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Articles from 1997 In June


"FORE!": Compost Research Takes A Swing On The Green

University lab and field tests typically indicate that compost helps improve nutrient levels, water retention and thatch in a wide variety of soils. But, will these claims hold true in real world applications?

After hearing for many years about university compost experiments, two golf course superintendents launched their own research to demonstrate whether the agronomic benefits seen in compost lab tests can be realized on their own courses.

There is evidence that compost helps fight turf grass diseases by creating conditions that support high populations of beneficial microorganisms that may crowd out or directly attack harmful fungus.

Fungal diseases are especially critical in golf courses, because the grass is under severe stress from frequent mowing, golfers' spikes, clubs and golf carts. However, governments are cutting the number of fungicides on the market and are tightening restrictions on frequency and application rates.

Such restrictions are a concern for John Napier, superintendent of the 27-hole Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, Conn., which hosts approximately 75,000 18-hole rounds yearly. Calling the course "a golf factory that gets a lot of stress," Napier, in conjunction with GreenCycle Inc., Northfield, Ill., is building a putting green sod nursery and using compost as a soil amendment in new construction.

Although greens (or nurseries) built with compost don't meet the current putting green specifications of the United States Golf Association's (USGA) Green Section, which requires peat as the organic root-zone element, Napier presented his ideas to Greg Bugbee, a scientist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven.

Not all courses can afford to have USGA-spec greens, and Napier and Bugbee wanted to see if the compost could produce a good green at a reasonable price, since compost, unlike peat, introduces beneficial microbes.

Bugbee drew up an experimental design and helped obtain permission from the state Department of Environmental Protection to allow GreenCycle to use biosolids from the town of Farmington's municipal waste water plant.

The plan is to test three compost styles - yard waste, biosolid and a 50/50 yard-biosolid blend. The composts will be blended at two different rates with sand - 25 percent and 50 percent by volume. There also will be "control" plots that use straight sand and a sand/soil mix. Overall, there will be 13 different root-zone mixes, and each mix will be tried in three separate plots, for a total of 39 test beds. The experiment will run for at least three years.

Seed germination is the initial concern; the plots will be seeded and covered with geotextile covers. Napier has used this seeding method before and is interested in seeing if the compost, in its continuing de-composition, will exude enough heat to excelerate germination of the sown Providence bentgrass.

The new turf's maturation in the different soils and the question of whether composts might produce something harmful to young plants are other top concerns.

Napier also will be scrutinizing what happens in other realms, such as fungal disease attacks, insect infestations and fertilizer and water requirements.

One of the most important issues is the mechanical strength of the root-zone mixtures, Napier says. Adding any organic to sand makes the matrix more compressible and more subject to root-weakening compaction than straight sand. Soft-root mixes demand more frequent aeration and maintenance. However, softer soils may lead to a more dense root mass, which leads to greater compaction resistance.

While Napier focuses on his fledgling greens, in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, Ill., superintendent Dan Dinelli set his compost sights on the fairways. His course is maintaining fairway test plots for a disease-suppression study started last spring by Michael Cole, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dinelli also is using compost as a staple in his fairway top-dressing program and is researching the machinery and techniques that will facilitate the use of compost in place of peat during those maintenance operations.

The crews made one compost application on fairways, sparing some test patches for later use as comparison. "The compost reduced the thatch and increased the earthworm activity, judging from the concentration of the surface castings," he says. "[It] gave us a denser, greener stand of turf."

Disease suppression on the compost-treated fairways, however, was hard to gauge, says Dinelli. Disease pressure varies yearly, and 1996 had the kind of mild weather that usually reduces fungal infestations.

Also affecting the test's results is the fact that Dinelli's crews spread the compost one time. "I don't think you can fairly evaluate a product you apply once during the growing season," he says. "I'd like to do the compost once a month and see what happens over the long term."

But, given those qualifications, Dinelli says the course required just 38 percent of its typical fungicide expenditure.

Meeting Diversion Goals: Compost Countdown

Not only will January 1, 2000 usher in a new millennium, it also will be judgment day for many cities and counties striving to reach mandated diversion levels. To help them along, more than 29 states have passed legislation banning green wastes from landfills, and like dominos, the rest are likely to follow.

So, where have all the leaves gone? Hopefully, into a compost pile somewhere.

Composting reduces the volume of feedstock by one-third to one-half, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), Sacramento, Calif. So, one ton of organic material makes approximately one-half ton of compost.

And, compost not only provides a function to the enormous amount of diverted green wastes, it's beneficial too.

"In addition to being used as a soil amendment to improve its organic structure, compost also is used as a disease suppressant, to help change pH levels, for erosion control, as mulch and even as a remediation medium due to its absorptive qualities," says Rebecca Roe, a spokesperson for The Compost Council (TCC), Alexandria, Va.

Farmers and growers in large-scale agriculture currently represent the largest market for urban compost use. However, nursery owners and landscapers are emerging markets that are gaining momentum, according to the CIWMB.

Before starting composting programs, thoroughly consider all aspects from beginning to end. Criteria to be considered include cost factors, goals, public-versus-private and, most importantly, compost end use. According to Roe, challenges to marketing compost include:

* product maturity;

* odors;

* user education;

* aesthetics and contaminants (heavy metals, plastic or other organic debris);

* meeting regulatory requirements;

* finding dependable haulers;

* finding a means of properly spreading; and

* promotion costs.

If you're considering using compost, costs may be your biggest concern. The cost of using compost includes the product's price plus any delivery and application fees. The costs to spread the product remain relatively high, the CIWMB reports, and likely will until equipment and application methods can be refined - a situation that can only occur with increased usage. Also, transportation costs can exceed the product's cost when shipping a great distance.

Front-end costs must be compared to back-end benefits such as crop yield or increased organic matter. In addition, comparing short-term benefits of synthetic inputs to the long-term benefits of compost (improved water-holding capacity) may prove difficult, warns the CIWMB.

Home Composting An estimated 3 percent of the population compost at home, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C. Often, they are encouraged by their city or county who offer grasscycling and backyard composting programs.

Specifically, communities with centralized compost facilities can benefit from these programs, according to a nationwide survey conducted for TCC. Reportedly, 97 percent of survey respondents affirmed that home composting complements centralized composting.

Communities of all income levels participate in home composting. The average program budget is $15,000, based on the survey results. Some large, regional programs have budgets that exceed $100,000. At minimum, most home composting programs:

* employ a paid staff person;

* distribute brochures on composting;

* offer home composting workshops;

* distribute compost bins; and

* educate children and teachers about composting.

