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.
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.
by Tracie Onstad Bills, Northern California Director, Sustainable Materials Management at SCS Engineers
For many years source separation was the primary method for recycling. However, technology has changed how recyclables are collected and processed. China, the largest importer of materials for recycling now strictly enforces regulations on importing contaminated materials for recycling into the country. China’s Operation Green Fence puts restrictions on what material China will accept, rejecting materials that don’t meet higher standards of cleanliness; that means rejected materials get buried in a landfill instead of being recycled.
Regardless of the type of recycling program, the biggest challenge here at home is now minimizing contaminated recycling material. Communities are struggling to meet diversion goals and provide materials to local recyclers that are free of common contaminants such as liquids left in containers or motor oil. My SCS team has assisted communities in the last few years to address contamination issues and I’d like to share what works best to kick start addressing the issue at home.
Recycling Assessments: Conduct a visual and physical characterization study to identify contamination levels using one of these two methods for the evaluation:
Recycling Technical Assistance: Meet with local businesses and perform a walk-through of their facility to collect baseline waste assessment and material collection infrastructure information. This information can then be used to provide customized recycling and composting recommendations, and implementation support such as employee training sessions, providing signage and collateral, referrals, and multi-lingual outreach services.
Review and Analysis of Community Recycling Programs: Review and analyze your recycling program. An environmental engineer can provide recommendations and assessments on how a recycling program can be enhanced to reduce the quantity of contaminated materials. Services typically include everything from examining outreach materials to the flow of the recycling from generation to transport to processing.
Planning and Implementation of Behavior Change Programs: There is value in providing comprehensive programs and explicit outreach materials for increasing the probability of cleaner recycling. Behavior change programs focus on planning and implementing programs that identify key triggers to encourage action in the community. These programs help communicate the importance and value of specific activities to the community and cross any age and cultural barriers.
Contamination is a global problem and is challenging, but there are steps to minimize the problem in your community.
About Tracie Onstad Bills
Tracie Onstad Bills has been in the Environmental and Resource Material Management Field for over 20 years. Her expertise revolves around commercial recycling technical assistance, environmental purchasing, large venue and event zero waste programs, research and sustainability planning, garbage hauler franchise compliance and review, construction and demolition program / ordinance analysis and writing, climate inventory compilation, research and feasibility studies to help clients with comprehensive waste prevention and zero waste programs. Ms. Bills has a BA in Environmental Science from San Jose State University, is a CRRA Board member and belongs to the SWANA Gold Rush Chapter, National Recycling Coalition and the Northern California Recycling Association. Contact Tracie here.
Learn more on the SCS service pages and read SCS project case studies from across the nation to help fine tune your program: