By Daniel P. Duffy, P.E.
August 1, 2019
Transfer Station Operations and Equipment
Transfer stations are the connection nodes in a system of hauling routes. Like the branches of a tree or its root system, smaller haul lines converge onto sizeable hauling routes at these nodes that then load waste for the long haul to large-scale MRFs or a regional landfill. In detail, their design layouts may vary somewhat depending on:
- Property limits and configuration
- Access to regional hauling routes
- And local zoning laws.
Their interior structure will be modified per its anticipated pass-through capacity. As such, the interior layout will affect floor space configurations, loading pit dimensions, access roads given over to truck queues, and whether the facility is open or enclosed.
A simple layout includes a series of loading bays that are adjacent to the tipping floor.
These bays sit lower than the tipping floor surface to allow a parked open-top transfer trailer (usually with 100 cubic yards of volume capacity) to park and receive waste. The deposited waste piles get pushed into the open tops with wheeled bulldozers or wheeled front-end loaders. There is nothing fancy about this operation: no compaction, no baling, no removal of valuable scrap. For facilities with a low volume pass-through capacity, this is a cost-effective design. Larger operations can manage higher pass-through rates with the help of operational systems that increase overall efficiency (defined in terms of the pass-through rate per square foot of tipping floor space) by increasing the final density of the waste getting handled.