In addition, some of the more successful programs also use:

* advertising;

* volunteer training to teach others about composting;

* compost demonstration gardens;

* literature for distribution; and

* a telephone hotline.

According to the survey, volunteers contribute approximately 200 hours, performing duties such as distributing literature and giving workshops. More than 75 percent of respondents indicated that volunteers help in various capacities with their community's home composting program.

Many programs distribute home compost bins, often at a subsidized rate. The average subsidy was $16 per bin - ranging $0 to $34 per bin, according to the survey. However, the results did not provide clear evidence that bin distribution correlates with high participation rates or waste diversion.

Comprehensive composting programs typically offer compost hotlines, which according to the survey, are used heavily by residents: An average of 900 calls were reportedly received per year by the respondents. And, compared with other promotional approaches, hotlines are low-cost education and outreach tools.

Home composting programs responding to the survey reportedly divert an average of 14 percent of the total yard trimmings generated in their communities. More than half are diverting at least 1,000 tons per year through home composting.

The sampled set of home composting programs has an average goal of 45 percent for single-family households. These goals can be attained only through sustained efforts over a number of years.

On average, residents who home compost in these communities divert approximately 650 pounds per year from the solid waste system. This is roughly equivalent to one ton diverted per year for every three households that compost at home, the survey reports. These residents generate approximately 20 cubic feet of compost annually; residential gardens typically can incorporate at least this amount of compost into the soil every year.

In some communities, grasscycling reportedly forms the most important component of source reduction of residentially-generated organic materials, according to the survey. Communities which indicated that they have significant grasscycling programs have below-average program costs, in terms of dollars spent for every ton of material that is diverted from the solid waste stream.

What's In A Name? What is the key to selling your compost at the highest price? First, you must realize that all compost is not equal and take advantage of this: Products or "brand names" from recognized producers command higher prices.

Compost brokers typically are paying between $1.50 to $19 per ton for compost while professional end users are paying between $2 and $27.50 per cubic yard, according to recent statistics. Retail customers are purchasing the product for between $4 and $35 per cubic yard, picked up. Bagged product is being marketed for between $1.50 and $4 per bag by mass merchandisers as well as local garden centers.

The challenge? Compost marketers must find a way to make their own product stand out in the crowd.

Remember, consistent product quality, customer service and successful marketing techniques are key ingredients to maintaining product demand. Specifically, users want "clean" compost with no contamination by unprocessed waste or heavy metals.

Curbside-collected organics may be mixed with glass, plastic, metal, rock or other foreign matter, according to the CIWMB. Even green material processed through a permitted facility may contain contaminants, such as plastic bags or tennis balls that are not screened out during processing.

In an effort to help compost manufacturers and end users meet half-way, TCC currently is developing the Compost Assurance Program (CAP). The program's purpose, according to Roe, is to allow consumers to compare products, to standardize compost information and, ultimately, to assure better performance and quality.

As with any business, a compost producer must reliably produce a consistent product and have sufficient quantities available when needed. With a "seal of assurance," producers can add credibility to the product by offering consumers a "second opinion."

CAP's key elements include:

* regular testing of product according to standard test methodologies;

* producer providing reporting/labeling to customers;

* producer providing guidance in proper use of compost product;

* independent labs using standard methodologies to certify compliance; and

* council certifying producer participation in compliance with CAP.

"Once the program is approved," says Roe, "it will be disseminated to state agencies to regulate local composters."

In California, a program similar to CAP already is underway. In fact, the Sonoma Compost Co., Sonoma, Calif., has earned the first official seal of approval in the state for its yard waste compost product, using guidelines developed by the California Compost Quality Council (CCQC), an association comprised of farmers, compost producers, agriculturists, landscapers, university professors, soil researchers and recycling advocates.

The CCQC required the company to pass site inspection visits, maintain strict quality control over its products and comply with stringent state composting guidelines limiting the presence of pathogens and trace elements. Additionally, it had to disclose its composting methods and product's organic matter, salinity, feedstock additives, particle size, bulk density, pH levels and moisture content.

Developing Agricultural Markets In California Farmers and growers in large-scale agriculture represent the largest market for urban compost use, says Roe.

In California, compostable or organic material - comprising more than 40 percent of the solid waste stream - can be put to good use on the state's 30 million acres of farmland.

Although organic and sustainable farming methods promote compost use, most farmers have little firsthand experience using compost and agricultural markets remain largely undeveloped, says the CIWMB.

Awareness of sustainable farming practices, however, continues to grow, spurred on by the need to:

* reduce hazardous pesticide use;

* conserve water, particularly to reduce nitrate leaching from agricultural chemicals into the water table;

* prevent erosion; and

* adopt methods replenishing soil's organic matter.

"In California, there is a big movement away from fertilizer and toward more organic uses," Roe reports.

As a result, the CIWMB has contracted with the University of California system and local governments to use compost or mulch in five multi-year agricultural demonstrations. The projects' focus is to promote the use of urban yard trimmings in the state's commercial agriculture, which harvests approximately 8 million acres a year.

Farmers in Alameda, Fresno, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Tulare counties established agricultural trials using yard trimmings compost or mulch (see demos on pages 40, 41 and 45).

According to the CIWMB, commercial crops such as apricots, broccoli, cotton, grapes, green peppers, jala-peno peppers, hay, lettuce, onions, radicchio, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelons, Christmas trees and nursery stock were grown in soil amended or mulched with materials primarily made from yard trimmings.

Farmers can realize several benefits from the use of compost in commercial crop production. An increase in soil organic matter and the diversity of the soil's microbial population are anticipated benefits associated with regular compost amendment to most California soils.

Some of these demonstrations are attempting to evaluate other potential advantages such as an increase in soil moisture infiltration and retention, a reduction in commercial fertilization applications and a reduction in nitrate leaching.

Overall, the relationship between the characteristics of different compost types and their potential impact on soils and crop productivity are still unclear, says the CIWMB.

It cannot be assumed that all composts will provide the same benefits and, so, until these products are more predictable, a more dramatic increase in agricultural markets' use of organic material will be a difficult row to hoe.

A two-year nursery trial on various species of containerized plants was conducted at Grover Nursery, Stanislaus County, Calif. Preliminary data from the trials suggest that the fertilization of containerized plants may be reduced if 50 percent or more compost is used in the potting mix, according to the CIWMB. Additionally, data collected during the three years of watermelon, sweet corn and tomato production on the C.J. Rumble Ranch soon will be analyzed and disseminated to row crop farmers.

For more information, contact Kevin Williams at (209) 525-4160.

Cotton was planted at the Tulare County, Calif.-based Bergman Ranches in April 1995 using compost or chicken manure alternately applied to adjacent strips at a rate of five tons per acre. Preliminary data indicates no significant difference in the cotton yields, according to the CIWMB.

In winter 1996, the crop was changed from cotton to corn and two additional compost strips were applied at a 15- to 20-tons-per-acre rate on either side of the original trial. Single-year yields and other parameters soon will be evaluated for each growing season to compare effects and cost benefits of a single, high-rate application versus annual, low-rate applications.

For more information, contact Carol Frate at (209) 733-6363.

A Christmas tree farm and apricot orchard near Gilroy, Calif., joined Wente Brothers Winery in a mulch demonstration in 1995. In this trial, night crawlers were introduced on a small scale to the mulched apricot orchard. Also, weed germination studies were conducted at the Bay Area Extension Experiment Station to address farm advisors' concerns regarding the possible introduction of noxious weeds as a result of applying uncomposted material.

For more information, contact Jo Zientek at (408) 277-5533.

Composted green material, prepared mostly from home garden debris, was applied in the Wawona Orchards, Fresno County, Calif., over a four-year period. When the compost was applied at the same rate of nitrogen as the other standard materials, it adequately maintained the recommended nutrition levels of the trees, according to the CIWMB.

Fruit yields, size, quality and post-harvest did not vary substantially between the trees treated with compost and those treated with the regular methods. In addition, no increases in either disease or insect damage were noted.

A taste test panel was conducted in 1995 using peaches fertilized with the compost. According to the CIWMB, the panelists could not detect any differences as far as sweetness, color or aroma were concerned; however they did find that the peaches grown with commercial fertilizer were "less mushy" than those grown with the compost.

For more information, contact Harry Andis at (209) 456-7557.

In 1994, experimental composting projects were initiated with two on-farm compost operations and the North Monterey County, Calif., Waste Management District. The Glaum Egg Ranch's shredded waxed cardboard compost and a yard trimmings and wood waste compost from the North Monterey Landfill were used in Monterey crop trials.

Almost all of the crop trials were done in commercial fields managed with typical grower practices, the CIWMB says. The crops tested included broccoli, onions, lettuce, cauliflower, beets and potatoes.

Trial results reportedly varied from significant suppression of plant disease to crop damage due to a soil insect. Yield increases were observed for lettuce in a Monterey County field, but not in a trial conducted in San Benito County. However, compost applications did appear to influence soil nitrogen dynamics and soil microbiology.

Finally, conflicting results in onion trials, where suppression of Fusarium end rot was observed in 1995 but not in 1996 suggest that there are subtle differences in characteristics contributing to compost quality, according to the CIWMB.

For more information contact: Marc Buchanan at (408) 459-6859.

Communities that are planning to set up or to expand home composting programs should consider Berkeley, Calif.-based Applied Compost Consulting's recommendations to The Compost Council:

1. Focus efforts on single-family households.

2. Target people who garden at home first.

3. Develop a brochure.

4. Gather volunteer support and assistance.

5. Give how-to workshops on home composting.

6. Use media effectively to publicize the program.

7. Disseminate information through community groups.

8. Include grasscycling tips in any promotional or educational information.

9. Evaluate a mobile or neighborhood chipping program for brush and branches.

10. Structure economic incentives for participation, by adopting refuse collection rates that reward waste reduction.

11. Consider having a subsidized compost bin purchase program - especially one-day sales.

12. Evaluate cost-sharing opportunities among cities within a county for educational efforts and bin distribution programs.

13. Provide a hotline number

14. Measure success over the course of at least a few years.

15. Monitor results, especially participation,diversion rates and cost per ton diverted.

UPDATE: High-Yield Plastics On Horizon

What you need is another type of plastic to pick out of the waste stream - right? If you think this is bad news, you might want to look a bit more closely. Rather than the usual low-yield returns that other plastics generate, the new form, na-phthalate polymers, could be worth as much as $1.50 per pound.

These high-performance analogs of PET can be categorized into three distinct product types:

* PEN homopolymers,

* copolymers of dimethyl-2,6-naphthalene dicarboxylate with terephthalate monomers and

* blends of these materials with PET.

Naphthalate-based polymers re-portedly are attractive for packaging use because of their improved gas barrier, high temperature resistance, higher strength and greater barrier to UV light, says Bob Min-ney, manager of recycling programs for the Polyester Business at Shell Chemical Company's Akron, Ohio location.

In April, Shell, Amoco Chemicals, Lisle, Ill., Magnetic Separation Sys-tems Inc. (MSS), Nashville, Tenn., and Wellman Inc. Johnsonville, S.C., announced the completion of the initial phase of a technology - the MSS BottleSort - that will automatically sort these naphthalate polymer containers from PET containers in the waste stream.

"Data generated during field testing of a first-generation naphthalate sensor in a simulated manufacturing operation has shown strong efficiencies at throughputs of 1,500 to 2,500 pounds per hour for four ty-pes of baled and labeled containers with different naphthalate content" in the typical waste stream, says Pete Booth, Wellman's research and development manager.

"Based on the conclusions drawn from this field trial, we are proceeding with work on a second-generation sensor," says Garry Kenny MSS' president.

Improvements with the second-generation sensor will be evaluated in field trials that simulate operations at reclaimers: Current practice at some reclaimers is to blend de-posit, curbside and deposit curbside recycled PET bales. The additional field trials will focus on determining rejection rates of all types of naphthalate polymer containers dispersed in a typical blended feed stream.

Tests on applications and customer acceptance of recycled naphthalate polymers use are ongoing, funded in part by Amoco, Shell and The Coca Cola Company, Atlanta. Feedback from reclaimers on appropriate commercial targets for PET loss and rejection rates for the various naphthalate polymer containers will help hone the plastic's use and marketability.

Permit The New York City Trade Waste Commission has granted Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., a temporary license to operate its recent acquisitions, several collection companies, in New York City.

Recycling Jobs DenMark International, Cannelton, Ind., will create 14 new jobs as part of $127,141 recycling project. As a re-sult, the Indiana Department of Com-merce will award the company a $28,670 zero-interest loan from the state's Recycling Promotion and Assistance Fund.

Recycling Volumes Reynolds Metals Co., Richmond, Va., reported that it recycled 584 million pounds of consumer-generated aluminum during 1996.

Clarification In the April Issue, World Wastes ran a chart entitled Landfill Tipping Rates By State on page eight. This information represented the number of tons per site, and not the landfill tipping fees. For more information, contact Paul Schiffer at (800) 352-0050.

