocolate?
Chocolate enthusiasts know this and will learn much more at the RETA 2017 National Conference in, where else, Hershey, PA.
The 2017 conference is offering attendees a truly robust program full of a variety of topics, including Technical Sessions in the areas of Compliance, Engineering, Manufacturing & Operations. Hands-On sessions will also be available, as well as Manufacturer Specific Sessions.
SCS Tracer will be welcoming attendees at booth 610, sponsoring Refrigeration Jeopardy, while providing advice and help as they always have. Play Crack the Code and win prizes during the conference. Visit the booth and SCS sessions for hints.