SAVE THE DATE: Join SWANA for its SOAR 2022 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, March 21-24, 2022. “SOAR” stands for Sustainability, Operations, Action, Resources, and it is SWANA’s new technical conference to provide technical solutions for resource manage. It is built on the essence of SWANApalooza, and is driving the power and connection of the solid waste community.
SCS Engineers Founder Tom Conrad Honored by SWANA with the Robert L. Lawrence Award
August 13, 2021
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.
Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
SWANA ARF Publishes New Study Results in PFAS Fate and Transport in WTE Facilities
June 29, 2021
The findings of the studies reviewed in this report are encouraging concerning the ability of today’s U.S. WTE facilities to effectively treat solid waste that contains PFAS and not emit detectable levels of PFOA in the process. For the formation of PICs, the pilot-scale investigation conducted at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is encouraging in its findings that the combustion of PTFE did not create any of the 31 types of PFAS suspected of being potential PICs produced during the combustion process.
In conclusion, based on this research, SWANA is cautiously optimistic regarding the role of WTE facilities in the destruction of PFAS in MSW. The thermal destruction of PFAS in high-temperature combustion systems such as WTE facilities may represent one of the few commercially proven options available to society to destroy these problematic, forever chemicals.
The full report, PFAS Fate and Transport in Waste-to-Energy Facilities, is currently only available to SWANA ARF subscribers. SWANA members receive free access to ARF industry reports one year after publication; the abstract is available online and worth reading.
Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
SWANA Virtual Landfill Challenges Summit
June 17, 2021
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual Landfill Challenges Summit on Thursday, June 17.
This half-day, virtual event will bring together landfill, landfill gas, and biogas professionals from throughout the United States and Canada. Industry experts from the public and private sectors will discuss current and future challenges that are expected to impact landfill operations and landfill gas production, and what lessons can be applied as we move forward.
The virtual summit will be followed by an on-line networking event.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual Sustainable Materials Management Summit on Tuesday, June 15.
This half-day virtual event will bring together the recycling, organics recovery, and resource management professionals. Industry leaders will discuss new US EPA recycling goals, food waste & organics recovery, pandemic responses, and lessons that can be applied as we move forward.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual summit in place of SOAR this June 17th. The Landfill Challenges Summit presents sessions from 12:00 – 5:00 pm EDT and on-demand sessions throughout the conference.
The Landfill Challenges Summit brings together landfill, landfill gas, and biogas professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Industry experts, including those at SCS Engineers, will discuss current and future challenges that are expected to impact landfill operations and landfill gas production and what lessons can be applied as we move forward.
As vacant land becomes more scarce, developers are turning to former landfills, which are often large tracts in prime locations, are now use. Daniel Cooper and Somshekhar Kundral use examples demonstrating how landfills and lakefills may be reclaimed, allowing the community to realize economic benefits in previously unusable areas for development while improving environmental protection. However, redevelopment on such site poses several environmental and geotechnical challenges. The design concepts of methane gas management systems vary based on the site’s subsurface conditions, building footprint, and the perceived risk tolerance of building owners. Several gas management barriers are available in the market today and can be broadly classified into the asphaltic spray-applied liner and the HDPE liner. The use of these liner systems depends on subsurface conditions and the size of the building. SWANA CEU: .50
Posted by Diane Samuels at 8:00 am
Our thanks and congratulations to the SWANA International Solid Waste Design Competition participants
April 12, 2021
SWANA recently announced the winners of the SWDC competition hosted by SWANA’s Young Professionals Group. The competition aims at providing design experience to students interested in pursuing an education or career in solid waste management. The outcome is that all participants are winners, gathering real-world experience to help solve complex solid waste management issues in a supportive environment.
Seven universities participated in the competition: Arizona State University, Wayne State University, University of Southern California, University of Vermont, the University of Texas at Arlington, University of British Columbia, and the National University of Engineering in Peru.
“Our team of judges was impressed with how this group of student design teams engaged in understanding this solid waste challenge plaguing The Gambia,” Competition judge and SCS Engineers Project Manager, Chris Jimieson, says. “The students developed diverse designs that we believe will become part of the eventual solution of constructing The Gambia’s first engineered, sanitary landfill.”
The judging panel included John Welch, Director of the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables; Kaba Bah, Principal Manager at the Midwest GOOH Group in Madison, WI; Lamin Sanyang, Director of Services at Kanifing Municipal Council in The Gambia; and our own Chris Jimieson. The judges have a long association with the Bakoteh Dumpsite.
The SWANA Awards Ceremony features two guest speakers, including David Biderman, CEO and Executive Director of SWANA, and Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Lord Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality, The Gambia. Mayor Bensouda explains in the video how the Bakoteh Dumpsite became a significant problem for the growing community and the solutions they are using to fix it.
Chris Jimieson provides us with an update from his travels to The Gambia in Africa to evaluate their solid waste challenges.
Many of you attended my presentation at the office in July 2019 following the Mayor’s visit. I have continued to stay in touch with our contacts in Kanifing, The Gambia. In February 2020, we presented the project at WIRMC to solid waste professionals across Wisconsin. During the pandemic, Lindsey Carlson and I participated in a series of weekend phone calls to stay engaged in understanding their solid waste challenges.
In October 2020, I presented The Gambia situation as a design project to college students worldwide that wanted to compete in the SWANA YP’s International Solid Waste Design Competition. We asked them to provide a closure plan for the Bakoteh Dumpsite, provide a conceptual design for a new sanitary landfill, and share some cost estimates for each of these endeavors. Seven teams from across the Americas decided to compete. If you are interested, please browse through student design posters, reports, and presentations or contact me, Chris Jimieson.
Thanks to the SWANA YPs, my SCS colleagues, and so many who volunteered to help elevate this project to the international stage.
Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Comment on EPA’s Draft Interim Guidance on PFAS Destruction and Disposal – Deadline February 22
February 9, 2021
EPA is releasing the interim guidance for public comment. The guidance provides information on technologies that may be feasible and appropriate for the destruction or disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials. It also identifies needed and ongoing research and development activities related to destruction and disposal technologies, which may inform future guidance.
The interim guidance addresses PFAS and PFAS-containing materials including:
Landfill leachate containing PFAS.
Soil and biosolids.
Solid, liquid, or gas waste streams containing PFAS from facilities manufacturing or using PFAS.
Textiles, other than consumer goods, treated with PFAS.
Spent filters, membranes, resins, granular carbon, and other waste from water treatment.
Aqueous film-forming foam (for firefighting).
The interim guidance is not intended to address the destruction and disposal of PFAS-containing consumer products, such as non-stick cookware and water-resistant clothing.
The agency is also providing guidance on testing and monitoring air, effluent, and soil for releases near potential destruction or disposal sites. EPA’s interim guidance captures the significant information gaps associated with PFAS testing and monitoring and identifies specific research needs.
The interim guidance is intended to assemble and consolidate information in a single document that generally describes thermal treatment, landfill, and underground injection technologies that may be effective in the destruction or disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials.
As further research and development occur on this issue, EPA will incorporate this increased knowledge into future versions of this guidance to help decision-makers choose the most appropriate PFAS disposal options for their particular circumstances. EPA will review and revise the interim guidance, as appropriate, or at least once every 3 years.
See the EPA website: EPA Interim Guidance on Destruction and Disposal of PFAS.
Comments must be received on or February 22, 2021.
Instructions: All submissions received must include Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0527 for this rulemaking. Comments received may be posted without change to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. You may send comments by any of the following methods:
Agency website: www.epa.gov/pfas. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
Mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center, OLEM Docket, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460.
Hand Delivery/Courier: EPA Docket Center, WJC West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. Open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday.
Comment to NWRA and SWANA (see below).
Industry Comments on EPA’s PFAS Draft Interim Guidance
According to Waste Dive, the document is the first such federal guidance on the destruction or disposal of PFAS or PFAS-containing materials. It describes the available science used in three major techniques: deep well injection, landfilling and thermal treatment. Acknowledging uncertainty about potential environmental effects, the EPA proposed the interim storage of PFAS-containing waste until further research can “reduce the uncertainties associated with other options.”
Industry groups such as the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) said they are analyzing the document and discussing with their members, such as SCS Engineers what the interim guidance means for daily landfill operations. The trade groups will submit comments on the document by the Feb. 22 deadline.
The solid waste and recycling industry is being reshaped by powerful forces – fiscal uncertainty, a critical need for infrastructure investment, local governments pushed to engage in creative city-to-city and public/private partnerships, and the need to leverage technology to connect to our communities and customers. “When we embrace disruptions, we can lean in and make decisions that help accelerate needed solutions and sunset legacy practices that can stand in the way of progress,” said SWANA Deputy Executive Director Meri Beth Wojtaszek. “This has some leaders replacing the phrase ‘before and after’ to ‘before and faster.’”
Visit WASTECON.org for program updates and registration information as it becomes available.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM (EST) Keynote: Outside the Box: Reinventing Your Organization in Response to COVID-19 features a diverse panel that will share some innovative ways their organizations have responded and reinvented themselves to remain relevant during the pandemic. Three speakers provide perspective including, Carlton Williams – City of Philadelphia; James Walsh – SCS Engineers; John Brusa, Jr. – Barton & Loguidice.
Thursday, January 28, at 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM (EST) Keynote:Paying for Waste Services During the Downturn features a panel that will present options for financing solid waste operations during the economic downturn and ways to plan for the future. EconomistVita Quinn – SCS Engineers; John Chalmers – Baltimore City Department of Public Works; Kim Braun – Culver City, CA
Anytime! On-Demand Resources – at your convenience, these short, non-commercial sessions are available in the SCS Learning Center. Click the title to begin playing.
A solid waste expert, an economist, and a city council member discuss municipal funding resources and strategies. Each brings their perspective and experience to inform and answer questions from a live audience including, the big picture approach, expense-based solutions, revenue diversification and optimization strategies, financial modeling of solid waste services.
This discussion, moderated by Bob Gardner, provides useful strategies when developing a business case analysis for SMM, recycling, or composting programs. The process also helps identify opportunities to increase efficiency, reduce operating costs, design a Capital Plan, and secure support for rate increases. Michelle Leonard assesses the pandemic’s effect on recycling programs, state regulatory policy, and funding challenges. Vita Quinn presents a financial modeling scenario employing financial modeling and solid waste facility software to help decision-makers visualize the impact of various alternatives on the planning process. The model is useful for budgeting and testing alternative scenarios for future waste policies, strategies, and funding.
Cassandra Drotman discusses the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and market opportunities. She covers how the program works, what counts in California, and how other states are using California as a market in addition to their regional markets. She’s not just talking about green fuel; Cassandra examines the increasing range of low-carbon and renewable alternatives that are helping to drive transportation sector fuel pools to cleaner, reliable, and economically viable options.
Each U.S. region faces unique weather and climate events. Solid waste facilities and landfills are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather since they are exposed 24/7 to the environment. Extreme weather can disrupt safe and cost-effective operations, increase maintenance needs, and may compromise landfill stability. Increase your facility’s longevity and ability to survive extreme weather. The recording includes Q&A from solid waste professionals and features Robert Gardner and Bob Isenberg, who bring decades of expertise to the table, including landfill design and solid waste master planning. They provide strategies and resources based on successful solutions that help support your facility as you prepare for and likely will experience severe weather disruptions.
More so than ever before, the solid waste industry faces complex and challenging odor issues based upon public, regulatory, and legal actions. Since odors are generally enforced through nuisance regulations, compliance can be difficult to achieve, not to mention almost impossible to define. Enforcement of odor nuisances is subjective, usually at the discretion of an environmental inspector or Air Pollution Control Officer, and often based upon citizen complaints. When citizen complaints mount and enforcement action is leveraged, lawsuits often surface as an added ongoing challenge to waste facility operations. This free webinar will help you develop capabilities to assess the potential for odor issues and, by doing so, set realistic benchmarks toward cost-effective and meaningful mitigation measures.
Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
2020 RAM/SWANA/SWAA Webinar Series
November 12, 2020
The Recycling Association of Minnesota, the Minnesota chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, and the Minnesota Solid Waste Administrator’s Association teamed up to host a series of 10 webinars running every Thursday from September 10th through November 12th.
The webinars will cover such topics as
Solid Waste Management Industry Resilience
The State of Recycling and Solid Waste in Minnesota from the MPCA
Direction of the Solid Waste and Recycling Industry
Recycling and Disposal of Green Energy Components
Expanding End Markets for Problem Plastics
Recycled Feedstock for Essential Manufacturing During COVID-19