LEGAL: Disposal Costs, Residents Pay

Homeowners in Clay County, Fla., must pay a special assessment for solid waste facilities, under a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court [Harris, et al. v. Wilson, et al., No. 86,210 (March 20, 1997)].

In 1992, county officials enacted an ordinance imposing a special assessment for county solid waste facilities. The assessment, amounting to $63 per dwelling unit, applied only to residential properties in unincorporated areas.

The affected homeowners challenged the assessment by taking the county to court. The county promptly asked the court to summarily rule in its favor, submitting affidavits from the county manager (a former solid waste director) and from a consultant who helped the county prepare the assessment. The affidavits outlined the assessment adoption process and asserted that the assessment's amount was apportioned among the affected properties in an amount equal to or less than the benefit received by such properties.

The affidavits also mentioned how non-assessed properties paid for solid waste services: The costs of processing and disposing of solid waste from properties within municipalities and from commercial and other non-residential properties within the unincorporated area are collected through tipping fees at the disposal site, which fees fairly represent the cost of handling the waste from such properties; the decision not to impose the assessment on commercial properties was based on the uneven amounts of solid waste generated by such properties.

The trial court also reviewed the ordinance adopting the assessment. The ordinance incorporated specific findings on why the county did not impose the assessment within municipalities and how affected residential properties were benefitted by the processing and disposal of the solid waste they generated.

As part of its motion for summary judgment, the county also furnished a copy of the official assessment resolution, which included findings on (a) the need for solid waste disposal facilities to handle solid waste generated on improved residential property, (b) closure and long-term care of facilities, (c) potential increase in value to improved residential land and (d) the enhancement of environmentally responsible use and enjoyment of residential land.

The trial court rejected certain documents offered by the plaintiffs to oppose the county motion and summarily ruled in favor of the county.

An intermediate level appeals court upheld the trial court's validation of the assessment, ruling that a special assessment can be levied through- out a community to pay for solid waste services if the assessment, for one thing, provides a special benefit to the properties assessed and, for another, is properly apportioned.

By a five to two margin, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the appeals court decision, ruling that the county's findings of special benefit and fair apportionment were not arbitrary.

Quoting from the Final Assessment Resolution, the high court focused on the county's own statement of its motivations and purposes:

The county must, by law, provide solid waste facilities for all residents, and it is only fair that the associated costs be shared by all residents. The only way for the county to minimize each resident's solid waste cost is to ensure that every resident participates in funding solid waste disposal and recycling services.

Finding similarities to a 1995 decision where they upheld a special assessment for polluted stormwater run-off treatment services, the justices noted that in both circumstances the local government was legislatively required to properly handle a potential pollution-causing problem and authorized to fund the work by assessment. At the same time, the benefitted properties were contributors to the problem, and the governments were unable, by other means, to pay for solving it.

What constitutes a special benefit is a matter for the legislative body that courts should not overturn without clear evidence of "arbitrary action or plain abuse," said the court. "[W]e agree with the trial and [appeal] courts' determination that Clay County did not act arbitrarily in finding that the properties in question were specially benefitted by the provision of disposal services," the majority opinion concluded.

As for the apportionment issue, the high court agreed with the County's reasons for excluding incorporated areas and commercial property from the assessment, noting that "other efficient means [existed] for assuring payment for the disposal of those property owners' solid waste ..."

Ultimately, however, the method of apportionment, as the majority of the justices saw it, was acceptable because the assessment represents the actual cost of providing disposal services and facilities to the properties subject to the assessment, the cost is equally distributed among the affected properties, and has a "rational relationship" to the benefits received by such properties.

hazwastes: Hazwaste Facility Increases Participation, Reduces Costs

Although only a small percentage of solid waste tonnage, household hazardous waste (HHW) re-presents the majority of toxic components in the U.S. solid waste stream.

More than 1 million tons of HHW are disposed of annually across the country - an amount which demands some degree of management. Formerly, the only HHW programs were special collection events typically held one day each year at non-permanent sites.

In recent years, however, an increasing number of permanent collection facilities have been established.

For example, Brown County, Wis., recently created the state's first permanent indoor HHW collection and processing facility.

Since 1981, the county has hosted annual "clean sweep" events, collecting an average of 20,100 pounds of HHW per year, according to Dean Haen, solid waste specialist for the Brown County Solid Waste Depart-ment. But that is only a fraction of the hazardous waste that actually is disposed.

In 1993, the waste department, with the assistance of the Green Bay Metro-politan Sewerage Dis-trict, studied alternatives to the annual col- lection event that would increase citizen participation.

This would reduce the amount of landfilled HHW, thus lowering costs by reducing leach-ate toxicity and groundwater contamination. Also, reducing the a-mount of toxic chemicals entering the sewer system would improve the quality of the effluent discharged to the Fox River and safety conditions at the Green Bay treatment plant.

The alternatives considered included: multiple one-day collection events, a permanent collection facility and, a permanent collection facility with integrated satellite and/or mobile collection facilities.

In February 1996, the Brown Coun-ty Solid Waste Board approved a $434,000 plan to build a permanent disposal facility adjacent to the existing Materials Recycling Facility in the village of Ashwaubenon. The site is operated year-round and will accept HHW two days a week during its first year.

The facility's designers, Robert E. Lee & Associates, Green Bay, Wis., toured several HHW facilities for ideas before construction. As a result, the 4,320-square-foot facility was completed at a lower cost than other facilities of similar size despite having to correct subgrade instability.

One design feature that lowered cost and improved safety was the elimination of the sumps normally constructed for spill containment. Instead, the floor was sloped to contain spills on the surface, making them immediately apparent and easier to clean.

The segregated flammable materials storage building also contributed to cost savings and improved safety. This 890-square-foot structure, built for handling and storing class lA and lB flammable liquids, was a result of a discussion between the engineers and the National Fire Protection Agency. By segregating this storage area, the need for deflagration (explosion) venting and a sprinkler system for fire suppression was eliminated.

And, in a move to promote efficient material flow, engineers designed the product exchange room, where usable products are given back to the public, adjacent to the receiving area.

The year-round permanent facility has reduced unit costs in other ways, too:

* permanent, trained staff eliminates the need for contracted services;

* set-up and take-down time is not necessary, as with the one-day events; and

* a permanent site provides a better opportunity for ongoing citizen education.

In less than three months of operation, the quantities received at the site already have surpassed the annual clean sweep totals. With storage capacity, on-site waste reduction practices can be used, including acid and base neutralization, material bulking and aerosol can decanting. The product exchange program also will reduce disposal costs, possibly by as much as 60 percent, according to Haen.

However, because HHW is exempt from hazwaste disposal regs, the program relies on voluntary participation.

Education will be key to the program's success, since many people do not know of the potential danger in their household products or even that this facility exists. So, educational material is given out which describes non-toxic alternatives to toxic chemical use, proper disposal methods and wise use of the chemicals.

But the ultimate goal of education is to permanently change people's purchasing and disposal habits. Fortunately, over the past few years, the public has strongly supported these types of programs.

Alliance Rockwell Automation/Dodge and Flender Ag has formed a strategic alliance for the development and manufacture of a new gearmotor product line.

Acquisitions Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., has acquired Apex Waste Services Inc., Scranton, Pa., a full-service waste collection company with an annual revenue of approximately $20 million.

Morbark, Winn, Mich., a wood chipping and solid waste grinding equipment manufacturer, has acquired GDS Screens from USM Equipment Co., Inc., Riviera Beach, Fla. The trommels will be produced in Morbark's 1.5-million-square-foot Michigan factory.

Contracts Community Waste Disposal Inc., Dallas, has signed an $8.9 million franchise agreement with the city of Allen, Texas, to provide residential garbage collection and curbside recycling beginning in June.

Med/Waste Inc., Opa Locka, Fla., has entered into a five-year agreement with Baptist Hospital of Miami to provide on-site treatment of medical waste. The contract is estimated to save the hospital more than $500,000 through a capitated cost program and is expected to generate more than $2 million in additional revenue for Med/Waste.

Shred-Tech, Cambridge, Ontario, has been awarded a $3 million contract by Micro Metallics Corp., San Jose, Calif., to supply and install a custom designed system to reduce computer and computer hardware for the recovery of component metals.

New Dealer United Recycling Equipment Inc., Mart, Texas, has recently become the exclusive dealer for Hustler Conveyor Co.'s, O'Fallon, Mo., recycling systems, conveyors and related equipment.

New Office Environmental Resources Manage-ment Group, Exton, Pa., has opened a new office in Barcelona, Spain.

Partnership Presona Inc.., Waco, Texas, a manufacturer of balers for the paper industry, has formed a partnership with Arnold Co., a Vienna-based manufacturer of ferrous and nonferrous scrap processing equipment..

Permit Arid Operations, operator of the Mesquite Regional Landfill, has been granted a solid waste facility permit by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacra-mento, making it the first California waste-by-rail landfill project to achieve permitting status.

Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., operators of the Burnsville Solid Waste Management Landfill, received a permit to accept construction and demolition waste at three expansion areas previously designed for municipal solid waste, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul. The three areas can hold up to 1.8 million cubic yards of waste.

The New York City Trade Waste Commission has granted Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., a temporary license to operate its recent acquisition, a collection company, in New York City.

Recycling Jobs DenMark International, Cannelton, Ind., will create 14 new jobs as part of $127, 141 recycling project. As a result, the Indiana Department of Commerce will award the company a $28,670 zero-interest loan from the Recycling Promotion and Assistance Fund.

Contracts Community Waste Disposal Inc., Dallas, has signed an $8.9 million franchise agreement with the city of Allen, Texas, to provide residential garbage collection and curbside recycling beginning this month.

Med/Waste Inc., Opa Locka, Fla., has entered into a five-year agreement with Baptist Hospital of Miami to provide on-site treatment of medical waste. The contract is expected to save the hospital approximately $500,000 through a capitated cost program and also is expected to generate more than $2 million in additional revenue for Med/Waste Inc.Shred-Tech, Cambridge, Ontario, has been awarded a $3 million contract by Micro Metallics Corp., San Jose, Calif., to supply and install a custom designed system to reduce computer and computer hardware for the recovery of component metals.

New Dealer United Recycling Equipment Inc., Mart, Texas, has recently become the exclusive dealer for Hustler Conveyor Co.'s, O'Fallon, Mo., recycling systems, conveyors and related equipment.

New Office Environmental Resources Manage-ment Group, Exton, Pa., has opened a new office in Barcelona, Spain.

Partnership Presona Inc.., Waco, Texas, a manufacturer of balers for the paper industry, has formed a partnership with Arnold Co., a Vienna-based manufacturer of ferrous and nonferrous scrap processing equipment..

Permit Arid Operations, operator of the Mesquite Regional Landfill, has been granted a solid waste facility permit by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacra-mento, making it the first California waste-by-rail landfill project to achieve permitting status.

Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., operators of the Burnsville Solid Waste Management Landfill, received a permit to accept construction and demolition waste at three expansion areas previously designed for municipal solid waste, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul. The three areas can hold up to 1.8 million cubic yards of waste.

The New York City Trade Waste Commission has granted Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., a temporary license to operate its recent acquisition, a collection company, in New York City.

Recycling Jobs DenMark International, Cannelton, Ind., will create 14 new jobs as part of $127, 141 recycling project. As a result, the Indiana Department of Commerce will award the company a $28,670 zero-interest loan from the Recycling Promotion and Assistance Fund.

legislation: Top Brass Lose Shine Over Safety Issues

The Los Angeles County Superior Court will be hosting a closely-watched trial once again this summer. Although the case will have none of the hullabaloo that surrounded the O.J. Simpson trial, the stakes are much more significant.

Jorge Torres died on the job in 1994. While standing atop a 60-ton mountain of salt, he was swallowed up like quicksand and buried alive at the bottom of a bin. His employer, Chicago-based Morton International Inc., and two supervisors face trial for manslaughter in his death.

A growing number of companies, executives and managers are facing charges that, on the surface, look like garden-variety street crimes. Pro-secutors in more than a dozen states have turned on-the-job injuries into criminal conduct - from assault and battery to reckless homicide.

As a result, employers who ignore warnings to improve workplace safety can face long jail terms or, for the businesses themselves, punishing fines. Since 1990, state and local prosecutors have sent nearly a dozen employers to jail. Indeed, one plant manager received a 20-year sentence.

The charges against Morton include allegations that it criminally failed to provide a suitable platform for its workers to stand on. The company, which denies the charges, is trying to have the case dismissed.

Such prosecutions often "make criminal what is nothing more than an accident," says Scott Dunham, an attorney for Morton. He accuses the district attorney of undercutting the purpose of the regular criminal laws by attempting to apply them to the workplace where, as Dunham sees it, federal job-safety laws provide sufficient protection for workers.

For their part, prosecutors have little faith that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Washington, D.C., will ag-gressively pursue workplace injuries. First, the Reagan and Bush administrations cut OSHA's inspection staff by one-third, and Congress has shown scant interest in beefing up the program. Second, even when OSHA issues citations for safety violations, the penalty is usually a fine. Employers have been jailed in only three instances for federal safety violations, and the longest jail term was six months.

