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Articles from 1998 In December

composting: Scraps Help County Compost Program

Most homeowners would protest a trash dump behind their houses, but thousands of Alameda County, Calif., residents are adding more scraps to their backyard heaps - thanks to a thriving home composting program.

Since the San Leandro, Calif.-based Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Recycling Board launched its home composting program in 1991, the program has reached thousands of its citizens and won awards statewide from the California Resource Recovery Association, Sacramento, and the Alameda County and Western Regional Fairs Associations, Pleasanton, Calif.

The county estimates that approximately 30 percent of its households compost at home. More than 35,000, or 12 percent, of the single-family households have bought compost bins from the county at $17 to $38 per unit. In addition, county-sponsored composting classes have attracted 12,000 people, while 5,000 more have received free educational videos.

The authority also offers comprehensive educational support for home composting, including free classes, videos, brochures, demonstration gardens, a master composter training program and a Rotline, (510) 444-SOIL.

The program has proven to be cost-effective. Over the life of the compost bin, the average household will recycle almost three tons of material at an average cost of $18 per ton. This compares to the national average of $66 per ton for curbside collection and composting of residential debris, and disposal costs of approximately $80 per ton in Alameda County.

Initially, program participants were gardeners or recyclers, who composted enthusiastically with little prompting. But the authority soon realized that the next tier of residents needed a different approach.

The 1996 telephone survey found that 11 percent of residents who did not compost would be highly likely to participate in the program if they learned more about composting. However, the program already had maximized all available free or low-cost promotion, including garbage bill inserts, flyers and news coverage.

As this type of outreach became more difficult to secure and less effective, the county turned to more effective, and expensive, options - direct mail, paid newspaper advertising and broadly advertised one-day sale events. The authority discovered that new households needed to be exposed repeatedly to the campaign before they composted.

To maximize its second-tier promotions, county composting program officials emphasize their live telephone support Rotline and accept credit card orders for bins over the phone.

The authority also recently produced a free 22-minute how-to video, distributed in a reusable, postage-paid package, so that it can be returned and viewed by others. This video has received free cable coverage to a wide audience and is available at public libraries.

Future plans include a residential and an institutional grasscycling campaign. Designed to promote leaving cut grass on the lawn, the campaign hopes to give financial rewards and other incentives, such as rebates on mulching mowers to residents and institutions that grasscycle. An aggressive public education campaign will follow.

The institutional campaign will target landscapers and lawn maintenance professionals, including "mow, blow and go"-type operations. Combined with the residential campaign, this type of outreach is expected to reduce the significant amount of green waste that continues to be disposed of, despite existing curbside and self-haul recycling options.

Given the ambitious state and local diversion mandates, combined with the fact that 31 percent of material currently landfilled is organic waste, the county knows that its compost program still has more work to do.

Not a Job to Die For

In May of this year, a roll-off truck driver in St. Louis neglected to lower the container boom on his vehicle. With the truck traveling at 45 miles per hour on the interstate, the boom smashed a concrete pier that was holding up an overpass and produced a crack that looked like the spiraling stripe on a barber pole, according to witnesses.

The accident stopped traffic for hours along the interstate and forced officials to restrict traffic on the overpass road for 73 days while repairs were made. The driver was fired, and the waste management company paid a $250,000 share of the repair bill.

In February 1998, a maintenance worker at a landfill near Atlanta failed to lock-out/tag-out a tire grinder properly. When the man climbed into the machine to perform repairs, it somehow turned on. He died before the paramedics could arrive.

In mid-'98, a temporary employee working for a municipal collection operation in New York state positioned himself half-in and half-out of his truck to push the trash onto the a transfer station floor. Somehow, the compactor activated and crushed him to death.

Accidents in the waste management industry can be bizarre, costly and, all too often, deadly. "If you lose concentration for just a second while working with machinery and hydraulics, [accidents] can happen very quickly," says Tim Ayer, a vice president with the Noyle W. Johnson Insurance Agency, Montpelier, Vt.

Ayer works with Portland, Maine-based Acadia Insurance Co. to provide insurance, develop safety programs and track safety performance for Casella Waste Systems, Rutland, Vt.

Despite the importance of safety, or perhaps because of it, few waste management companies are willing to talk publicly about the issue.

However, don't misinterpret this silence, Ayer cautions. "All of the top companies have gotten religious when it comes to safety," he says. "You don't get to be that large without thinking about safety." Small operators may have more safety issues that need addressing, he adds.

While statistics breaking out accidents in the waste management industry are as difficult to come by as is information about safety programs, companies point to lower insurance and worker's compensation costs as proof that effective programs reduce the frequency and severity of accidents.

In some cases, the lower insurance costs produced by a good safety program may not only pay for the program, but also may add substantially to the bottom line.

Safety Awareness The Transportation Research Board of the Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. conducts annual workshops that study human factors in transportation.

At a workshop conducted several years ago, panelists cited "awareness" as one of the most important factors in promoting safety. According to the panel, there are two types of awareness:

* Situational awareness describes a driver's awareness of road/weather conditions and of other nearby vehicles.

* Awareness of capabilities describes a driver's understanding of what he or she can do with a vehicle. This might include judging gaps in traffic, crossing conditions at intersections or passing conditions.

The panel went on to say that awareness may be even more important to safety than the driver's actual skill level. For example, drivers who are aware of their limitations are more apt to avoid situations that would tax their capabilities.

Other insurance industry studies have found that wearing a safety belt makes drivers safer, but not for the obvious reason. Drivers who wear safety belts, it seems, have fewer accidents than those who don't. These studies speculate that the simple act of buckling a safety belt raises a driver's awareness of safety and, thus, leads to safer driving.

In his work with Casella, whose combined companies have 1,043 employees, Ayer tries to raise awareness of the specific safety problems in each operational area: collection, material recovery facilities (MRFs), landfills and transfer stations.

Collection operations often produce two types of insurance exposures, according to Ayer. "First, there are back injuries due to lifting," he says. "It's important to have training programs to teach crews how to lift properly.

Truck technology, such as automatic lifts on trucks, also can help to improve performance in this area and to minimize exposure to workers' compensation injuries.

"Second is exposure to vehicle accidents," he continues. "The most important thing to be careful of is backing up to get to and from containers. Cameras on the rear of trucks and driver training helps a lot in these areas."

For MRF employees, workers' compensation injuries come in the form of cuts and bruises on the hands from not wearing the proper gloves, says Ayer, who notes that Tevlar and rubber gloves can reduce such injuries. MRF workers also should be aware of slips and falls, problems that can be allayed by wearing proper shoes.

