Montgomery County Shapes up, Ships out

Montgomery County, Ohio, was well underway in retrofitting two 900-ton-per-day waste incineration facilities with state-of-the-art incineration and pollution control equipment when it became apparent that the project could not be completed within the state Environmental Protection Agency's mandated time frame.

Faced with a 50-mile haul to alternative disposal, the county decided that developing transfer capacity would be the most cost-effective solution - if it was designed with operational forethought.

Some examples of the county's cost-cutting plans included:

* In lieu of constructing totally stand-alone transfer stations, the county converted the existing tipping areas and back-up transfer areas of its two incineration facilities to functional transfer space. The required additional space was attached to the existing tipping areas, allowing for the continuous use of its previous investment.

* The county maximized tipping floor space by constructing a reinforced concrete slab over the existing waste storage pits. This additional space will be used to accommodate self-haul traffic separately from commercial traffic.

* At the South Station, which is designed to transfer up to 2,000 tons per shift, the county incorporated a third transfer hopper for flexibility in handling different waste streams. This was done without appreciably enlarging the transfer station. Prior to the station's opening, the county made the third hopper available to private haulers for transloading their transfer vehicles by existing staff. This service provided considerable revenues and reduced overall cost.

* The county converted an existing storage building into a public waste exchange and recycling facility. Another building wasn't needed since the structure was retrofitted with new administrative space and was equipped with recyclable materials storage shelving. However, an exterior canopy was constructed to provide covered access.

* Non-usable incineration equipment was removed from the buildings to free up the space for other county functions. However, the county is able retrofit the facility with new incineration and pollution control equipment, if needed. Space was left at both facilities so that the county could store equipment and materials at minimal cost.

* The county's vehicle maintenance garage was expanded with additional bays to service the fleet of transfer vehicles and its other fleet equipment.

These improvements, which were completed in late 1997, help the county maintain its low service rates to its residential and commercial accounts. In fact, since completing the improvements, both facilities have handled even higher traffic.