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Managing Your Solid Waste System After a Natural Disaster

Feb 12, 2021 | Uncategorized

Managing Your Solid Waste System After a Natural Disaster

Natural disasters – fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes – impact every aspect of society. From loss of life, destroyed property, and disruption of basic services, every aspect of a community is impacted, including solid waste systems. Disasters and disaster debris can impact the entire system, from collections, recycling, green waste processing, transfer stations, and finally to the actual landfill itself.

Case Study: Butte County, California

In November 2018, the Camp Fire swept through the town of Paradise, California, and the surrounding area, including the Neal Road Landfill. Shortly afterward, Blue Ridge Services (BRS) was called in to assist the Waste Management Division of the Butte County Public Works to evaluate the landfill damage and operational ability to handle the expected clean-up debris, which Cal OES estimated would come in for the next 24 months.

Blue Ridge Services worked with state and local officials to develop logistics planning and operational improvements while assisting the landfill recover from the fire that destroyed 80% of the landfill gas collection system and maximizing the current landfill cell to accept 1 million cubic yards of fire ash and debris.

When the cleanup effort started, the landfill tonnage went from just over 500 tons per day to over 15,000 tons per day in just a few months. During that time, BRS provided rapid response drone mapping, design of temporary entrance and scale systems, on-site training, as well as providing regular fill sequence plans to account for rapid changes in tonnages and help the landfill adapt to the fast-changing conditions. In the end, the Neal Road Landfill successfully managed to take in almost 1 million cubic yards of material in only eight months.

Could your landfill handle a 2,000% increase in tonnage like the Neal Road Landfill did? Could your transfer station handle a 50% decrease in staffing like many facilities experienced due to COVID-19?

Our team has 75+ years of experience in operational planning and support. Here is how we can help:

  • Assessment of current site operations and capabilities
  • Immediate topo mapping using survey quality drone flights to give an accurate starting point for planning
  • Calculate site capacity and timelines based on potential fill rates and develop detailed fill sequence plans to show how waste will be placed based on projected tonnage increases
  •  Identification of alternate temporary facility locations
  •  Temporary traffic flow planning based on projected increases
  • On-site training of current and new crews that will be required to handle the increase in landfilled material
  • Assistance with public meetings through media creation so everyone has a clear picture of where things are and where they will be going regarding airspace consumption

Author Bio: Jason Todaro, Solid Waste Operations Consultant, 20+ years’ experience varied heavy construction, utility, and solid waste industries, on-site training.

Email Jason

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