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires hard hats and goggles for MRF work, Ayer says that consistent management oversight is needed to ensure that employees use the required safety equipment.

"It costs $150,000 for an eye replacement operation," he says. "But goggles that cost a couple of dollars can prevent that kind of accident. Employees have to wear the goggles, and management on the floor has to impose firm policies about using such equipment.

"The first time you find an employee without goggles, [management should] issue a warning," he suggests. "The second time, [management should] send the employee home for the day. The third time, the employee should be terminated. There must be consequences for failing to follow the safety manual."

Top landfill safety concerns involve equipment-related fires. "Landfills use a lot of heavy equipment, and the biggest exposures come from fire in the equipment," Ayer says. "It's important that the equipment have effective fire suppression systems.

"Landfills also have general liability exposures related to public access," he continues. "You need proper fencing to keep the public away from areas that pose safety threats."

Transfer stations often must deal with tarping problems. Several years ago, one of Ayer's clients reported several serious injuries when employees fell off of trucks while trying to cover loads with tarps. "The company installed automatic tarping equipment on its trucks and eliminated this problem," Ayer says.

By and large, Casella follows Ayer's safety recommendations, according to Jack Haen, the company's safety manager. In collections, for example, new hires ride with experienced drivers who teach trainees how to avoid backing up whenever possible, how to back up safely when necessary and how to test containers before lifting.

All single-driver Casella trucks have back-up cameras, and specifications for new trucks have included cameras for several years now. All trucks that move trash from transfer stations and landfills use automatic tarping equipment.

"In our MRFs, we provide Tevlar gloves as well as rubber-palmed gloves," Haen says. "We also provide arm protection. Most of these things are voluntary, and I haven't seen any cuts since I've been here. Should a particular kind of injury become an issue, then we might set safety requirements in particular areas."

Haen also oversees a program to help employees pay for safety boots. The program reimburses employees for boot costs up to $50 and helps them to pay for more expensive footwear through payroll deduction programs.

Casella covers mandated OSHA safety training programs with annual training sessions related to using fire extinguishers, fork lift operation and lock-out/tag-out procedures for equipment maintenance. Safety goggles and hard hats also are required and carefully monitored, per OSHA regulations.

"We offer employees inoculations for illnesses that can be spread by blood-born pathogens, particularly Hepatitis B," Haen adds. "This has been required by OSHA for five years."

To maintain safety awareness among employees, Casella underscores safety with cash incentive programs. "We have safe driving and safe working awards programs in which employees can earn up to $300 per year," Haen says.

"If a driver or worker goes without an accident or injury for six months, we'll pay $100," he continues. "For going the next six months without an accident, we'll pay an additional $100 for that period, plus $100 for working safely for an entire year."

The results of the award program argue for the effectiveness of the approach. Last year, Casella paid out $34,700 to 425 drivers - more than half of the company's 800 drivers.

Casella's safety programs have earned dividends in the form of lower insurance costs. For example, workers' compensation insurance rates are set by something called the "experience modification factor," which will vary above and below a value of 1.

Insurance companies calculate experience modification factors by considering the frequency and severity of accidents occurring over a three-year period. For a company with an experience modification factor of 1, an insurance carrier will offer the average rate offered to all companies in the industry, within that state.

A company with an experience modification factor of 1.5 will pay 1.5 times the average rate, while a company with an experience factor of 0.5 will pay half the average rate.

The experience modification factor becomes even more important when viewed in context with Casella's interest in acquiring other waste management companies.

"When we pick up a new company with a good rate, that helps our overall rate," Haen says. "On the other hand, a company with a bad rate can hurt. Our acquisition teams look at the safety record of potential acquisitions and factor it into the final decision."

Over the years, despite numerous acquisitions, Casella has hammered away at safety awareness and has driven the company's experience modification factor down to 0.94, which allows a discount of 6 percent from the average insurance rates paid in the waste management industry.

To maintain safety awareness among management, Haen and Ayer talk weekly to evaluate accidents that occurred during the past seven days. Ayer provides an accident spreadsheet, which is circulated to all divisions.

"The spreadsheet logs all accidents and shows everything you want to know about each accident: time of day, weather conditions, what happened, whether or not it was preventable, whether or not it was department of transportation recordable and what type of disciplinary action, if any, was taken," Haen says.

"Whether or not it was the employee's fault, we review every accident with the employee and discuss how to prevent a recurrence," he says.

If an accident is logged as preventable, the employee involved can appeal that decision to a divisional accident review board composed of three people, including one or two drivers.

"The review board makes a final decision about whether an accident could have been prevented," Haen says. "We've found that employees, while they may appeal the original decision, usually will live with the decision of a review board."

Adding Dollars to the Bottom Line Owners and managers of smaller waste management companies may doubt that their resources can support an extensive safety program.

However, that's not necessarily true. For example, the experience of Austin, Texas-based Texas Disposal Systems Inc. suggests that a small company can turn its safety record around and slash insurance costs in short order.

Texas Disposal operates 65 collection vehicles, which handle residential, commercial and roll-off accounts. The company disposes of trash by way of two transfer stations and a 343-acre landfill, which handles 1,500 tons per day.

Two years ago, the company, which has 200 employees, had an annual accident rate of 13.1 accidents per 100 employees. The average annual rate in the waste management business is much lower: 7.1 accidents per 100 employees.

"Safety begins with the quality of the people you hire," says Ron Leahy, Texas Disposal's spokesperson. "Over the past 18 months, we've focused on hiring more qualified and experienced people."

Texas Disposal requires that every new employee, whether he or she is experienced or not, spend a full day in a classroom learning about safety in his or her area.

The classroom program consists of approximately five hours of videos, which cover every aspect of safety an employee would need to be familiar with on the job (see "Texas Disposal Film Library" above).

In addition to training new hires, Texas Disposal has a refresher training program and requires that every employee review one safety subject each month.

The company also awards safety-conscious employees twice a year through an incentive program. Employees with no accidents or injuries throughout the year can earn $1,200.

To keep safety at the forefront of employees' minds, Texas Disposal holds monthly meetings to discuss accidents both inside and outside the company.

For example, Leahy says, "A couple months ago, we talked about an accident that one of our competitor's drivers had. A truck was driving along a road parallel to railroad tracks. The driver, watching for traffic coming from the right, made a left turn across the tracks.

"He tried to beat some traffic, didn't see the train coming and was killed," he continues. "A lot of our people knew the driver because he had worked here once. We discussed the accident and what to do if you find yourself in the same kind of situation."

In some instances, Texas Disposal even has had to turn away business when providing service to a particular customer would make the work environment too dangerous for employees.

"Once, a new customer wanted us to service a front-load container placed at the end of a long alley, which required the truck to back up 100 yards and back out into traffic," Leahy says. "We couldn't persuade the customer to move the container, and so we decided not to take the account.

"The chance of being rear-ended was too great," he explains. "It's important not to put drivers, or any employees, into situations where they can fail."

The Texas Disposal safety program has produced excellent results rather quickly. During 1997, the first full year of the safety program, the company's accident rate fell from nearly twice the industry average of 7.1 per 100 workers per year to 4.1, a rate that has continued for the first half of 1998.

The company's recent safety performance also has produced savings on insurance costs. "Our workers' compensation premiums have gone down by 50 percent," Leahy says. "And our liability and property damage rates have declined by 30 percent."

While Leahy hesitates to cite the amount of monetary savings, he notes that Texas Disposal's safety program costs are insignificant when compared to the intangible savings - the reduction of damage potentially done to its workers.

The classroom program at Texas Disposal, Austin, Texas, consists of five hours of videos, which cover every aspect of safety an employee would need to be familiar with on the job. Titles include:

* Accident Investigation

* Back Safety*

* Bloodborne Pathogens*

* Disabled Vehicle Safety

* Driving Safety*

* Drug Free Workplace*

* Electrical Safety*

* Employee Right To Know*

* Fire Extinguisher Safety*

* Frontload Operations

* Frontload Safety

* Heat Stress*

* Identification of Hazardous Materials*

* Lock-out/Tag-out*

* Rear-end Load Safety

* Roll-off Operations

* Roll-off Safety

* Route Safety Analysis

* Stash the Trash


Knowing Enough to be Convicted

A paint manufacturer and a senior company officer can be convicted under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) without proof that they knew whether the substances they handled were hazardous or whether a permit was required, according to a decision by a federal appeals court. [U.S. v. Kelley Technical Coatings Inc., Nos. 96-6282 and 96-6283, 6th Cir., Sept. 16, 1998.]

Kelley Technical Coatings Inc. ("Kelley") operates two paint manufacturing plants in Louisville, Ky. Arthur Sumner was a vice president in charge of manufacturing operations at both facilities, which included the storage and disposal of hazardous wastes. Among other duties, he was responsible for environmental compliance. In fact, Sumner filed the necessary paperwork with state environmental authorities to register Kelley as a hazardous waste generator.

Indeed, Kelley's manufacturing process generated enormous amounts of hazardous wastes, including solvents, paint residues and sludges, and other paint by-products that contained toxic heavy metals. Between 1986 and 1992, the company filled hundreds of drums with these wastes and stored them behind one of the plants. However, Kelley never applied for a permit for on-site storage or disposal of the wastes.

For a time, Sumner arranged for a licensed hazwaste disposal firm to haul away some of the drums, but from late 1989 to July 1992 no drums were shipped from the site. Instead, as a cost-saving measure, Kelley hired a waste disposal company to work at the site, draining the liquids from the drums. After most of the wastes were drained, Sumner directed plant employees to pour any accumulated rainwater in the drums onto the ground and to consolidate any residues into one drum.

When inspectors from the Kentucky Department of Envionmental Protection visited one of the plants in July 1992, they found at least 600 drums that had been stored on-site for many months and, in some cases, for years. Some of the drums had rusted and were leaking.

A federal district court jury convicted Kelley and Sumner of violating RCRA by knowingly storing and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit. The district judge levied a $225,000 fine on Kelley [which it did not appeal] and sentenced Sumner to a 21-months imprisonment and fined him $5,000.

On appeal, Kelley and Sumner challenged their convictions on the basis that the judge gave the jury wrong instructions regarding what defendants must know before they may be held criminally responsible. The trial court told the jurors that they could find the defendants guilty if the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt that:

1. the defendants knowingly stored material for longer than 90 days and knowingly disposed of material on the site;

2. the material was hazardous waste;

3. the defendants did not have a permit to store or dispose of hazardous waste; and

4. the defendants knew that the material was potentially hazardous to human health or to the environment.

The judge also instructed the jury that prosecutors did not have to prove that the defendants knew the material was listed or characterized by law as hazardous waste or knew a permit was required before storing or disposing of the material.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the defendants' claims, upheld the convictions and affirmed the fine and jail sentence imposed on Sumner.

Citing prior decisions of the Sixth Circuit and "every other [appeals court] that has considered the issue," the three-judge panel reaffirmed that a conviction under RCRA for "knowingly" storing or disposing of hazardous waste without a permit requires the government to prove only that a defendant knew certain facts: storage and disposal of material was occurring; the material was waste; and the material posed potential to harm human health or the environment.

Federal appeals courts are virtually unanimous in finding that the "knowing" element of a criminal violation under RCRA focuses on whether a defendant consciously approved, aided or allowed storage or disposal activities - not whether a defendant was aware that the handled material was regulated hazardous waste. For good measure, the appeals court opinion referred to "overwhelming evidence" presented at trial that the defendants knew the hazardous nature of the drums' contents and knew the proper means of disposal.

"Defendants were knowledgeable about RCRA requirements," the court said. "They signed annual hazardous waste registration forms and arranged for the proper disposal of the contents of the drums by qualified hazardous waste haulers. [The defendants' knowledge] that the residue in the drums was hazardous waste as well is beyond doubt."

The Top of the Heap

When asked to correct a common misnomer about his home state of Alaska, Joel Grunwaldt, solid waste director for the city of Anchorage, responds, "We don't live in igloos."

The 28-year veteran of the Anchorage Regional Landfill (ARL) also is quick to point out that managing a solid waste facility in one of the coldest states in the Union opens opportunities to collect data on and study a subject solid waste industry professionals know little about: cold climate landfill management.

The innovative practices and technologies used to combat the demands of Alaska's harsh, frigid climate tipped the scale for the Solid Waste Association of North America's (SWANA) judges when they bestowed this year's Landfill Excellence Gold Award on ARL.

Serving a population of 250,000 people who generate almost 1,000 tons of solid waste per day, ARL was one of the first landfills in the country to exceed Subtitle D regulations at a time when Subtitle D didn't exist.

ARL also was designed to meet the geological challenges of being located in one of the highest seismic regions in North America.

ARL houses an on-site weather station for data collection relating to meteorology and landfill operations. A sophisticated system of temperature probes and heaters are used regularly to measure the temperature and composition of methane gas as well as to pre-treat leachate.

The station tracks a variety of meteorological factors such as air temperature, wind direction and speed, barometric pressure and precipitation levels. Recording data every hour, the weather station's computer bank is downloaded every three months to correlate landfill activity to weather conditions.

The soft-spoken Grunwaldt, who has served as director of solid waste services since 1975, says the reason for ARL's sophisticated technology and cutting-edge approach is as simple as just "wanting to do the right thing."

For example, when the municipality needed to expand its landfill, it was faced with two problems: The earthquakes the region experiences every year and no available land adjacent to the site.

The municipality's solution was found next door at an army base. In exchange for free disposal of its waste, the base gave the landfill 300 acres of land.

After the swap, the municipality made several design and construction modifications to the site's 1987 permit to protect it from seismic activity.

"Our slopes were modified to a more gradual grade, and cell shapes were changed to better depict the 1993 Subtitle D requirements," Grunwaldt says.

"A buttress berm also was constructed to enhance the stability of existing cells Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and new cells Nos. 4 and 5 were combined to provide a more stable fill sequence," he adds.

To compliment design changes, ongoing waste mass analyses are performed as part of operational duties to ensure that the waste doesn't move during certain ground acceleration forces.

Due to the limited availability of local clay sources, ARL was the first Alaskan landfill to construct a geocomposite liner (GCL). "We convinced the state regulators that a GCL design was a better system," Grunwaldt says.

Unlike compacted clay liners, GCLs aren't susceptible to increased risk of permeability from freeze/thaw cycles. In addition, GCL's quick installation helps to reduce the risk of weather-related problems, especially those attributed to cold temperatures.

Anchorage averages six months of extremely cold weather, which keeps the waste mass relatively cold. A system of thermistors (temperature sensing devices) are inserted into the cells at 10-foot intervals at various depths to gather internal data on landfill temperature, gas generation and concentration rates.

"There has not been a lot of research on landfills that operate in cold climates," Grunwaldt says. "Our data indicates things are certainly different [at cold landfills] than what we find in existing literature."

For example, after 11 years of operation, ARL only has started to detect minor amounts of methane gas. This is because despite its frigid conditions, Anchorage's average precipitation rate is 16 inches. The cold waste mass, combined with minimal rainfall, deters methane gas production.

The city currently is upgrading ARL's leachate collection and pre-treatment system by adding heaters to the leachate lagoons. Without this heat, the lagoons' underwater aeration systems sometimes create "small volcanoes" of frozen leachate, Grunwaldt explains.

The benefits of Anchorage's commitment to data collection at its landfill will reach far beyond the city limits. "We installed the weather station and the thermistors to generate a database that will help others in the future," Grunwaldt says.

Building a Better Mouse Trap When visitors to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority's (DSWA) Southern Solid Waste Management Center (SSWMC) in Dover see the giant flumes cascading down the landfill slopes, funneling thousands of gallons of stormwater to huge retention ponds, they often compare it to a water theme park.

But SWANA's Landfill Excellence Silver Award recipient is not just the product of a creative passion shared by DSWA Executive Director N.C. Vasuki and his staff; it's also an experiment in the making that could shape the future of landfill closure regulations.

Exhausted and capped, two cells of DSWA's 540-acre solid waste facility have been joined and appear smooth and glistening following a rain shower.

Noticeably void of vegetation and spanning 45 acres, the test cells were initiated to investigate whether closure could be accomplished economically while providing easier access to entombed waste in the event that landfill mining becomes feasible.

"We'd seen exposed [liner] applications for lagoons, so why not [use it] for a landfill?" asks Ann Germain, DSWA's supervising engineer.

"Unreinforced caps have performed well over the past eight years at two one-acre test cells at our Central facility," she explains. "With Mr. Vasuki's imagination and desire to explore new technologies in the hope of saving money, we decided to try it on a larger scale at the Southern landfill."

DSWA's inability to excavate cover soil on-site due to an extremely high groundwater table prompted the authority to consider the exposed cap option.

Because groundwater is "practically at ground level," the facility's borrow pits immediately became wetlands upon excavation, Germain says.

To combat this, DSWA imports borrow material from about 10 miles off-site. "But when you consider covering 45 acres with two feet of soil and vegetative cover, the costs add up," she says.

When the second cell reached capacity in 1997, DSWA approached the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control with the idea of combining the first two cells and performing a "long-term intermediate closure project," Germain says.

With the blessings of state regulators, DSWA personnel prepared to address several design and operating demands to make the cap a functional reality.

The occurrence of methane gas and its effect on the cap, coupled with torrential stormwater flows and other seasonal elements, tested DSWA engineers' creative juices. "As organics decompose, they emit gas that has a higher volume than waste and liquid," Germain says.

"Unlike conventional closure caps where clay, soil and vegetative cover are layered on top of synthetic liner, just a geomembrane without any weight causes the liner to bubble up - in some cases as much as eight to 10 feet," she says. "We had to think of something that could take care of it."

Engineers proposed an elaborate methane gas collection system that incorporated 40 to 50 extraction trenches that were placed strategically underneath the geomembrane along the cells' sideslope at 80-foot intervals.

In each trench, a perforated pipe was covered with drainage stone and a textile material. As methane rises to the cell's surface, a vacuum applied to the pipes collects the gas and feeds it to a central flare.

"The gas collection system helped to solve two problems," Germain says. "It kept the liner both from bubbling and from taking flight in high winds."

Permitted to withstand 80 miles per hour winds, the cap has weathered gusts up to 95 miles per hour. The gas extraction system forces the liner to adhere to the waste cell.

Another design consideration was the absence of grass to slow stormwater from barreling down the cap when it rains.

Sometimes compared to whitewater rapids, the torrential water streams are directed to two corners of the cell by berms, which run along the cell's side slopes.

Equipped with downshoots that resemble water slides, the berms direct water into a box culvert underneath the landfill's internal road and into one of three ponds.

"We've probably got the water flow to justify a water park, but the rip rap at the end of the downshoots would make for a painful ride," Germain jokes.

Exposed to the elements, the cap was designed to endure the sun's ultraviolet rays as well as the affects of expansion and contraction during temperature changes.

Because it's easier to work with gravity instead of against it, Germain says an exposed liner has a tendency to expand downhill, which results in excessive bunching at the cell's toe.

To eliminate downflow creep, DSWA selected a reinforced polypropylene liner, which is stronger than high-density polyethylene and is less susceptible to the negative effects of expansion and contraction.

The $5 million closure project took approximately one year to complete, and Germain admits the verdict is still out on the cap's cost-effectiveness due to a redesign of the watershoots that occurred in the middle of the project.

"It's difficult to say if we saved money because this was the first time we've ever done a project like this, and we paid to have the watershoots built twice," she says. "But based on what we know now, we think it would be cheaper to do again."

However, Germain is eager to see how the cap withstands the East Coast's brutal winter. "Leachate rates have gone down, but we've had a dry summer," she says. "Now, we're looking forward to the torrential downpours and snows."

Good Landfills, Good Neighbors Thirty-five miles north of Dallas, the city of Denton, Texas, has created a self-sufficient integrated solid waste management program, which includes a 330-ton per day landfill that earned SWANA's Landfill Excellence Bronze Award.

Despite hydrogeological constraints and minimal waste volumes, Denton began planning for the future in the early '80s.

Today, it is preparing to move into its first Subtitle D cell in a 155-acre facility that eventually will provide its constituents with more than 35 years of airspace.

Charles Watkins, director of Denton's solid waste department, makes no bones about the city's success, attributing it to creative engineering and design, a deliberate public education program and a dedicated landfill staff.

"As part of the city's utility department, [Denton's solid waste department] wanted to become a leader in the landfill industry as well as in solid waste management in general," Watkins says.

Despite a high groundwater table, the new landfill incorporates a sophisticated groundwater protection program, which includes soil-bentonite slurry cut-off walls to direct the water around the landfill's northern and western perimeters.

A single-pass dewatering method resembling a french drain extends 25 feet below the landfill's liner to channel a rising water table to a sump where water is pumped out as it becomes necessary.

To aid future construction, the slurry walls were marked with magnetic devices at various intervals to apprise construction crews of the wall's location.

"We made several concessions during permitting to promote a neighbor-friendly facility," Watkins says.

Although the landfill has been in existence since 1985, a great deal of growth and development in the vicinity has changed the community's rural character, prompting city leaders to exceed the minimum zoning and regulatory requirements.

"We went into the permitting process just like any other property developer," Watkins says.

"There were two ways to approach it: We could do just enough to meet the minimum zoning requirements or we could be a good neighbor and apply for a specific-use permit," he explains.

The city opted for the latter approach and now, an extensive landscaping and tree screening program shields the landfill from its growing number of neighbors.

During the permitting process, the city also agreed to other concessions, such as traffic routing, litter collection on roads leading to the landfill and a facility height restriction.

"We lowered the facility's final elevation by 15 feet and sacrificed several million cubic yards of airspace, but it was worth it to gain the public's good will," Watkins says.

To safeguard the facility's economic future, the city chose to become the exclusive owner of the community's collection program. "In the early 1990s, we were an open city, and our service was marginal," Watkins says.

"We looked at selling our commercial system," he continues. "Even though we received an attractive offer from a major hauler, the bidding generated so much public interest and support for a city-owned system that our city council decided not to sell and instead chose to remain the exclusive provider of solid waste services."

With the city gaining complete control of the community's commercial and residential collection, the landfill is assured of waste volumes and its enterprise fund remains healthy.

"The city of Denton recognized the need to take responsibility for its own waste," Watkins says. "So why not have a facility we can be proud of? That desire has been instilled in our landfill manager and his staff. They're committed, educated and proud of their operations."

What's New Under the Hood & on the Road

Truck Editor Bob Deierlein highlights the most recent product developments in tires and components since 1998's Mid-America and International Truck shows.

Bandag, Muscatine, Iowa, has introduced the Ultra All-Position, a rib tread pattern with a low void ratio.

The tread is designed to minimize irregular wear and resists stone penetration and casing damage, according to the company.

With an 181/432" tread depth and 5 rib design, the Ultra All-Position provides passageways for water evacuation.

The company also has introduced the Ultra Drive, a drive position tread featuring a 261/432" tread depth.

Caterpillar Engine Co., Mossville, Ill., is scheduled to release the 14.6-liter, 500 hp 3406E in 1999. This engine rating has 1,650 pounds per foot (lbs/ft) of torque to deliver high horsepower to fleets with potentially lower driveline costs. It is available in ratings ranging from 355 hp to 550 hp. Multi-torque ratings also are available.

Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., has released a new engine rating, the 15.8-liter, 575-hp 3406E with 1,850 lbs/ft of torque. The 575 hp rating is for fleets that want high horsepower without the cost of high torque drivelines.

Centennial Tires, Buffalo, N.Y., has announced the C388 steer axle, all-position radial tire. The tire is backed by a retread casing warranty, which offers unlimited retreads for up to four years with no reduction in the allowance for the casing throughout the warranty's life. The tire features a unified casing profile; a stabilizer rib; and a shoulder stabilizing system.

It is available in both low-profile and 90 Series sizes with a standard 8.5 retread cap size.

Continental Tire, Charlotte, N.C., has introduced the HMS 45 on/off highway tire that features a cut-and-tear resistant tread compound and a 231/432" tread depth.

The tire's high ply rating boosts durability for longer casing life and allows for multiple retreads. The multi-service tread pattern is a combination button and rib-type design.

Cummins Engine Co. Inc., Columbus, Ind., has introduced the ISL model, the latest addition to the company's Interact System family of engines. The integrated electronic features monitor vital statistics and optimize fuel, cooling and powertrain performance.

This heavy-duty, 10-liter engine features four valves per cylinder, articulated pistons, roller followers, a structurally reinforced block and patented mid-stop liners.

The ISL also comes with a no-adjust overhead cam. Ratings are available from 310 hp to 350 hp, with peak torque ratings from 1,050 lbs/ft to 1,250 lbs/ft.

Oil changes are required at 18,000 miles, and coolant service intervals are up to 240,000 miles. The engine comes with a standard two-year, 250,000-mile warranty.

Cummins also has announced the ISX engine, a system designed to lower cost per mile through a merger of N14 Plus durability, Signature 600 performance and Cummins Interact System technology. Ratings range from 400 hp to 500 hp, with peak torque from 1,450 lbs/ft to 1,850 lbs/ft.

The result of more than five years' development, the ISX was designed with electronics and dual overhead cams as integral parts. One camshaft drives the high-pressure, fuel-injection system; the other drives the valves and the Intebrake integrated brake system.

Deere Power Systems Group, Waterloo, Iowa, has introduced a compressed natural gas engine, the Powertech 6.8 liter, which is designed for Class 6 and 7 trucks.

It is an air-to-air intercooled engine with 225 hp at 2,400 rpm and 640 lbs/ft of torque at 1,500 rpm with a 30 percent torque rise.

Eaton Corp., Galesburg, Mich., has unveiled four 6-speed, medium-duty transmissions for applications from 560 lbs/ft to 860 lbs/ft torque capacity. Company test results comparing the FS-6406A to its predecessor, the FS-6306A, show a 63 percent reduction in the effort needed to downshift from second gear to first gear.

Freightliner, Portland, Ore., has introduced "SmartShift," a proprietary product for transmissions that is manufactured for Freightliner and Sterling trucks.

SmartShift provides a driver interface for the new automated mechanical transmissions from Meritor and Eaton.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Akron, Ohio, has introduced the G302 Fuel Efficient Drive (FED) tire, a tandem axle tire, which features a 261/432" tread depth and shorter lug elements designed to reduce contact heel and toe wear.

Meritor, Troy, Mich, has introduced its SureShift transmission, a "shift-by- wire" system that helps facilitate shifting a in non-synchronized manual transmission.

Meritor also has introduced an improved automatic slack adjuster (ASA) that offers:

* fewer moving parts (no slip clutches to wear out and no external brackets required);

* the industry's lightest ASA; and

* lubrication holes and grooves to reduce corrosion and seizing up.

Michelin, Greenville, S.C., has introduced the XDE A/T hybrid tire, which features a 301/432" tread depth.

Currently available in 11R22.5 LRH, 12R22.5 LRH and 11R24.5 LRH sizes, the XDE A/T absorbs the abuse of off-road driving and provides an extra-wide tread to improve highway handling and to reduce sidewall vulnerability.

The tire's open-block design improves traction in soft-soil and off-road situations. Its four-belt crown package has wide working plies that are shielded by a full-width elastic protector ply.

Michelin also has unveiled the XZE tire, which comes in a 255/70R22.5 LHR size. The XZE's 181/432" tread depth is 12 percent deeper and its tread surface is 5 percent wider than that of its predecessor, the XZA. The XZE's tread is equipped with an anti-chip, anti-cut compound to resist abusive conditions.

Nissan Diesel America, Irving, Texas, has introduced the UD3300, a Class 7 chassis that is rated at 32,900 lbs gross vehicle weight (GVW).

This chassis is available with a choice of four wheelbases ranging from 177.2" to 238.2", and can be equipped with truck bodies as long as 24'.

The cabover configuration allows for a tight turning radius: 25.2' for the 177.2 wheelbase and 32.8' for the 238.2 model.

The engine is the Nissan FE6TA turbocharged, intercooled diesel, a 24-valve, in-line, 6-cylinder that generates 225 hp at 2,600 rpm and 492 ft/lbs of torque at 1,600 rpm. The transmission is the Nissan MPS62T 6-speed manual. The rear axle has a capacity of 11.900 lbs, and the rear axle is rated at 21,000 lbs.

Transmission Technologies Corp. (TTC), Farmington Hills, Mich., has announced its new Spicer AMT-7 automated mechanical transmission, the first completely automated mechanical transmission for medium-duty trucks.

With fully programmable, electronically controlled shifting, the AMT-7 has no clutch pedal or shift lever.

Shift points are controlled by rpm level, which allows for better control over fuel consumption. A launch assist feature automatically launches the vehicle in the pre-programmed start-up gear, preventing quick starts and jumps, and eliminating "roll back" on inclines.

A "hold" feature allows drivers to control shifting manually, keeping the truck in one gear to maximize braking or acceleration.

The AMT-7 is available in two models:

* AS056-7A for vehicles up to 50,000 lbs GVW provides gross torque of 560 ft/lbs at 210 hp.

* AS066-7A for vehicles up to 65,000 pounds GVW provides gross torque of 660 ft/lbs at 250 hp.

Volvo, Greensboro, N.C., has introduced a 6-cylinder, electronically controlled, in-line pump diesel engine. The Vocational 7.3-liter engine can be spec'd with Volvo's vocational vehicles, the VNM, WG and Xpeditor. It is available in power ratings of 250-, 275- and 300-hp at 2,200 rpm.

The Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association presented its 1998 Study Group Leadership Award to Bob Deierlein, truck editor for World Wastes magazine. The award, given to Bob at the TMC's meeting in Kansas City, Mo., in September, honors a Study Group chairman for his exemplary leadership and contribution to TMC and the transport industry. Bob is the seventh TMC member to receive this award since its conception in 1986.

On behalf of the World Wastes staff, congratulations, Bob!

legal: Small Businesses Beware: Scams Abound

Many waste management firms are small. Coincidentally, an increasingly popular target for scam artists are small businesses. Law enforcement officials say those who prey on small businesses are succeeding - more so now than ever.

One reason scam artists are successful, officials say, is because many business owners lack the experience to recognize fraudulent schemes.

Classic scams live on, thanks to a new generation of unsuspecting entrepreneurs. "Old wine in new bottles," says Elaine Kolish, an enforcement official at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), of scam artists' techniques. Even if the packaging changes over the years, she says, the product largely stays the same.

Federal and state consumer protection agencies don't have a complete picture of the scope and number of frauds against small businesses. One thing is for sure: Better Business Bureaus are receiving a growing number of complaints about promotions that typically target small businesses.

Between 1990 and 1996, these complaints more than doubled. Moreover, the number of complaints increased at more than twice the rate as general business inquiries to the bureaus, according to data from the Council of Better Business Bureaus, an umbrella organization based in Arlington, Va.

Small business owners who are victimized by scam artists have less protection than do consumers because state consumer protection laws often don't cover businesses. However, according to Herschel Elkins, who heads the consumer law division in the California Attorney General's office, the situation there will change if the State Assembly acts on a pending bill.

For now, without effective laws on the books, small business owners must act on their own - in particular, by educating themselves on how to avoid scams.

One of the most popular frauds involves overpriced or undelivered office supplies. Typically, a business receives a call from someone who claims to work for the vendor that regularly furnishes the business with copier machine paper and toner. These callers have their best luck with businesses that have a high turnover in the accounts payable department.

For example, the office manager of a California waste firm received a first-time offer of a service contract on certain office equipment. However, the invoice was marked "renewal" in the hope that an unsuspecting accounting clerk would think the business previously had ordered the service. The company wisely ignored the invoice and purchased the services elsewhere.

Last year, the FTC filed suit in a Los Angeles federal district court against several companies and individuals in an alleged computer service scam that cheated thousands of small businesses around the country out of more than $8 million. Companies that paid invoices, often marked "discounted renewal" or "upgrade," seldom got any service. The defendants, who reached a settlement with the agency but did not admit any fault or liability, paid fines and are now under court-ordered supervision.

A new breed of loan shark also is preying upon unwary business owners. Known as an "advance-fee loan scam," the ploy involves someone posing as a sophisticated broker who "guarantees" or promises a "high likelihood of success" in arranging a loan for a struggling business - regardless of the company's or the owner's credit history.

These scams differ from legitimate credit offers in a key way: The broker or arranger insists on an up-front payment even before the lender is identified and the application is completed.

Of course, legitimate lenders require applicants to pay processing, credit report and appraisal fees. However, the borrower customarily pays these fees only after learning who the lender will be and after submitting a credit application. Moreover, a check for such fees ordinarily would be made payable to the lender - not to the broker or arranger of the supposed "guaranteed" loan.

Finally, a legitimate lender will not promise a loan or extension of credit before evaluating an applicant's creditworthiness.

A cash-starved small hauler in a Western state was hooked by an advertisement in the classified section of a local newspaper. He answered using a "900" number, which produced an immediate charge on his phone bill.

Compounding matters, he then furnished his credit card number over the telephone to cover the $950 advance fee. Sad to say, he never received an application form, never heard from any lender and never was able to recontact the arranger.

The FTC gives three ways to avoid advance-fee loan sharks:

* Don't pay for a promise. Companies that do business by phone legally cannot promise a loan and ask for payment before they deliver.

* Ignore any ad - and hang up on any caller - that guarantees a loan in exchange for payment in advance.

* Never give credit card or bank account numbers over the telephone unless you know the party at the other end and know why the information is necessary.

Victims of advance-fee loan scams can contact their local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau or state attorney general. For its part, the FTC receives complaints at: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580. Website: www.ftc.gov

UPDATE: CIWMB Grants Give Tires New Life

SAN DIEGO - The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), Sacramento, has awarded $305,887 in grants to help find alternative uses for the estimated 30 million waste tires that are stockpiled legally and illegally in the state.

The cities of Carpinteria, Garden Grove, Lemoore, Soledad and Yuba City, and the school districts in Beaumont and Downey cities have been named as recipients.

The awards will be used for waste tire research and development, and crumb rubber projects. For example, Garden Grove will use its grant to purchase rubberized railroad levelers. Beaumont plans to purchase new roofing materials made from waste tires. The remaining cities and school district will use their grants for running track surfacing made from crumb rubber.

The funding for these grants and CIWMB's waste tire site cleanup program comes from the organization's Tire Recycling Management Fund, which obtained money through a 25-cent state surcharge on the sale of new tires.

"It always has been this board's philosophy to promote recycling options for the millions of waste tires plaguing our state," says Daniel G. Pennington, CIWMB chairman. "I'm pleased that in addition to the $300,000 we awarded in March for rubberized playground safety mates, the board also has awarded grants for research and development projects for waste tires."

CIWMB is responsible for managing the 46 million tons of solid waste generated in California each year. The board works in partnership with local government, industry and the public to achieve a 50 percent waste reduction by 2000.

For more information, contact CIWMB at 8800 Cal Center Drive, Sacramento, Calif. 95826. Phone: (916) 255-2296. E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.ciwmb.ca.gov

collection: Colton Cuts the Waste from Trash Collection

Imagine a bloated waste collection department overstaffed by political appointees, an outdated manual collection system, an annual $200,000 operating deficit and dozens of commercial and residential customers receiving free collection service. What do you have? The city of Colton, Calif., circa 1994.

Prior to 1994, city officials dutifully collected refuse across a 24-square-mile area from nearly 48,000 residents who produced approximately 41,500 tons of garbage annually.

But the "department's deficit was putting the entire city into a dire financial condition," says Nabar Enrique Martinez, Colton's former city manager. [Martinez is now Bell Gardens, Calif.'s city manager.] "Plus, the service to the community wasn't very good, although there were three people per truck. The trucks even were dirty," he says.

Faced with the threat of mounting financial losses and the difficult task of replacing the department's political appointees with more enthusiastic workers, Martinez looked outward for help, deciding to privatize the city's waste collection. The decision paid off.

Working with Seattle-based consulting firm R.W. Beck, Martinez and the Colton city council selected Taormina Industries, Anaheim, Calif., to own and operate its waste collection services. In turn, the switchover helped cut costs by 20 percent and created a $12 million surplus in the general operating fund.

"Of course we're proud of those accomplishments, but we're also really proud of the improvement in customer service," Martinez says, citing examples such as faster customer call-back times, fewer missed collections and even cleaner garbage trucks.

"Taormina has one of the cleanest fleet maintenance programs I've ever seen, and its trucks look good out in the community," says Richard Tagore- Erwin, R.W. Beck's main consultant on the project.

Over the course of seven months, Martinez and Tagore-Erwin solicited requests for qualifications and services - sometimes faxing each other at 2 a.m. with different proposals - and forged an unconventional path to success. The duo's focus on cutting costs and generating new income was a departure from the typical bureaucratic approach that simply looked for ways to lower rates.

"We're always hearing that government should be run like a private business," Martinez says. "So, that's how we approached this deal." In keeping with what he calls "the values of the profit margin," Martinez says the city paid R.W. Beck's consulting fee by charging every waste collection company that submitted a bid $5,000 to evaluate its proposal. "The garbage companies were surprised, but we said, 'This is a business, what do you want?'" Martinez says.

Martinez and the city were specific in what they expected from bidders, which included industry heavyweights such as Browning-Ferris Industries, Houston. Martinez says they expected "everything."

"We were requesting the whole range of services from collecting yardwaste, recyclables, refuse and disposables to handling public education, billing, customer service and staffing. We wanted the whole shot and someone who could do a complete takeover," Tagore-Erwin recalls.

He credits Taormina's experience in converting from manual to automated systems, and the fact that it owned its own materials recovery facility processing center as some of the determining factors that helped the company win Colton's business.

However, taking care of the city's disgruntled waste collection department employees was another matter. Martinez says many employees were afraid of losing their jobs in the privatization process, and although he believed that many deserved to, a compromise was reached with Taormina.

Martinez explains: "We included one of the department's most vocally opposed drivers to the project on the negotiation team. He really was against privatization in the beginning, but it diffused problems to have an employee representative being part of the process."

Taormina eventually agreed to employ every city employee who could pass standard screenings such as drug tests.

It was an important concession in winning the city's business, says Daryl Parrish, Colton's current assistant city manager. "That was something we really looked at when we went through the RFP [requests for proposals] process," he explains. "We asked the haulers to tell us what they'd do for our employees, and Taormina's was the winning proposal."

Other terms of Taormina's eventual 10-year contract with the city, which included a $4 million payout for its trucks and other equipment, held stipulations that called for:

* using only new trucks and bins to justify the length of the contract;

* automating the collection system;

* improving customer service by hooking up a direct telephone line and by providing services such as answering calls within three rings and responding to complaints within 24 hours;

* lowering rates from $18.45 to $15.96 a month;

* meeting curbside recycling goals of nearly 50 percent by 2000; and

* building a materials recovery facility in Colton or paying the city to build one [which has yet to be completed].

