SCS Engineers will be a Silver Sponsor again at the 2022 Wisconsin Integrated Resource Management Conference (WIRMC) to be held February 23-25, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Green Bay.
SCS professional Chris Jimieson is co-presenting with the Carton Council, and Betsy Powers will talk about her work on the Wisconsin DNR 2020-2021 waste sort, and several of our professionals have submitted abstracts, including Tony Kriel and Mark Huber on using landfills for solar and Jared Omernik on using GIS technology for field data collection and data visualization.
This statewide conference is jointly hosted by the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW), the SWANA Badger Chapter, Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Management Association (WCSWMA), and is coordinated by Recycling Connections.
The conference is currently taking shape, but it will feature plenty of networking opportunities and an exhibitors hall in addition to the technical tracks.
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:
Sponsorship opportunities are currently available.
Meet many SCS professionals at SWANA WASTECON 2021, which will be held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida (Orlando area), November 1-4, 2021.
SWANA’s WASTECON® helps public sector solid waste leaders and their teams plan sustainable futures for their communities. WASTECON has been retooled into an enlightening and engaging executive-level event. The conference has been curated especially for solid waste leaders to immerse themselves in the latest executive topics. Each solid waste leader contributes to this diverse learning and networking experience that makes this a truly unique industry event.
More details to be posted at the conference takes shape, including presentations to be delivered by SCS professionals.
For more information about WASTECON, visit WASTECON.org
FREE LIVE WEBINAR & Q/A
We hope you can join SCS Engineers and our guest speakers for the October 28 SCS Client Webinar on Waste Characterization. We’ll start at 2:00 pm ET. This educational, non-commercial webinar with a Q&A forum throughout is free and open to all who want to learn more about waste characterization to support waste management operations. We recommend this month’s discussion for solid waste operators and facility supervisors, landfill owners, environmental engineers, agency personnel, and those interested in reuse, recycling, and contamination challenges.
To effectively design and monitor a solid waste program, it’s necessary to assess disposal practices and understand the content of the waste stream. Waste characterization studies supply this necessary information. Data gathered during waste sampling can present a complete picture of disposal, which is useful for:
Not just for landfills anymore, these studies are helping Material Recovery Facilities, collection programs for food recovery, organics management, and composting work more efficiently. Together our panel will discuss how states, municipalities, and regions are experiencing some surprising results and how they get the most out of every study.
This SCS panel includes guest speakers to provide a fuller perspective on how states and municipalities use the data to accomplish their solid waste management goals.
Tim Flanagan, General Manager of the MRWMD, manages a large team of professional, technical, and operations personnel who embody their mission of turning waste into resources joins us. He was also the Western Region Director of Recycling for Waste Management, overseeing its 13 states network of MRFs and material sales.
Casey Lamensky has been with the DNR’s waste and materials management program since 2013. As the Solid Waste Coordinator, she works with initiatives to divert waste from landfill disposal and regulations for alternative management facilities such as composting, woodburning, household recyclables processing, and demolition waste recycling operations.
Meet Stacey Demers, a LEED® Accredited Professional and SCS’s National Expert on solid waste composition studies, with Betsy Powers, PE, SCS’s Civil and Environmental Engineer, supporting the recent study published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
SCS’s format allows you to ask questions throughout the event and ask them anonymously if you prefer. A Certificate of Attendance is available on request. We realize October is extraordinarily busy this year, so we’ll send you the recording if you register but cannot attend.
SCS respects your privacy; you will only receive an event confirmation & reminder from us.
Live event and digital. The live event requires masks.
This crossover event provides learning opportunities to users from infrastructure sectors, creating a richer, more valuable experience for organizations to move their location intelligence and GIS forward. Join professionals specializing in the management of infrastructure from several interconnected industries—water; electric and gas; district heating and cooling; pipeline; telecom; transportation; and architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC).
Explore the latest innovations in GIS technology with presentations from Esri subject matter experts such as Cesar Leon, Environmental/GIS Planner specializing in landfill, landfill gas, and waste management applications.
Join SCS’s Brett Heist on the 27th at 9:45 am for a panel session that brings AEC Industry leaders together to share perspectives on the use of GIS to successfully deliver infrastructure projects. Attendees will gain an understanding of how customers are taking on sustainability in AEC, and hear directly from firms who are successfully using ArcGIS to address these challenges. Brett is joined by Josh Ahmann, Laurence Litrico, Marc Goldman, Olivia Godfrey, and Sophia Rodriguez.
The Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference will host an in-person conference October 4-6, 2021, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex. A slate of diverse speakers, a large exhibit hall, and some fun networking opportunities are on tap for this event including SCS’s own women in waste management.
SMM – Vision for Iowa Project Update
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 8:00 AM)
Michelle Leonard’s first presentation will provide an update on the Sustainable Materials Management Vision for the Iowa Phase II project, including work completed to date, and the plans and process for the project over the next 18 months.
Food Recycling and Rescue in LA County
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 9:50 AM)
Michelle Leonard’s second presentation will provide attendees with detailed information on food donation and recycling. Details include how the programs were envisioned, the planning process undertaken by the County, the program results, and the County’s next steps. She will present details on the County’s, private business, and haulers’ roles and responsibilities, and will offer suggestions for how other communities can implement a successful food donation program.
Strategically Planning an Alternative Cover
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 4:15 PM)
Anastasia Welch presents how alternative covers come in many varieties and may be appropriate for an individual site based on a number of design criteria, performance standards, and material availability considerations. Apart from technical engineering issues, long-term financial and maintenance requirements are also considered. And most importantly, how does termination of post-closure care work with an alternative cover?
Anastasia’s presentation will bring current a summary of evapotranspiration and synthetic turf cover systems and the main permitting and design considerations of each. The second portion of her presentation will explore how the financial assurance, post-closure care, and post-closure termination aspects of landfill management are impacted by these two alternative cover systems.
New Chicago office location at 40 Shuman Boulevard, Suite 216, Naperville, IL 60563
SCS Engineers continues expanding its environmental team in its Chicago, Illinois office to meet environmental engineering and consulting needs focusing on waste management and the needs of the electric utilities. Driving demands are industries and municipalities seeking to reduce their environmental footprint while providing essential services and products.
Leading the Chicagoland team, Professional Engineer and Professional Geologist Scott Knoepke. Knoepke serves clients needing remediation and site redevelopment. This includes commercial dry cleaners, retail petroleum sites, and heavy industries such as steel, rail, coal, mining, manufacturing, metal cutting, and plating.
Meet the Crew!
Richard Southorn, PE, PG, with 20 years of experience, joins Knoepke supporting solid waste and electric utility sectors. Southorn began his career in the field performing CQA oversight, environmental monitoring, and soil core/rock core logging at landfill sites. He moved into landfill design and modeling, primarily to support landfill expansion projects. Richard has extensive experience with site layouts, geotechnical stability, stormwater management, and leachate generation analyses.
Brett Miller is a Senior Designer with over 20 years of experience and proficiency in AutoCAD Civil 3D and Maya. Brett is capable of any production drafting and is highly skilled in understanding 3D space. This helps him support designs that fit into site-specific, real-world environments. Brett also creates 3D models and animations that illustrate the benefits of a design to our clients.
Niko Villanueva, PE, joins SCS with eight years of experience. Niko provides engineering and drafting support and is experienced in designing various landfill systems such as stormwater management, leachate and gas control, and foundation analysis. He has also prepared cost estimates and construction bid quantities for various projects and construction quality assurance services at multiple facilities.
Meet Spencer LaBelle, with six years of experience. Spencer provides solutions for stormwater-related projects, including stormwater management system design, permitting, and compliance. He provides a diverse portfolio of clients and industries with stormwater-related services and environmental compliance.
Zack Christ, PE, comes to SCS with 15 years of experience in solid waste and CCR landfill sectors. Zack has experience performing CQA oversight and CQA management of landfill final cover, base liner, and GCCS; environmental monitoring; and logging soil borings. He also has extensive landfill design and CAD experience in developing landfill siting and permitting application projects. Zack’s areas of expertise include geotechnical analyses, stormwater management, leachate management design, GCCS design, and cost estimating.
Route Optimization for Waste Collection Finds Surprising Benefits for Even Small Municipalities
Running optimized collection routes is critical for a waste company’s or municipality’s bottom line; it’s also a dauntingly complex job. This is where experts skilled in waste collections route optimization come in. There could be thousands or more ways to get from one service point to the next along a single route; now think about an intricate web of routes traversed by a whole fleet. Then throw in other possible variables, like different route densities, overlapping vs. non-overlapping routes, and holiday and inclement weather schedules. And if you are like one fast-growing Midwestern city, you have plenty more to take on as you work to stay on top of that growth and changes that come with it.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) help achieve collection route optimization.
One way this Midwest municipality stood up to the challenges is with GIS, which stores, processes, analyzes, and maps spatial data. SCS Engineers’ Emily Smith helped the city leverage the technology to identify and make needed changes, better serve customers, and ultimately save money and time.
“When we came in to help, they had multiple small routes scattered across their service area, which was a problem that became more difficult as the city was growing. Haulers were putting in a lot of overtime to meet deliverables while complying with regulations restricting driving hours. They needed to take more breaks between driving time to stay within those limits, which stretched out their days further,” Smith says.
“Then there’s the wear and tear on tires and the trucks themselves and fuel cost, among issues.”
Working with route optimization consultant Kevin Callen, she used GIS to help restructure and better balance routes.
An ecologist, Smith started using the technology years ago to map out wetlands and for groundwater monitoring. That gave her the knowledge base to figure out how to develop maps to optimize collection routes; these powerful systems are flexible, with broad capabilities and applications.
“I like identifying where there is room for improvement and making visual representations of projects so clients can see the scenario as more than numbers on a page. It tells a story and makes it easier to grasp when they have a visual, color-coded representation,” Smith says.
GIS is useful to map out garbage carts and recycling carts down to an individual customer or street and the number of houses in a neighborhood. It can identify one-way streets or low bridges that larger trucks may need to bypass, among relevant information to plan the most efficient paths. We layer these details and other customizable data to get a comprehensive picture to help design the plan.
Smith began by teasing out information that the city already had. Using surveys created with targeted questions, she could obtain information about specific route challenges (tight alleyways, street parking, confusing setout locations, etc.). The information helped inform potential route modifications.
The outcomes for the Midwest municipality:
Existing waste routes can be modeled in GIS and revised that show impact before and after revisions under consideration. This capability extends beyond fine-tuning residential collection routes. For instance, GIS can do geoprocessing of data to calculate where to put a recycle drop-off center or transfer station that will service a given number of customers.
Additional supports weaved into GIS.
Besides saving labor, travel time, and fuel and vehicle maintenance expenses, routing has more qualitative aspects of gaining efficiencies.
“By talking to collectors with boots on the ground, we find ways to enhance driver safety by identifying problem areas like locations prone to flooding and those with low-hanging tree branches or power lines. Leveraging GIS can also help reduce truck impacts to roads and neighborhoods and reduce emissions. And it can help address customer service issues — for instance, by mapping and taking notes on special backdoor service customers with limited mobility, collectors know to pick up their bins closer to their homes,” says Ryan Duckett, an SCS engineer who leverages GIS to support clients on the East Coast.
For one Texas city, it was a way to systematically and quickly clean up volumes of existing data that had inaccuracies. This was key to later being able to perform an analysis providing intel for route load balancing.
“There were approximately 200 points that needed to be updated to reflect their actual locations. We provided a method to verify and change the information via an online interactive GIS mapping application. They can edit each field, inputting appropriate route information,” says SCS’s Brooke Aumann, who has 14 years working with GIS. The municipality used this same system to review the new routes and provide comments, allowing its staff to be an active collaborative partner in optimizing each route, Aumann says.
Curbside waste collection is hard work. It involves a lot of physical labor, operating heavy equipment, adhering to tight schedules, and sometimes pivoting fast.
“Having this powerful tool that enables us to streamline the process and make collections easier and more efficient is a big plus, especially as we continue to expand and improve other waste and recycling services that depend on, or impact, collections. GIS is a unique opportunity to apply computer technology to come up with practical approaches to real-life problems and realize substantial savings in time and money,” Duckett says.
The International Awards Committee and Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Board of Directors unanimously voted to honor Tom Conrad, the “C” in SCS, with the Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award at WASTECON 2021 in November. The Lawrence award is the highest accolade SWANA bestows on a member of the waste management industry, reserved for those making meaningful and lasting contributions.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for the Robert L. Lawrence Award. I thank you and am especially thankful for what SWANA and SCS are today,” stated Tom Conrad.
SWANA recognizes Conrad for over 60 years of significant influence on the waste management and environmental services industry. Conrad, a Founder, Executive Vice President, and Director Emeritus of SCS Engineers, dedicated his career to advancing solid waste management, most notably through the founding of SCS Engineers (Stearns, Conrad, and Schmidt Consulting Engineers) more than 51 years ago.
Tom Conrad worked on a wide range of environmental engineering projects touching almost every aspect of solid waste management throughout his career. As an environmental engineering firm and consultant to the newly created US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the founders recognized that responsible solid waste management was increasingly important for protecting the environment and the health and safety of the general public.
Leading SCS, he helped the EPA develop the first federal regulations for sanitary landfills, managing and capturing landfill gas, waste sorting protocols, sludge management, and land remediation.
Environmental services, including wastewater management, were always a significant part of SCS services and the waste industry. When new regulatory policies began expanding in the ’80s, SCS’s techniques, technology, and expertise helped a broad range of industries comply with environmental needs and continues today with the firm’s greenhouse gas, landfill technology, renewable energy, remediation, and sustainable materials management programs.
Conrad is also known for hiring and mentoring today’s SCS leaders, many of whom are SWANA leaders, by creating and fostering SCS’s culture encouraging employee participation in industry associations, community, and SCS’s mentorship and leadership programs.
Before his retirement in 2016, Conrad held professional engineering licenses in 24 states. He was a member of SWANA, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Waste and Recycling Association, and the Society of American Military Engineers.
He maintains his “work hard – play hard” lifestyle. He is active at SCS, participating in Board of Director meetings and speaking at the Young Professionals Group events and celebrations. While no longer mountain climbing and biking cross-country, he has a vigorous walking, swimming, and biking schedule.
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.
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 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.”
About 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.