"For states not to investigate would be criminal," says Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger. On average, 17 workers die on the job each day in the United States. For many employers, fines for workplace violations are part of "the cost of doing business," says Harshbarger. Federal safety officials cheer the get-tough approach by state and local prosecutors. "We've got to find help where we can get it," says Labor De-partment acting solicitor Dawitt Mc-Ateer.

Of course, some prosecutions are stymied and defendants go free. Often, it is easier to prove that an employer is liable for a civil infraction than for a criminal offense, says a spokesperson for the National District Attorneys Association.

Nevertheless, the prospect of going to jail can be pretty scary for company owners and managers. In March, prosecutors in Massachusetts charged the owner of a recycling facility with manslaughter after two em-ployee deaths: One got trapped in a metal shredder and the other was run over by a loading truck.

The plant owner, Thomas E. Bow-ley, ignored warnings to install a protective guard on the shredder and to fix the truck's worn brakes, according to papers filed in Middlesex County Superior Court.

Holding employers criminally ac-countable for employee deaths isn't a recent phenomenon. In 1985, the State Attorney's Office in Cook Coun-ty, Ill., prosecuted three executives of a Chicago silver recovery company for murder after a Polish immigrant wor-ker died from cyanide poisoning. A judge convicted the three individuals of murder and the company of man-slaughter.

An appeals court subsequently overturned the murder convictions. Similar cases elsewhere met the same fate. The appellate courts said that prosecuting workplace safety violations was a job for federal officials, not individual states and localities.

By the late 1980s, however, the highest courts in Illinois and Mich-igan ruled that those states could prosecute companies and officers lawfully under general criminal codes.

When, in 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the Illinois ruling, Cook County prosecutors re-filed murder charges against the three silver company executives. The defendants decided to plea bargain to involuntary manslaughter rather than go to trial.

Most state manslaughter and negligent homicide laws do not require prosecutors to prove that employers intended to kill their workers. Con-victions are possible even if the evidence shows that reckless indifference or negligence caused the deaths.

Maine and California passed new laws that criminalize employer conduct that endangers employees. The California law, which was passed in 1989, now is under attack by business groups that seek its repeal. They call it the "Be-a-Manager/Go-to-Jail" law.

recycling: Iowa Recycling Industry Raises Revenue, Creates Jobs

American City & County Magazine Recyclable materials processing stimulates more than $100 million in industrial sales and creates more than 1,290 jobs in Iowa, according to a new study to help the state reach its waste reduction goals.

The Economic Impacts of Recycling, published by R.W. Beck, Minneapolis, and sponsored by Recycle Iowa, at-tributes this revenue to a growing recyclables market and the employment opportunities in the industries that use these materials.

The study's objectives were two-fold: 1) Measure the current economic im-pacts of recycling ac-tivities (collectors, processors, brokers, end-users and recycling equipment manufacturers) on Iowa employment, income and tax revenue. And, 2) identify specific recyclable material market development opportunities that benefit Iowa's economy.

Using the Iowa Re-cycling Directory and several supplemental lists, the R.W. Beck project team identified a master list of recycling businesses and communities in Iowa.

More than 500 entities from the list were surveyed on the following information:

* name, locations and contact person;

* recycling activities conducted;

* quantities of materials handled;

* material pricing;

* employee and payroll information; and

* perceived barriers and drivers to recycling in Iowa.

The survey received a 25 percent response. The information was from calendar year 1995 and was used to complete an Iowa re-cyclable materials process flow and as data for the economic and fiscal impacts analysis.

The analysis re-vealed that processing recyclables impacts the state's economy more than any other part of its recycling industry. In fact, more than 650 processing jobs existed in Iowa in 1995. These jobs and the resulting product sales generated more than 1,290 total jobs and $100.3 million total industrial sales statewide.

The 1995 fiscal benefits from processing were $3.9 million in local governmental revenue and $2.4 million in state governmental revenue. And, for every processing job created, one additional job is created in the re-maining economy. Also, for every $1 generated in this area, an additional 97 Cents is generated in the remaining economy.

End-use manufacturers, on the other hand, provide the greatest economic value to Iowa's economy. In 1995, this value reached $359.5 million in total income and supplied 8,800 jobs.

When measuring income, jobs and added value, the consulting team discovered that processing old corrugated containers (OCC), recyclable paper (old newspapers, high grade and mixed) and plastics as compared to other recyclable materials was the most economically viable - OCC and mixed paper providing the greatest business opportunities.

In addition, the survey discovered that the end-use of high-grade office paper is the most viable recycling market development business opportunity. Most of the high-grade white paper collected from offices and schools currently is marketed out-of-state.

Further study was recommended to assess the potential of processing and marketing various recycled plastics.

For more information or to receive a copy of Iowa's Economic Impacts of Recycling Study, contact Margo Un-derwood, Director, Recycle Iowa, 200 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50309. (515) 242-4755. Fax: (515) 242-4749. E-Mail: [email protected] ided.state.ia.us

Partnership Presona Inc., Waco, Texas, a manufacturer of balers for the paper industry, has formed a partnership with Arnold Co., an Austrian-based manufacturer of ferrous and nonferrous scrap processing equipment.

Permit Arid Operations, operator of the Mesquite Regional Landfill in Cal-ifornia, has been granted a solid waste facility permit by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, making it the first waste-by-rail landfill project in the state to achieve permitting status.

Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., operators of the Burnsville, Minn., Solid Waste Management Landfill, re-ceived a permit to accept construction and demolition waste at three expansion areas designed for solid waste, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul. The three areas can hold up to 1.8 million cubic yards of waste.

The New York City Trade Waste Commission has granted Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., a temporary license to operate its recent acquisition, a collection company, in New York City.

Recycling Jobs DenMark International, Cannelton, Ind., will create 14 new jobs as part of $127, 141 recycling project. As a result, the Indiana Department of Commerce will award the company a $28,670 zero-interest loan from the Recycling Promotion and Assistance Fund.

Gearing Up For The Long Haul

Mirror-finished chrome and sequin-clad hostesses illuminated the offering at this year's Mid-America Truck Show, which was held in Louisville, Ky., March 20 to 22.

From trucks and trailers to transmissions and tires, the floors were packed with the nation's premier manufacturers and their products. Highlights include:

Freightliner Corp., Portland, Ore., introduced a number of new enhancements for its Business Class product line. A new factory all-wheel drive option includes Marmon-Herrington 12,000- and 16,000-pound front-drive axle ratings. The 16,000-pound axle has planetary hub-reduction and provides three inches of additional ground clearance at the front axle, compared to standard single-reduction front-drive axles.

The improved ground clearance results from a smaller differential housing in the center of the axles. The double-reduction all-wheel drive option is available on the heavier Business Class product line, including the FL 106 and FL 80 models.

The FL 70 and FL 80 Business Class models can use a single reduction 12,000-pound axle. Factory all-wheel drive installation means that Freightliner now offers full factory designed and supported product coverage across the board for Business Class all-wheel drive applications.

Ford Motor, Dearborn, Mich., announced the Louisville 111, the latest in its new line of Louisville severe-duty and vocational straight trucks and tractors.

The 111 is available in two power ranges: The mid-range diesel features an 111-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) measurement, a front-bumper-to-steering-axle measurement of 29 inches, wheelbases of 166- to 262-inches and Cat 3126 or Cummins C8.3 diesel power. Premium-engine Louisville 111 models offer more diesel power from Cat, Cummins and Detroit Diesel. These trucks are designed to meet bridge-law and axle-spacing requirements.

Navistar International, Chicago, announced its International 9100 conventional tractor designed for regional applications. The new model shares standard parts and components with other International 9000 Series tractors, including a 112-inch BBC design and a 46-inch, set-back front axle.

The 9100 provides ample engine choices, including Cummins, Cat and Detriot Diesel engines, that range in size from 11- to 14-liter and offer up to 435 horsepower. These engine selections are complemented by a range of Rockwell, Dana and Eaton drivetrain components.

The Split-Shot fuel injector is an electro-hydraulic feature now standard on most Navistar mid-size diesel engines.

Split-Shot uses a hydraulically-actuated plunger mechanism to inject fuel in two stages: An initial pre-dose of fuel to trigger combustion, followed a second, larger dose to complete the combustion.

Mack Trucks, Allentown, Pa., introduced the newest version of its Mack E7 V-MAC engine, the Mack E-Tech. The heart of this engine is its electronic unit pump fuel system, but it also features the V-MAC III, Mack's electronic Vehicle Management and Control system, V-MAC III, and a new, high-tech J-Tech engine brake.

The electronic unit pumps operate at up to 26,000 pounds/square inches of pressure.

The system features six electronic unit pumps, one for each cylinder, located on the side of the block, instead of under the valve cover like electronic unit injector systems.

The E-Tech engine is available in three families and ten power ratings - from 275 to 460 BHP.

Peterbilt Motors, Denton, Texas, introduced its 46,000-pound Air Trac Suspension platform to accommodate vocations such as refuse/recycling and regional interstate hauls where GVWR laws fluctuate.

The company also unveiled its new digital message center which provides drivers and service technicians with vehicle performance information. It is compatible with all electronic engines and provides diagnostic information for current and historical (time-stamped) events. Real-time sensor readings are available for engine speed, engine brake and instantaneous fuel economy.

Caterpillar Engine, Peoria, Ill., announced that its Cat Extended Life Coolant protects against liner pitting and corrosion, provides aluminum component protection and guards against seal face build-up and gel formation.

Cat also reviewed recent enhancements to its Truck Owner Protection Plan which allows users to obtain a level cost rate for the program's life. This rate is based on miles driven, engine use hours or fuel gallons consumed - whichever is most appropriate for an application.

The plan offers two levels of engine protection. Either plan can be customized with additional coverage options to provide the type of cost control and service owners need. All new heavy-duty Cat Truck Engines with less than 18 months (and 200,000 miles) of service since initial delivery qualify for enrollment.

Eaton Corp., Kalamazoo, Mich., unveiled its largest generation anti-lock brake system. Called "Generation-4" by Eaton and manufactured by Bosch, the redesigned anti-lock system features an integrated valve pack, keyed electrical connectors and integral relays that streamline the wiring harness for simpler OE installation.

Features like an advanced automatic traction control option is designed to improve traction and eliminate equipment damage from spinout and help stop brake overheating.

The company also is expanding low-maintenance options on its trailer axle products. The low maintenance wheel end system (LMS) will include an iron hub option for trailer axle applications while an LMS brake package becomes available. The hub controls bearing adjustment and eliminates installation variables that can cause excessive end-play leading to premature wheel seal failures.

The Little Train That Could

During the past decade, hauling waste by rail has grown from a novelty to become an accepted and cost-competitive alternative to long-haul trucking.

While at least three major waste-by-rail facilities operate in the West and an armload of smaller operations exist across the country, one of the oldest and most successful is the East Carbon Development Company (ECDC) Environmental facility, located in East Carbon, Utah.

This state-of-the-art site combines a variety of material handling equipment into a 42,000-ton-per-day powerhouse. From Los Angeles' municipal solid waste (MSW) to harbor dredging from New York - ECDC handles it.

ECDC Environmental and the East Carbon landfill are the brainchildren of company founder, Steve Creamer, who serves as president and CEO.

In 1989, with landfill rates skyrocketing along the East Coast in response to the landfill crisis, an opportunity was born. "In those days, there was $100-a-ton waste in New York, New Jersey and all over the East Coast," Creamer remembers. "And, they were predicting prices would go higher. I knew enough about railroads and landfills from designing and constructing them to understand that with $100 a ton, we could haul it all the way across the country."

Knowing "little about the waste industry," Creamer sought partners for the venture, choosing Jerry Gagner, then president and CEO of USPCI, a hazardous waste company, due to his "vast experience in the waste industry."

At the time, Creamer owned and operated an engineering consulting company which provided county engineering services for 20 of Utah's 29 counties and for 200 of the state's 300 cities. This detailed knowledge of Utah allowed them to identify potential sites which were suited to a landfill of the size and scope envisioned.

Citing Carbon County's climate and geology, the company identified it as a potential site. "It's situated in a high desert where the evaporation rate is approximately four times the annual precipitation," re-ports John Ward, ECDC's spokesperson. "The facility sits on top of a 1,500-foot shelf of Mancos shale. The nearest potable ground water is almost a mile down, and nobody is using it."

Additionally, there was an opportunity to backhaul materials using the existing coal hauling operations. "Carbon County ships about 25 million tons of coal every year," Creamer says. "All those cars come back empty to Carbon County to be reloaded with coal again. We considered those factors and targeted the Bergan County, N.J., MSW bid that was going to come up."

"Our goal is to be an integral part of the East Carbon community and to give a commitment back to them in return for the commitment they've shown us," says Ward of the town that is located approximately 150 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. ECDC directly employs 47 people at the facility while creating at least 22 related jobs for the local railroad, steel fabrication and construction companies.

"The lion's share of our workers are from the area," Ward reports. "Those 47 jobs are a significant number for a rural community."