Still, these stipulations weren't enough to satisfy Martinez's determination to view the city's privatization process through the lens of free enterprise. Rather than just sell Colton's waste collection services, Martinez wanted to make the city some money in the process.

With the aid of Tagore-Erwin, Martinez negotiated to have Taormina pay a franchise fee for the city's business based on all gross revenue rather than just the standard account fee. Taormina also agreed to pay the city a contract management fee of nearly $70,000.

"At one point during the negotiations, the private-sector guys were just amazed because we often were working 21-hour days, sometimes even 24-hour days, and they had never seen a public entity work so hard before," Martinez says.

The hard work has paid off, Parish says. With Taormina running things now, "we get a lot fewer complaints than we did before privatization. There's a lot less down time, and it's definitely a successful program."

Fiscal Republic Industries Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., reported a 36 percent increase in earnings per share of 38 cents for the quarter ended September 1998.

Internet Transmission Technologies Corp.: www.ttcautomotive.com Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI): www.tappi.org

Waste Management Materials Marketing: www.wastemanagement. com/recycle

Co-op America's National Green Pages directory of environmentally responsible businesses: www.greenpages.org

New Facilities Michelin North America Inc., Greenville, S.C., has opened a $280-million Earthmover tire production plant in Lexington, S.C.

TransComp Systems Inc., a division of Tower Industries, has moved to 1576 N. Batavia, Bldg. 1, Orange, Calif. 92867-3559. Phone: (714) 283-5440. Fax: (714) 283-5446.

RRT Design and Construction, Melville, N.Y., has completed construction of a $10 million recycling facility for the city of Phoenix, Ariz.

Legend Valley Products, has moved its corporate headquarters to Leiters Ford, Ind. It can be reached at: 7346 W. 400 North, P.O. Box 7, Leiters Ford, Ind. 46945. Phone: (212) 542-2222. Fax: (219) 542-2132.

recycling: Rocky Mountain Recycling Highs

What does it take for a recycling program to rock in the Mountain states? Thanks to a new report "Recycling in Colorado: What it Takes to be Successful," the people in that state now have a better idea of the elements that have helped maintain or hinder their recycling efforts.

To assist budding recycling programs, the Colorado Governor's Office of Energy Conservation (OEC), Denver, funded two studies in 1997, which were conducted by Volkin and Associates, Boulder, Colo.

In March 1997, OEC recycling program managers chose the OEC grant recipient that would be studied. Phase I evaluated six successful programs at a cost of $3,335. Phase II, which cost approximately $5,000 to conduct, studied six recycling programs that have faced challenges. The results of both phases, which were completed by December 1997, are published in the "Recycling in Colorado" report.

Based on interviews with state and local government recycling program managers and on-site evaluations, Volkin found that a combination of elements can affect a program's success or failure. For example:

Support from political boards, city and county managers and the community is important for a recycling program to run smoothly and be sustainable, Volkin found. Political boards and top managers, such as executive budget committees, public works directors, city managers and city councils, typically respond to recycling program changes or provide money or other resources. However, without community support, there would be little participation and ultimately, political boards would not be supportive either.

For example, some of the programs had inconsistent and unreliable community support, possibly because residents do not consider recycling to be a top priority. A lack of financial support, the priority that a county gives to recycling or a commitment to recycling sustainability, could not only lead to program failure but also could prevent a program from starting.

Leadership and a program vision may come from citizens who support recycling or from government representatives who want to see changes in their communities. Without vision, recycling programs may never be formed, and without leadership, they may never be sustained.

Leadership can be a challenge when the skills necessary to operate a successful program is lacking, Volkin reports. For example, when many of the programs first were implemented, they had supportive environmental leaders, but most were volunteers who did not have sufficient experience in coordinating a recycling program.

Leadership skills include economic planning, strategic planning and goal setting, communications and education/outreach efforts.

Partnerships formed with other organizations or departments can be critical for a program's success. For example, some city-operated recycling programs rely on other city departments. Others receive cooperation from volunteers, businesses and local governments.

Convenience for users and reliable, city-owned equipment helps maintain high recycling participation rates and increase efficiency. All the programs evaluated had well-maintained drop-off centers that were almost always open. Several communities provided curbside collection, which made recycling even more convenient for residents.

For example, in addition to its curbside recycling program, the city of Loveland operates a yardwaste recycling center where residents can drop off materials.

Owning reliable equipment also is necessary to keep any program active because without the proper equipment, a program cannot expand nor provide basic recycling services.

Other factors that contribute to a recycling program's success include:

* educational and public relations outreach;

* a demonstrated ability to adapt and creatively solve problems;

* a paid program manager and labor force;

* obtainable goals;

* a recycling budget; and

* efficiency operations

Additional hurdles for programs to overcome are poor management, unqualified labor and labor shortages, all of which have hindered the growth and sustainability of some recycling programs.

While the communities that were evaluated in the two studies are diverse, and thus face strengths and weaknesses that are unique to their individual recycling programs, most had a combination of challenges and achievements that can be applied to any recycling program. Some communities are more isolated than others, and may not have access to recycling facilities or end markets. Others may have supportive communities that contribute funding and participation.

The successful programs overcame their obstacles: They gained the support of those involved, especially the community, adapted to new circumstances - changes in operations, staff, funding, equipment, etc. - and creatively solved their problems.

For more information or for a copy of "Recycling in Colorado: What it Takes to be Successful," contact 1675 Broadway, Ste. 1300, Denver, Colo. 80202-4613. Phone: (303) 620-4292 or toll-free (800) 632-6662. Fax: (303) 620-4288. Website: www.state.co.us/ gov_dir/oec

Contracts The Rockland Waste Management Authority, Hillburn, N.Y., has awarded Miele Sanitation, Closter, N.J., a five-year contract for collection, transportation and disposal services of the village of Haverstraw, N.Y.

International Rubbish Service, Riverside, Calif., has been awarded exclusive collection contracts in two Riverside County areas.

Pacific Western Technologies Ltd., Albuquerque, N.M., has announced a multi-year contract to provide technical and management services to the Department of Energy facilities at Albuquerque, Los Alamos, N.M., and Amarillo, Texas.

Waste Management Inc., Houston, has awarded multiple contracts to RRT Design & Construction, Melville, N.Y., for design/build services at the Chicago Sort Centers.

Toledo, Ohio-based N-Viro International Corp.'s Israeli licensee, Nesher Environmental Ltd., has executed its first contract for an N-Viro Soil facility near Bet-Shemesh, Israel.