Each spring the Washington, Oregon and British Columbia chapters hold a joint Northwest Symposium. SCS Engineers never misses the opportunity to join other solid waste industry professionals from a wide variety of specialized fields. We look forward to seeing you at booth 16. The NW Regional Symposium is a great conference to exchange information and learn from technical experts, such as these speakers:
Michelle Leonard, Vice President & National Expert on Solid Waste Planning and Recycling
Food Recycling and Rescue – Los Angeles County’s Three-Pronged Approach
Ms. Leonard has over 30 years of experience in environmental consulting and project management, with an emphasis on Sustainable Materials Management, including solid waste management planning and facilities. She regularly shares her expertise with associations and communities interested in her work.
Shane Latimer, Ph.D., CSE, Project Director
Using Laser Technology to Control Birds at Landfills – Preliminary Results at a Southern Oregon Landfill
Dr. Shane Latimer, CSE, is an ecologist and an environmental planner with over 20 years’ experience in environmental assessment, planning and permitting. He specializes in projects that are often large, complex, or controversial, and involve a combination of land use, environmental permitting, and other constraints.
Tracie Onstad Bills, Senior Project Manager
Residential Food Waste Prevention Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) Pilot Study
Ms. Onstad-Bills has over 20 years of materials management experience, including working for a hauler, a county government, and a non-profit; she also has over 10 years with materials management consulting firms. She has provided commercial sector materials flow assessments, green events project management, construction and demolition (C&D) research, and recycling and waste management technical support to government agencies and businesses.
SCS Engineers launches a new program enabling waste managers and facilities to pilot test Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting before making a capital investment. There is a high interest in organic materials management (e.g., composting, anaerobic digestion), driven by state and local regulations for diversion of organics from disposal facilities and the desire to reduce carbon emissions.
The organic fraction of any waste stream is successfully compostable, including materials, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, food processing by-products, and biosolids. The organic fraction of the municipal waste stream, which includes food scraps, is about 30 percent by weight, so it is possible to divert a significant amount from landfilling. SCS helps waste managers evaluate their organic waste streams and whether composting is a viable solution for their circumstances. ASP composting is often the preferred method because it is fast, cost-efficient, and controls odors and emissions effectively.
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. A pilot test allows 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.
SCS’ services include the setup and operation of the mobile ASP system. The system can compost up to 50 tons of targeted material per batch. SCS provides all equipment and consulting services, along with the test reports with the process and lab data. The resulting report and data are useful information to supplement a feasibility study (e.g., the quality of the end-products for sale or community use).
Greg McCarron of SCS Engineers comments, “Virtually every town can develop and support a compost program that is locally based and directly beneficial to their community. Our mobile ASP system can provide proof of concept for our clients and the information that allows managers to make informed decisions.”
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.
Voting for the Old Dominion Chapter’s 2020-2021 Board of Directors ended December 13, 2019. After tallying the votes, the following professionals were elected as new Directors, including:
Ryan Duckett is a Project Professional working out of SCS’s Midlothian, Virginia office. He is responsible for Sustainable Materials Management, or SMM, solid waste facilities and municipal planning solutions. Ryan also supports environmental engineering projects related to permitting, compliance, regulatory reporting, landfill gas modeling, construction quality assurance (CQA), and pollutant emission inventories at solid waste management facilities. Ryan is an active member of the SCS Engineers Young Professional Program that connects our young professionals with others providing community support, altruistic efforts, mentoring, networking, and social activities.
Virginia’s Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) organization works to advance environmentally and economically sound municipal solid waste management in Virginia. The “Old Dominion” Chapter as it is known consists of over 300 professionals actively working in the solid waste field throughout the Commonwealth. The membership represents the largest cross-section of solid waste managers, operators, and consultants in Virginia.
The Chapter seeks to foster networking and cooperation among solid waste professionals, including regulators and provides educational opportunities to enhance members’ expertise in the solid waste management field. Members carry out a variety of activities and programs to establish innovative research programs in the publics’ interest, scholarships and technical assistance. Learn more about membership on their website – http://www.swanava.org/.
SCS Staff Professional, Spencer Nichols, supports clients as a Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Specialist. He earned his BA in Political Science/International Relations & Environmental Studies with a Minor in Public Policy at Tulane University. Spencer is passionate about sustainability; in high school, he volunteered at a non-profit organization working closely with community members to create organic farms on school campuses. These farm projects provide healthy food to local food banks while at the same time educating students about the environmental and social benefits of organic agriculture. Spencer also led a service trip to Latin America to help agrarian communities restore their environment after regional industrial agriculture had caused widespread degradation. Spencer became Chapter President of the non-profit Global Student Embassy (GSE) and led a group of students in fundraising and environmental efforts. During his year-long tenure, he worked on environmental and community-based initiatives in California and Nicaragua, culminating in a fully-funded scholarship program for Nicaraguan students to visit GSE Chapters in the United States.
In 2017, Spencer met SCS Senior Project Manager, Tracie Bills, through his network, and learned about the SMM work she performs for SCS clients. They stayed in touch and would occasionally meet to discuss opportunities and the evolving environmental field. When the role for a SMM Specialist opened up at SCS, Spencer landed the job! SCS Engineers was a perfect fit for his interests, education, and entrepreneurial spirit. Five months in, Spencer still loves the work. In particular, he says he appreciates working in the environmental industry and enjoys learning something new every day.
