solid waste collection

December 8, 2023

Talk with SCS Engineers experts about your solid waste management needs at BOOTH 203 at SOAR 2024, SWANA’s premier technical conference that brings together industry professionals from all disciplines of the resource management community.

This year’s conference, “Technical Solutions for Resource Management” will take place April 15-18 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Several SCS Engineers solid waste experts are presenting at this year’s conference, including:

Anastasia Welch “We’re Running Out of Space! Now What?” featuring Central Business Unit Director  Anastasia Welch
(Tuesday, April 15, 2:00-2:45 pm, Landfill Management Track)

Alex Stege “Regulatory Changes,” featuring Senior Project Advisor  Alex Stege
(Wednesday, April 17, 9:00-9:45 AM, Landfill Gas & Biogas Track)

Michelle Leonard “Regional Approach to Food Recovery,” with Senior Vice President  Michelle Leonard
(Wednesday, April 17, 3:00-3:45 pm, Sustainable Materials Track)

Stacey Demers “Innovations in Waste-to-Value Approaches,” featuring Vice President  Stacey Demers
(Wednesday, April 17, 4:00-4:45 pm, Waste Conversion & Energy Recovery Track)

Brent Dieleman “Quantifying the Impact of Recycling Contamination on Desired Materials,”
with SCS Project Manager  Brent Dieleman  and Ravi Kadambala (Miami-Dade County Government)
(Wednesday, April 17, 4:00-4:45 pm, Sustainable Materials Management Track)

SOAR brings together professionals and experts and offers technical education, networking events, and peer-to-peer learning. You’ll leave SOAR with actionable, fact-based solutions for all aspects of resource management to implement in your facilities. SOAR delivers practical solutions to solid waste’s most difficult challenges.

This technical conference connects experts and problem-solvers in industry-changing conversations about your most complex challenges.

Click for more conference details and registration information

We hope to see you there!



Posted by Laura Dorn at 11:31 am

June 28, 2017

This article provides the SCS methodology used to make projections for the financial performance of solid waste collection and disposal during a five-year planning period for the City of Pensacola, Florida. The projections were then used to model different possible rate structures for approval by the City Council.

After discussion and two public readings of the ordinance amending the sanitation rate, the Pensacola City Council adopted a new monthly sanitation rate and established a sanitation equipment surcharge. These additional revenues enable the full funding of departmental services to continue and will provide for ongoing replacement of sanitation equipment.

Read the article published in Waste Advantage Magazine.



The SCS Doing More with Less series of blogs, articles, and case studies – real solutions in an era of reduced budgets.


Cutting Solid Waste Collection Costs
A six-month pilot program was initiated to identify possible program savings and how the program would be rolled out to its residents. An SCS Engineers rate study conducted at that time suggested possible operational savings, which could enable the City to defer a solid waste rate increase. The good results shown during the pilot program encouraged the City decision-makers to move ahead with once a week collection. The latest statistical data from the City of Clearwater, Florida shows a 21% decrease in solid waste generation and an annual savings of $107,000 in tipping fees. Operational savings for the City achieved the projected $400,000 savings as forecasted in the SCS rate study.


Assessing the Financial Performance of Operating and Proposed Solid Waste Programs
Financial analysis is an increasingly important issue in solid waste decision making. In an era where the mantra of doing more with less” is on the lips of most political decision-makers, it is critical to assess the financial performance of operating and proposed solid waste programs. The three issues discussed in this article provide some guidelines on how these kinds of assessments can be conducted.


Learn more now.

Visit SCS Engineers at WasteCon and ISWA, in Baltimore MD.


Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

April 19, 2017

The economic concepts discussed in the articles on our website are used by solid waste agencies to help determine the economic feasibility of a particular project, to determine service rates adjustments, and in general plan for the financial health and longevity of operations.


SCS Management Services™ helps many of our clients’  incorporate economic planning, financial analysis, and feasibility studies into their master planning and have requested copies of our articles. All can be found and filtered by topic area, and we are always ready to help you find the information you need.

Our articles may be printed or shared using the icons on the left navigation bar. Or, you may share or email this page to keep it handy. SCS respects your privacy; we do not monitor or collect your email address or information.

Contact Vita Quinn for more information. Ms. Quinn is SCS Engineers’ National Expert on Solid Waste Finance and Rate Studies. She has 12 years of experience as a financial analyst and management consultant. She has extensive experience working for local government and has developed financial sustainability solutions for various general governments, special revenue funds, and utility enterprise funds. Ms. Quinn has an MBA in Finance and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economics.



An Exercise in Sound Fiscal Planning: A Rural County’s Public Works Professionals Evaluate Future Solid Waste Service Scenarios, Costs, and Financing Options



Residential Automated Collection Makes Sense for Idaho Falls



The Nuts and Bolts of Implementing a Residential Automated Collection Program



Conducting a Rate Analysis as Part of a Master Plan Study in Killeen, Texas



Financial Tools Assist in Completing Cost of Service Studies



Conducting Solid Waste Rate Studies and Business Plans



Get a Firm Handle on Solid Waste Costs to Optimize Performance



Cash Flow Analysis Forestalls Long-Term Debt



Is Privatization the Answer? You Need to Consider Several Factors Before Making the Decision for Solid Waste Services



Developing a Strategic Business Plan for Your Agency



Economic Feasibility 101 – Understanding the Tools of the Trade



Assessing a Solid Waste Agency’s Financial Health



Are Your Rates Correct? Collection and Disposal Rate Studies are a Valuable Tool



Integrating Financial Analysis into Solid Waste Operations Planning



High Costs and Limited Markets Put a Crack in Glass Recycling


 Recycling Trends in the United States



Calculated Decisions: An Engineer’s Feasibility Report Can Help Communities and Financiers Assess the Risk of a Waste Conversion Project



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Give SCS a call or send an email to if you have questions. Find your local office here:   Visit our Solid Waste Planning Services page for additional information, articles, whitepapers, and case studies.




