As old landfills reach their limits and new ones open in remote areas, waste management firms are building more transfer stations as a necessary step in the waste hauling and disposal process. These facilities provide a cost-efficient way to transfer waste from collection vehicles into semi-trailers for transport to remote landfills or other end points of disposal. This practical solution also has environmental benefits, since consolidating shipments reduces energy consumption.
Several years ago, Waste Management of Illinois decided to incorporate sustainable best practices into its waste transfer stations as a way to further demonstrate its commitment to environmental responsibility. Working closely with its design firm, Wight & Company (Darlen, IL), Waste Management of Illinois included a number of these best practices in the design and construction of its Bluff City Transfer Facility in Elgin, IL. This was the first such project in Illinois—and one of the first in the country—to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Since then, Waste Management of Illinois has built two additional transfer stations in East Peoria and Crystal Lake using LEED design principles. The sustainable design and construction strategies and methods used for these facilities could be applied to most waste transfer stations. To demonstrate how this can be done, let’s look at some examples of best practices at the Bluff City Transfer Facility.