Spencer works for numerous clients and finds the variety of his work rewarding because the focus is on recycling and organics management challenges. He is gaining experience in waste management sustainability and zero waste practices, as well as managing records, producing project updates, and conducting recycling characterization studies. For one of his clients, Spencer is working to identify recycling markets for wood so the materials can be repurposed instead of buried in landfills.
Spencer also conducts outreach, customer assistance, and technical assistance for another client in Contra Costa County, California. He supports their environmental and regulatory initiatives by “educating their clients on materials management best practices to ensure improved outcomes and an excellent customer service experience for everyone involved.” His mission is to help reduce business waste while improving diversion of materials away from landfills.
To be responsive in his role and for his customers, he works in a fast-paced environment. This challenge helps him grow professionally every day. Spencer’s passion for helping businesses reduce waste in a practical manner helps him work toward his ultimate goal to impact his community in a positive way.
Spencer is contemplating enrolling in graduate school to earn a Sustainability MBA; he also wants to continue his work as an environmental consultant in the Non-Profit Sector in his free time. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and photography – all in keeping with his passion for protecting our environment for future generations.
Well done, Spencer!
Find your career at SCS Engineers – We’re always looking for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, who find working for their clients, community, and the environment a rewarding journey!
Do you really need to use a drinking straw? With most beverages, probably not! Make this one change and help America reduce the amount of plastic going into our landfills.
Click to learn more about Sustainable Materials Management.
The initiative to optimize the residential waste and recycling collection system for current and future operations exemplifies the County’s commitment to safe, efficient, and excellent civic services for residents.
The County of Sacramento, Department of Waste Management & Recycling (DWMR) is contracting with SCS Engineers to study and analyze how to optimize the routing, collection, and disposal of municipal solid waste, green waste, organics, and single-stream recycling in the unincorporated area of the county. The analyses will help Sacramento control costs, provide quality services to residents, and lower their carbon footprint.
Using a three-cart system, the DWMR provides weekly residential garbage collection, every other week recycling, green waste collection, and other waste collection services to approximately 155,000 residents in unincorporated Sacramento County.
Currently, vehicles cover 71 routes and collect a total of 151,000 tons of municipal solid waste, 77,000 tons of green waste and organics, and nearly 37, 000 tons of single-stream recycling annually. Materials go to appropriate locations, including the county-owned and operated North Area Recovery Station and the Waste Management owned and operated Sacramento Recycling Center and Transfer Station.
Approximately 60 percent of residential collection activity occurs in the northern half of unincorporated Sacramento County and 40 percent in the southern half. DWMR will use SCS Engineers’ comprehensive analyses and the current residential waste collection and disposal operations to identify options for charting a path forward that will optimize collection efficiencies and reduce collection costs. The analyses examine these areas, as follows:
Regulatory compliance, including comprehensive, cost-effective adherence to all applicable known and anticipated regulations and ordinances
Financial and contractual controls, such as long-term agreements with haulers, processors, contractors, key suppliers, and vendors; infrastructure maintenance and construction
Route logistics and vehicle controls, for example, the number of routes, type of vehicles, safety, carbon footprint reductions, workloads
Community satisfaction with clear communications, ease of disposal, overall convenience, and other factors to continuously improve residential service
The SCS analyses include a model for creating alternative collection scenarios for waste and recycling operations and performing cost modeling. The model gives the County the benefit of insight into many potential options while considering various technology, best practices of the operations staff and fleet crews, and rate structures. The SCS model is in use in cities and counties across the U.S.
“The data and the way it is analyzed and interpreted will lay the foundation for collecting waste and recycling in the unincorporated area of the County,” stated Tracie Bills of SCS Engineers. “The cost savings and environmental benefits are significant supporting Sacramento residents into the future.”
Many schools and school districts are prioritizing a shift toward zero waste and sustainability. However, learning to manage material resources on-site in a more sustainable manner presents operational and monetary challenges. Learn the benefits and steps to plan a financially sustainable program from Tracie Bills of SCS Engineers.
Tracie creates realistic approaches which allow for flexibility while maneuvering the unique challenges that occur. She takes you step-by-step through building a successful program and refers to established efforts such as in the City of San Jose that already have established zero waste programs in their schools.
Setting up a school zero waste program takes time, patience, excellent collaboration and communication, and a team that wants to achieve the same goal of zero waste. Tracie Bills recommends a realistic approach in her article. She provides examples and describes how a consulting firms, such as SCS Engineers, assist schools without materials management programs to launch zero waste programs.
Building a successful program does not happen overnight, but you can do it!
Tracie Onstad Bills is SCS Engineers Northern California Director of Sustainable Materials Management. She has over 20 years of materials management experience, including working for a hauler, a county government, and a nonprofit, and over 12 years of experience with materials management consulting firms. She has provided commercial sector materials flow assessments; organics processing research and analysis; waste characterization studies; and recycling, organics, and waste management technical assistance to government agencies, schools, multi-family dwellings, and businesses. Ms. Bills has an environmental science degree from San Jose State and is an instructor for the SWANA Zero Waste certification program.
The NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse is a program funded by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), which features a community composting facility, located under the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, New York. The compost facility is part of a community-scale composting network. The finished compost is used in community gardens, street trees, and other public greening projects.
Global Green just published the design-build strategy used in this successful program. The full report covers the following topics: