Latest Ground Force Environmental News
Nov 22, 2019
GFL acquires AGI GFL has acquired the AGI group of companies, including Ground Force Environmental, Robert Cooke Trucking and WasteAway Recycling Environmental. AGI is a provider of environmentalremediation and waste management services, primarily within theKitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario. "The acquisition of AGI expands and complements GFL'sexisting liquid waste and soil remediation capabilities in southwestern Ontario,"Patrick Dovigi, founder and CEO of GFL, says. "We look forward towelcoming AGI's management team and employees, led by [AGI founder] Dan Forsyth,to the GFL team, and continuing to provide its customers with sustainableenvironmental solutions." Why experience matters when building a transfer station For constructing a facility that can stand up to the rigors of the job, finding the right architects and contractors is a must. I hear it all the time: “I’ll get an architect to design my transfer station, and then it will be easy to just find anyone to build it.” I’m here to tell you it’s not that simple. Some people think these facilities are just concrete and steel—they can’t be that difficult to build, right? Well, there are myriad factors that come into play during construction where the intent of the design just can’t be made clear enough. During these times, experienced and knowledgeable professionals are needed to take the lead. The tipping floor While many people think the tipping floor is just a concrete floor with rebar, so much more goes into the design and the makeup of the concrete itself. I would venture to say 99 percent of the architect and engineering firms out there don’t know how to design a tipping floor to withstand the abuse it takes on a daily basis. On top of that, 99 percent of contractors don’t know how to properly pour the concrete or place the rebar in these facilities. By using a general contracting firm to design or build transfer stations, it is highly likely that a basic tipping floor installed by inexperienced contractors will wear down too fast (sometimes within three to seven years) and cost a lot of money in inefficiencies and repairs over the life of the facility. By contrast, a proper concrete mix design can keep tipping floors intact for over 15 years without the need for repairs. In terms of pouring the floor, the contractor must have experience with the right mix in order to do it correctly. Contractors need to understand how many control joints should be placed and where, why the floor should slope a certain way, how the rebar needs to be placed, why testing is important and how many tests are necessary for the mix during placement, how to cure the floor to limit stress cracks, and various other considerations. With all these job-specific requirements, being able to rely on a building team that has specialized in transfer station construction or other similar types of jobs is critical. The cast-in-place walls Similar to the exacting nature of pouring floors, transfer station walls require steel embeds placed in specific locations. Whether it be for push, scrape, curb or pit walls, these require placement at precise locations for a very specific purpose. The contractor must have experience with these walls since they are responsible for the guidance and verification of the placement on all embeds and must understand the reasons why they are to be placed in specific locations. Otherwise, general concrete contractors who don’t have experience with them may arbitrarily change steel placements because they don’t understand why a wall was designed in that particular way. Photo Credit Cambridge Companies Push wall footing subgrade During building, I have heard of inexperienced contractors advocating for using tilt-up, precast walls instead of pouring the embeds in place. This is never the answer, as these will not hold up or take the abuse of the facility. Additionally, contractors must understand the pour sequence and placement of the cold joints in order to maintain the integrity of the wall. This kind of information is not included in the design drawings and is another reason why operators must hire a competent, experienced contractor for designing and building their facility. The metal building Metal buildings are another transfer station component that require a more nuanced construction process than what some might expect. The primary objective of the metal building is to construct a safe space away from the daily operations, while constructing it so that there are no pockets where trash can accumulate. This is why having a dialed-in set of parameters is a must during construction. For these reasons, straight columns are preferred. Some other metal building design best practices include ensuring there is a maximum depth on the columns, using straight girt conditions on some walls and bypass on others, having specific girt locations for the closure plate to sit on, installing a piece of tube steel to support the pit deflector that is specifically designed for that purpose, and galvanizing the secondary members for long-term durability. Contractors should also order overhead door jambs that are heavier duty in nature than their standard counterparts so they can handle the weight and operations of the large coiling doors. Upgrades like these aren’t always known or conveyed properly within the architect’s design, but contractors must know these requirements in advance for them to be built into the facility design operation. The metal building is a key component to the long-term success of a facility, and as such, it is important that these are built correctly the first time. Choosing a contractor The operator’s goal when picking a design and build team should be to find one with the experience needed to construct a facility that is operationally efficient, durable and requires as little long-term maintenance as possible. Most owners don’t have experience building these sites, so they haven’t developed the expertise required to tell an architect and contractor how it should be done. Moreover, owners don’t have the time to go over the fine details of the build because they have to focus on their daily operations. Owners put their trust in architects and contractors and should expect that they know what they are doing relative to the project. However, it seems all too often, people in the industry have architects and contractors who don’t even know what a transfer station is when beginning the project. These are not the people who can be trusted with taking on the responsibilities of the task at hand. Finding the right fit These facilities are a major investment. Operators need to trust the team they hire and know these professionals understand the operations of the facility and why certain site-specific building specs are important. Undergoing a qualifications phase before selecting a team can be helpful. During this process, it is wise to engage several architects and contractors, bring them in and ask for their statements of qualifications for similar projects, references and resumes of the team members who will be working on the project. Then, select