Posted by Diane Samuels at 1:30 pm

April 25, 2016

Operational expenses such as replacing collection vehicles, considering and implementing recycling programs, and the impact of stricter environmental regulatory programs can all affect collection fees and the quality of service. Strategic business planning solves the ongoing process whereby an organization determines where it is going… plus how it will get there, and what tools and resources it will use.

The City of Killeen recently worked with SCS Engineers to create a 20-year master plan with modeling capabilities to determine the optimum scenarios that benefit the surrounding communities and one that helps manage environmental safety and the outlay of capital before the expense of planning, designing, and building begins. Population projections, demographics, cost and historical data, among other resources, make up the information that is then organized and analyzed to prepare projections based on changing scenarios over a period of years. This type of economic study enables the planning team on any proposed project to provide a “what if” analysis for the decision-makers with the potential impact a proposal may have on customer rates and fees.

The collaborative effort between the City and SCS has culminated in a long-term financial roadmap and planning tool, which evaluates the impact of operational expenses and provides a basis for planning capital expenditures. The plan is already in use by the City’s decision-makers to determine the efficiency of investing in equipment and a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) as part of a waste management plan. Key outputs of this study included the justification for the City’s acquiring new collection equipment and further assessment of the feasibility of implementing single-stream recycling.

This type of business analysis requires technical expertise in the many aspects of waste management. You’ve got to dig deep into the conditions that present a financial, environmental, or quality challenge to managing wastes in order to deliver a system that is serviceable for decision-makers to use for many years.

More information



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

June 24, 2015

Marc-RogoffMost agencies conduct an annual rate study to evaluate the cost of providing solid waste, recycling, and composting curbside collection services. The study is used to develop recommended rates for these services for each new fiscal year, and to maintain uniform services with a variety of service level options throughout the community. Further, competition from private haulers requires municipal providers of solid waste services to look for ways to enhance revenues by expanding services such as commercial collection, utilizing roll-off pickups, and recycling services. Addressing long-term maintenance and vehicle replacement is complex and risky without a long-term financial plan.

I recommend a proactive approach to engineer, manage, and design a strategic, sustainable and detailed approach to long-term financial planning. A detailed approach provides the flexibility to establish fair, equitable, and effective solid waste system rates while enabling a decision-maker to compare and contrast alternative strategies which address these key issues:

  • Revenue Sufficiency;
  • Fair and Equitable Cost Recovery;
  • Cost of Service;
  • Cost Allocation;
  • Level of Service Standards;
  • Capital Project Needs;
  • Customer Classification;
  • Recycling Incentives.

A rate study, if conducted appropriately, can help provide the agency with a long-range financial business plan. Each rate study requires a task plan and a project concept (pictured below), and to manage the following:

  • Development of a tailored rate model;
  • Identification of a capital investment plan and fleet replacement schedule, including consideration of closure and long-term care;
  • Independent evaluation of personnel, materials and supplies, and indirect expenses;
  • Development of a revenue/rate plan and alternative rate structures;
  • Review and recommendations on the operation of a solid waste system.

In short, the rate study provides a deeper understanding of what rates should be and allocates costs appropriately to various functional areas of an operation. Also, it is used by SCS clients to estimate year-by-year what is possible using various scenarios. For example, a municipality would like to buy 5 new collection vehicles or expand their landfill or recycling center. A rate study allows the decision-maker to assess the impact of the purchase on the current budget; then determine if enough surpluses will remain at a specific point during the fiscal year to purchase, or if a rate adjustment is necessary how much to adjust the rates.


Posted by Diane Samuels at 10:02 am

June 9, 2015

Bob-GardnerBy Bob Gardner, PE, BCEE

For many municipalities, the solid waste collection budget represents a significant portion of its overall solid waste budget. Qualitative and material savings can be realized by focusing on optimizing a municipality’s solid waste collection routing.

A routing analysis involves assessing the performance metrics of your existing collection system, evaluating its unique characteristics, special considerations, and the geography of the municipality; then modeling the system using GIS database information and various modeling software; and lastly running optimization scenarios. The optimization scenarios allow testing of your routing model demonstrating the impact of various assumptions on productivity creating opportunities to improve your overall routing solution.

The City of Virginia Beach is the largest city in the Commonwealth, with a population of nearly 450,000. The City encompasses approximately 307 square miles, of which 248 square miles is land area and the rest water or wetlands. The City self-performs residential solid waste collection for approximately 122,000 customers. The northern sector of the City is devoted to more urban uses while the southern area remains more rural. Solid waste services include weekly automated residential household pickup, weekly manual yard waste collection and scheduled pick up of bulky wastes. The City contracts with a private company to collect and process single stream recyclables on an every-other-week basis.

SCS Engineers in conjunction with Route Optimization Consultants recently assisted the City to optimize their automated residential solid waste collection routes. The following improvements were realized as a result of the route optimization:

• 26% reduction in daily routes
– From 153 to 114 per week
– 38.25 to 28.5 per day
• $2,250,000 reduction in equipment inventory
• $1,100,000 annual savings in personnel, equipment maintenance, and fuel
• Route completion time extended from 7.6 to 9.2 hours, which translates into better utilization of personnel.

In short, the City of Virginia Beach by optimizing their solid waste routes created a sustainable solution and a positive return on investment.

Posted by Diane Samuels at 3:25 pm