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By Evan Williams, Cambridge Companies

April 1, 2020


The functionality of a solid waste facility is just as important as safety. This all begins in the design phase to help these facilities operate with both in mind.

We have all seen them. Solid waste facilities that are a little long in the tooth, in rough condition that appear ready to collapse, perhaps only being held up by the material packed between the columns with their loose siding fluttering in the breeze. While this is a common state of facilities in the industry, it is certainly not a predetermined result for these types of facilities. Through careful site and building planning, as well a dedicated operations and maintenance program, solid waste facilities can remain in good condition throughout their functional lifespan.

This article will examine several design approaches that can contribute to improved facility durability and minimize required maintenance. In addition, several approaches to operations will be discussed to extend the life of the facility and improve safety.

Designing for Durability

For transfer stations and material recovery facilities (MRFs) the goal is to put your money into the areas that are going to get the concentrated and continual wear and tear. Pay close attention to making these assemblies easy to repair to limit future down time and minimize the opportunities to get debris trapped in areas that are hard to clean.

Focus Area: Tipping Floor/Area

Push Walls: For the tipping area, your team will need to study your incoming material stream to determine when peak times are and the projected volumes during that period. When plotted against your transfer trailer loading times, you should be able to project the volume of material the building will need to hold as a part of your everyday operations. Using this information, you should plot out the size of the material pile you will have, as well as its height. This height will dictate the height of the push and scrape walls that will surround it. Heavy concrete walls are the material of choice for higher volume facilities. These walls should be designed with sufficient thickness and reinforcement to withstand the daily beating they will get from the material as well as the loader. Additional steel embedment, thicker wall assemblies and steel plate facings can all improve the performance of this assembly.

 Read the full article on Waste Advantage Magazine