the best fit for your needs. While price is an important part of any decision for businesses, this shouldn’t be the deciding factor when thinking about transfer station construction. This will be one of the most important decisions of your career, and it needs to be managed accordingly. This article originally appeared in the October issue of Waste Today. Jeff Eriks is a vice president of business development & marketing at Cambridge Companies in Griffith, Indiana, a design-build firm working with the waste industry for more than 20 years. He can be reached via email at JeffEriks@CambridgeCoInc.com. Leyline Renewable Capital to finance development of two anaerobic digestion facilities Leyline Renewable Capital announced that it has entered into an agreement with RNG Energy Solutions to provide bridge funding for the development of two new anaerobic digestion facilities located in Philadelphia and Linden, New Jersey. Leyline Renewable Capital , Durham, North Carolina, announced that it has entered into an agreement with Hampton, New Hampshire-based RNG Energy Solutions to provide bridge funding for the development of two new anaerobic digestion facilities located in Philadelphia and Linden, New Jersey. Leyline Renewable Capital works with developers like RNG Energy Solutions to provide capital for the pre-construction phase of renewable energy projects, including permitting, engineering, site analysis and securing interconnection agreements. “Leyline Renewable Capital has demonstrated a unique understanding of the anaerobic digestion space and the specific challenges that come with renewable energy development,” James Potter, president of RNG Energy Solutions, says. “RNG brings 30 years of experience to the table, and we strongly value a financing partner that shares our deep understanding of the renewable energy industry and the capital needs of developers. With Leyline Renewable Capital, we have found that ideal combination and are confident that these two facilities represent the first of many opportunities to work together.” The two RNG Energy facilities will each be able to take in up to 1,100 tons of organic waste per day, resulting in the daily production of up to 3,000 dekatherms of renewable natural gas, equivalent to the energy value of 26,000 gallons of gasoline. This production of renewable natural gas for use as vehicle fuel will also result in significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 135 million fewer miles driven by gas-powered cars annually, the company says. “We started Leyline to ensure that renewable energy projects like these RNG Energy Solutions facilities make it through the critical pre-construction phase,” Erik Lensch, CEO of Leyline Renewable Capital, says. “These projects are the backbone of the next-generation clean energy infrastructure needed to meet ambitious sustainability, waste reduction and renewable energy goals to combat climate change. Our team of experienced renewable energy professionals understands development first-hand, and the important role flexible pre-construction capital plays in ensuring projects like these meet key deadlines and are financially viable in the communities they serve.” The two RNG Energy facilities being financed by Leyline will be among the largest carbon reduction facilities built in their respective states, Leyline says. The Philadelphia facility is located on a 23-acre portion of the former 1,400-acre Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. It will take in organic waste from the Philadelphia metro region and transform it into renewable natural gas which will be injected into the interstate pipeline and sold as transportation fuel. The second project is located just outside New York City in Linden and takes organic waste streams from northern New Jersey and the New York metro area. Waste processed at this facility will be converted into biomethane which will be refined to pipeline quality gas. This facility will allow the greater northern New Jersey and New York City region to reduce waste disposal costs and significantly reduce carbon emissions. It is also expected to create more than 400 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, and the facility will ultimately employ 30 full-time staff on-site with an additional 40 jobs associated with hauling and off-site processing. During America Recycles Day 2018 , which took place Nov. 15, the EPA hosted its first America Recycles Day Summit, which brought together stakeholders from across the U.S. recycling system to join the EPA in signing the America Recycles Pledge. Participants included representatives from federal, state, local and tribal governments; the recycling industry; nonprofits; manufacturers; and product brands. According to the EPA, all 45 signing organizations, including the EPA, pledged to work together over the course of 2019 to identify specific actions to take in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. recycling system. The EPA highlights some of these actions taken by stakeholders in its 2019 National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System. Areas the report looks at include recycling education, recycling infrastructure, secondary materials markets and measurement. Recycling education and outreach According to the EPA’s report, most Americans believe recycling provides an opportunity for them to protect the environment. However, it can be difficult for consumers to understand what materials can be recycled as well as how and where to do so. The EPA’s report indicates the need for the U.S. to develop clear, consistent messages about proper materials management activities that enable consumers to recognize the value of reusing, recovering and recycling materials as well as the value of buying products with recycled content. Some challenges in this area include inconsistent messaging about recycling; products being labeled as recyclable that aren’t supported by infrastructure or secondary markets in a specific location; and limited public awareness about the role of the commodities market in developing better recycling programs. Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: • Keep America Beautiful , Stamford, Connecticut; The Recycling Partnership , Falls Church, Virginia; and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition , Charlottesville, Virginia, have developed an infographic that highlights positive messages about the U.S. recycling system. • The Recycling Partnership announced the launch of DIYSigns , a free online resource that can be used to educate consumers on what can be recycled in their areas. • The Can Manufacturers Institute , Washington, and the National Association of Convenience Stores , Alexandria, Virginia, jointly published a report in April 2019 called The Value of Can and Bottle Recycling , which offers guidance to convenience store retailers on how and why to implement recycling programs at their stores. • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment , with assistance from The Recycling Partnership, surveyed material recovery facilities (MRFs) to identify the top contaminants recyclers are receiving. The report sets goals for 2020 to develop and make available a set of common recycling messages on nationally significant issues. Enhancing infrastructure According to the EPA’s report, America’s existing recycling infrastructure has not kept pace with today’s changing materials stream. Contamination in the stream can cause equipment failures and halt production lines to allow for the removal of unwanted materials. The EPA’s report states that it hopes for a more holistic, modern and adaptable national recycling infrastructure that embraces innovation and is resilient to changes in material streams, markets and consumer expectations. Some challenges in this area include the lack of resilient recycling infrastructure; insufficient investment to improve or enhance infrastructure capacity; high costs of recycling in some parts of the country; and regional differences on managing materials. Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: • The Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) research program, in coordination with 16 member companies, operated a pilot program to collect flexible film packaging from a single-stream curbside recycling system. • The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is offering regional recycling infrastructure grants to help areas develop or refurbish residential commingled recycling infrastructure. • The Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute , West Henrietta, New York, has 31 public-private partnerships focused on reducing the cost of technologies needed to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials. In 2020, the report states there are goals to conduct and compile research on successful infrastructure investments and potential investment opportunities as well as continue support for the MRFF pilot project. Secondary materials markets Recent policy changes, including import restrictions in China and other nations in Southeast Asia, have accelerated the need to improve domestic markets for recyclable materials and products, the EPA states in its report. The EPA adds that it aims to improve the quality of recycled materials so they can more easily be incorporated into products and drive demand for domestic recycling markets. According to the EPA, some challenges in this area include a need for contract restructuring between municipalities and MRFs in order to better insulate MRFs for market fluctuations; established end markets and MRF technologies are not always being used effectively to identify recyclables that can be included in recycling programs; and the need for more well-crafted policies to encourage robust recycling markets. Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: • The National Recycling Coalition , Erie, Colorado, in partnership with the EPA, the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling , Austin, Texas, and the California Resource Recovery Association hosted three market development workshops across the country that featured information to spur regional markets for recycled materials. Four more workshops are planned in 2020. • The National Recycling Coalition, in partnership with More Recycling, is working to connect sellers of recyclable materials with potential buyers to create a virtual or web-based marketplace. • The Association of Plastic Recyclers , Washington, in partnership with The Recycling Partnership, more than doubled the number of companies participating in the Demand Champion Program . • The Recycling Partnership has developed a best practices document related to MRF processing contracts. The EPA report sets goals for 2020 to continue to promote government programs to purchase recycled materials, such as EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. It also sets goals to identify and work with companies designing packaging and products to encourage the use of recycled content and improve recyclability of goods. Enhance measurement A variety of definitions and recycling rate methodologies exist across the U.S., which creates challenges when setting goals and tracking progress on improving recycling rates, says the EPA report. Stakeholders across the recycling system agree that more consistent measurement methodologies are needed for waste management. The EPA says it hopes to establish standardized recycling metrics that are supported by consistent terminology and methodology. Some challenges in this area include varying measurement definitions causing confusion and limiting understanding of recycling system performance, as well as the lack of methodologies available to classify some municipal solid waste management materials and activities. Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: • A workgroup started to compile information on a range of recycling metrics and measures for use by organizations across the recycling system. The workgroup also compiled a list of published definitions of recycling from the EPA and other publicly available sources and used it as the basis for a draft definition of recycling. In addition, the workgroup developed a recycling system map showing the flow of materials through the system. • The Can Manufacturers Institute and the Aluminum Association , Arlington, Virginia, jointly produced a sustainability key performance indicator report on the aluminum beverage can focused on a few key metrics. • EPA aims to revise the 1997 document Measuring Recycling: A Guide for State and Local Governments to serve as a tool for states to help standardize reporting information. • EPA hopes to update its Recon Tool, which calculates greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with recycled content material. In 2020, the report states there are goals to provide input to develop additional draft definitions associated with materials flow through the system and to develop a central compilation of data and metrics used to measure recycling or components of the recycling system. Batteries will no longer be accepted in recycling collected from residential properties in Minneapolis, officials in the city reported on Nov. 19. Rechargeable batteries, lithium batteries and items containing batteries such as electronic cigarettes and cellphones are no longer allowed in the city’s garbage and recycling carts, according to a news release issued by the city of Minneapolis. Alkaline batteries, including single-use AAA and AA batteries can still be disposed of in residential garbage carts. According to a news release from the city, Hennepin County, Minnesota, recently discontinued its battery collection program at community locations including city and county buildings, libraries, schools and community centers because of a fire at one of its community drop-off locations caused by a vaping device. Hennepin County will still accept batteries at permanent drop-off locations in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. It will also accept batteries at hazardous waste drop-off events located around Minneapolis in the spring, summer and fall. The city has encouraged its residents to reach out to Call2Recycle , headquartered in Atlanta, to learn about additional retail drop-off sites to recycle or dispose of rechargeable batteries.