Existing solid waste transfer stations are being forced into use beyond their planned capacity and design life, and with Capital Improvements Program budgets stretched to the breaking point, financing and constructing a new solid waste transfer station is not always feasible. The rigors of locating and permitting a new solid waste transfer station alone can make the prospects of replacement seem unattainable.
There is a growing trend of retrofitting and expanding existing solid waste transfer stations. Rethinking inside and outside the transfer station “box” for reuse provides a pathway for existing solid waste transfer stations to continue to meet the needs of the communities they serve. By focusing capital improvements in areas that are most needed, existing solid waste transfer station operating life can be extended to address site specific differences in operations and waste streams in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
It has often been said that form follows function, and within an existing transfer station site, functionality is the most important factor when looking for a way to increase throughput and extend facility life. Examples of rethinking include: consideration of separate entrances to segregate citizen traffic, commercial traffic, visitors and employees; separate and/or automated scales for each type of user; separate tipping areas for citizens, commercial and recyclables; designated parking areas for transfer trailers; rerouting of traffic throughout the site to minimize or eliminate crossings of citizen and commercial traffic; and segregation of spaces for different users to provide for uninterrupted traffic flow.
Rethinking for Reuse
The Goal of Operational Efficiency Improvement
Through the lifecycle of a transfer station site, the areas designated for specific uses are often changed, rearranged and reused for various purposes as the need arises. This can result in overall site operational inefficiency, as the various areas are in competition with one another for space and ingress and egress of vehicles.
Taking a fresh look at the overall site, and rethinking through how each of the specific use areas interact with one another, will result in ideas and opportunities to improve operational efficiency of the site. This article will discuss ideas that have been put into place on existing transfer station sites and have provided improvements to operational efficiency and extended facility useful life.