Originally, ECDC Environmental was privately-owned, with Creamer as the head investor. "In March of '93, a majority position in the company was sold to USPCI, which was Union Pacific railroad's waste management subsidiary," Ward reports.

"The acquisition by USPCI gave ECDC the access to the capital needed to support the transportation mission," he says. "We knew that to make this work; we had to be a railroad company with lots of equipment. We had to invest in a top-quality facility and maintain it that way."

Currently, Laidlaw owns approximately 80 percent of the company, having acquired USPCI from Union Pacific in December 1995.

This acquisition has served to further strengthen ECDC's financial clout.

"Laidlaw is one of the world leaders in the waste business, and of course, we're very happy with that because it still meets our need for having the kind of capital resources and financial strength to back us up," Ward says. "It's also good for customers, be-cause they have the enhanced liability protection of having a company the size of Laidlaw behind us."

Making It Happen Daily First and foremost, ECDC Environ-mental views itself as a transportation company that has a disposal facility. "We don't just offer customers a tip fee," Ward says.

"We employ a broad range of experts who can get involved at virtually every stage of a project, from project management to the on-site operations to the transportation scheduling. Bring-ing the customer base in depends on that expertise. We've also invested the capital necessary to back up such a strategy."

That strategy includes ownership or lease of approximately 1,200 rail cars, ranging from coal cars, wood chip cars, tankers and gondolas, and 6,000 intermodal containers ranging in size from 20-cubic-yard dirt boxes to 102-cubic-yard open-tops.

"We've tried to learn how to do it better than anybody else has by rail," Creamer says. "For MSW, we've just developed a 12-foot high, 40-foot long container that does not have an end gate and that loads from the top. We built a rotary dumper that will actually take the container."

ECDC maintains a nationwide network of regional offices that are staffed with personnel able to determine the best combination of transportation and disposal needs for each customer. The company has specialized in handling large volumes of materials quickly, Ward says.

"We've positioned ourselves to be the only answer for large volume jobs that need to be accomplished quickly," he continues. "For instance, we have done some dredging projects on both coasts that involved moving huge volumes of dredge spoil materials within a very short window of time and we've been able to accomplish that where nobody else has because of the combination of rail equipment we have and the large capacity site that's ready to take material."

Materials can arrive at the landfill either by rail car, intermodal container on flatcar or by direct truck haul. "We take in an average of 35 to 40 trucks a day," reports Harold Marston, vice pre-sident of operations and construction. "Some of these are local; some are long-haul. We scan all the trucks through radiation detection equipment that monitors the loads for two times natural background radiation.

"From that point, it's weighed. The project number and assessment is given to our lower landfill office and then the truck is coordinated in to it's disposal site. We don't take any off-the-street business. All the trucks are known haulers to our facility or they've had prior approval for their waste."

More than 98 percent of the waste that arrives at the East Carbon site is rail-hauled. The rail system has two primary components:

* An intermodal operation where loaded containers are removed from the rail cars and hauled to the landfill face. The site is serviced by two 7,800-foot intermodal tracks. Here, a large crane straddles both the tracks and a driveway which allows the staging of tractor trucks with 50-ton, self-dumping chassis.

Once the container is emptied at the landfill, it is washed inside and out with high-pressure hot water. Then, it is relined with a plastic liner, retarped and brought to the intermodal yard for reloading.

* A bottom dump and a rotary dump facility which is capable of directly unloading a rail car. "When we originally went into business, we started with a bottom dump that requires the use of hopper cars with bottom gates that open over a lined pit," Marston states. "A vibrator came down on the car to unconsolidate the material and allow it to drop into the pit where it was loaded into rock trucks and hauled into the cell. In '93, we started construction on a rotary dump enclosed in a building. We have two 4,800-foot circular tracks that feed into this rotary dump building."

The cars are weighed as they are dumped in order to secure the exact weight of the load.

Once emptied, the car is run through a washing system. "We clean the rail car so it's cleaner than it was prior to loading and coming to our site," Marston says. "That allows us to use backhaul capacity, because other things can be loaded in the rail cars after we get through using them."

The site operates "almost as efficiently in the winter in our intermodal yard as we do in the summer - about 90 percent," Marston says. "Almost all the waste that comes into our site either went over the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevadas or the mountain range between Salt Lake and Carbon County, so we have some freezing problems. We have a 30 million BTU gas fired infrared container thaw shed where we're able to thaw eight containers at a time in 12 minutes and bring them to the landfill to dump."

Like others with sensitive materials to be disposed, ECDC's customers are concerned about environmental liability. "Our customer base is primarily For-tune 100 companies that generally insist on a higher standard for disposal," Ward says. "They are willing to pay a little more to make sure that their material is disposed of in the safest and most technologically-advanced way possible."

ECDC achieves this by offering specialized services tailored to the customers' needs. "We are focusing on making the concept of dedicated cells available. Customers have expressed interest in the enhanced liability protection of being the only company with waste in a cell," Ward says.

Heading South Of The Border While ECDC has established itself prominently in the rail-served landfill market, the company and its founder are considering expansion: Creamer is con- sidering establishing similar operations in the Southeast and Mexico.

"We've tried to stay on the cutting edge, and in the future, that's what we plan to try to do," he predicts. "We'll probably look for other regional sites to limit our freight costs. In the fu-ture, we'll look at a few other industrial-type re-gional landfills that will be purely rail served. We like rail. We think we've built a client base which trusts rail and understands how it works."

In Mexico, one of the most promising development areas, Creamer has formed a company called "Servicios Ambientales de Coahuila" in the state of Coahuila. The facility will be located about 65 kilometers northwest of Saltillo, on a major Mexican highway and on the main line of the Mexico National railroad.

At 3,000 hectares, the site will be slightly larger than the Utah facility. While patterned closely after ECDC, it will incorporate a large-scale recycling operation and will recover solvents among other things. It's estimated that up to 80 percent of the incoming materials may be recyclable.

"This will actually be a much broader program," Ward reports. "There is a lack of adequate disposal facilities in Mexico. The North American Free Trade Agreement has a number of environmental goals that would be difficult, if not impossible, for Mexico to reach without the development of a facility like this one."

Creamer is upbeat about both the future of rail haul of waste materials and ECDC's continuing role in defining that future. "ECDC has been successful because we've had a unique opportunity to run the company entrepreneurially and have not had to worry about capital," he says.

"Waste by rail is a great solution which tends to get overlooked be-cause it takes more logistics and thought process," he continues. "A lot of people have talked about copying it, but no one really has ever been willing to spend the capital and the time to create the transportation logistics systems in order to make it work."