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Articles from 1997 In September


The Undiscovered Orlando

Forget the mouse ears. The Orlando, Fla., area has more to offer than the better-known attractions of Disney World, Epcot Center, Universal Studios and Sea World.

For instance, Cypress Gardens has numerous animal habitats for the interested explorer. Fallow deer, wallabies, cotton-topped tamarins and gila monsters are just a few examples of the displayed animal life. Cypress also boasts a 270-square-meter aviary with lories and lorikeets.

If cold-blooded creatures are more your speed, visit Gatorland where children can wrestle rascally gators. Or, get up-close-and-personal with an electric eel that produces 650 bolts at Marineland.

Flora fans can ogle the orchids at A World of Orchids where thousands bloom in a 30,000-square-foot conservatory. And, for racing fans, Daytona USA's Gatorade Victory Lane displays Jeff Gordon's 1996 Daytona 500 race car.

Whether you're seeking fine dining, dancing and music or if you just want to be a lounge lizard, Orlando offers a world of nighttime excitement. With more than 2,300 restaurants and world-renowned chefs, the area's broad range of atmosphere and menus satisfy every budget and taste. Experience the AAA four-diamond Arthur's 27 known for its international cuisine and panoramic view. Candlelight settings like those at Lake Suzanne's Chalet Suzanne Restaurant or Lee's Lakeside, overlooking Lake Eola, make for a romantic evening.

Florida Trend's annual listing for the state's finest restaurants include:Bergamos' Italian Restaurant (featuring singing waiters), Charlie's Lobster House, Chatham's Place, Dux (AAA four diamond winner), Le Coq Au Vin, Maison and Jardin Restaurante (winner of Wine Spectator's top award and a four diamond recipient), Park Plaza Gardens and Pebble Charley's Steak House (voted one of the "Top Ten Steakhouses in America" by the Knife and Fork Club of America and received an award of excellence by Wine Spectator for its wine list).

In addition to fine dining, Orlando offers numerous nightclubs including Baja Beach Club, Sloppy Joe's, Ybor's Martini Bar and Sapphire Supper Club.

Also, don't miss some of the city's popular sports bars such as Bloopers Sports Bar, Friday's Front Row Sports Grid and the Orlando Ale House.

A wide variety of activities are available for nature lovers. Scenic Boat Tours, a Winter Park tradition for more than 50 years, offers a relaxing, narrated cruise through the area's many lakes.

Elsewhere, the Orange County National Golf Center Complex includes two 18-holecourses, practice tees and instruction.

The 6,900-acre Wekiva Springs State Park provides opportunities for canoeing, camping, boating, fishing and swimming.

Or, visit Blue Springs State Park, home to the endangered manatees. Its pine forest accommodates the outdoor enthusiast well.

Cypress Island provides a safari-like experience where guests will delight in the vast assortment of exotic animals. Airboat rides, jet skis, nature walks and horseback rides are just a few of the activities available.

So, enjoy the conference and venture out afterwards. Orlando and all of the fun it holds awaits you.

Flow Controls' Finer Points

A local government unlawfully discriminates against interstate commerce when it restricts the flow of solid waste to out-of-state facilities, according to a ruling by a federal appeals court. However, the court added, controlling the disposition of waste destined for instate disposal does not necessarily burden commerce (Ben Oehrleins and Sons and Daughter. Inc., et al., v. Hennepin County, No. 96-2120, and Robinson Rubber Products Co. Inc. v. Hennepin County, No. 96-2170, 8th Cir., June 9, 1997).

An ordinance in Hennepin County, Minn., requires that locally generated waste be delivered to county-designated transfer stations or processing facilities. The county adopted the ordinance to implement its solid waste management master plan, which called for reduced reliance on landfilled waste in favor of waste-to-energy facilities. Indeed, the county issued some $150 million in bonds to finance the construction of an incinerator.

The ordinance, which took effect in 1989, was meant to assure that a sufficient quantity of waste would be delivered to the incinerator either directly or via designated transfer stations. Haulers that deliver waste to non-designated facilities face fines, costs and assessments, and risk suspension or revocation of their hauling permits. In 1993, the county suspended enforcement of the ordinance in cases where haulers delivered waste to facilities outside the state. However, the county continued to forbid the delivery of waste to non-designated facilities within Minnesota.

The plaintiffs, consisting of waste haulers, a Minnesota landfill, an Iowa landfill and residential and commercial waste generators, filed suit in federal district court in 1994. They alleged that the ordinance violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and asked the court for an injunction against the ordinance's enforcement and for damages. The district court ruled that the ordinance discriminates against interstate commerce, and permanently enjoined its enforcement. On appeal, the county argued that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring the lawsuit and that the ordinance does not violate the Commerce Clause.

The U.S. Constitution requires that one who seeks relief in a federal court must allege an actual or imminent injury resulting from the defendant's conduct. In addition, a federal court usually will not permit plaintiffs to assert rights or legal interests belonging to others in order to obtain relief from injury to themselves. Moreover, a plaintiff who alleges a constitutional right must show that its concerns are within the "zone of interests" protected by such constitutional guarantee.

The appeals court held that the waste hauler plaintiffs (who faced sanctions and other penalties) and the landfill plaintiffs (who could not compete for Hennepin County waste) have standing to sue. Their injuries are traceable to the county's enforcement of the ordinance. However, the appeals court denied standing to the generator plaintiffs ("consumers of waste disposal services") because no precedent existed for a suit by a consumer who suffered passed-on costs of an economic regulation.

"[I]f ultimate cost of economic regulation to consumers were within the zone of interests of the Commerce Clause, then every consumer could properly challenge such regulations," the opinion said.

County restrictions on waste destined for out-of-state shipment unlawfully discriminate against interstate commerce, the appeals court ruled. However, the appellate panel disagreed with the district court about the effect of the county's moratorium on enforcement against haulers taking waste to out-of-state facilities.

Although the instate designated facilities receive a preference over other instate operators, "as long as waste is allowed to flow freely ... out of the state, this does not constitute discrimination against interstate commerce," the court said. "[S]urely local monopolies or market controls that ... benefit ... out-of-state concerns simply do not constitute 'discrimination' under the Commerce Clause," it added.

Nevertheless, the court continued, "even a non-discriminatory law may unconstitutionally burden interstate commerce ... because [the] regulation fails [a] less rigorous balancing test." As the appeals court saw it, the restriction on solid waste destined for instate disposal does not discriminate against interstate commerce. An intrastate designation runs afoul of the Commerce Clause only if it fails the balancing test, the appeals court ruled.

The case will go back to the district court for a determination of whether the county's interests outweigh the ordinance's burden on interstate commerce. Significantly, the appeals court directed the lower court to consider "all of the interests advanced by the ordinance in the entire context of the county's master plan and designation plan," and in a footnote added: "[W]e have no authority to instruct the county that those stated interests are not really interests."

A Kick In The Glass Or Potential Profit?

As a shrewd recycling operator, you perform a cost benefit to optimize your glass processing operation, only to discover that this operation is causing your facility to sink into the red.

What to do? First, realize that your revenue for processing glass is the combined fees for accepting the material and the money from the sale of the commodity. You can maximize this income by both color sorting and pulverizing.

If glass processing is becoming a shard in your side, you should consider the following five possible solutions:

1. Don't accept glass as part of the recycling mix. This "solution" has been considered by some major waste haulers. While this will eliminate the losses associated with processing glass, it also means you must lose some of the revenue earned by accepting glass.

Glass can account for 30 percent to 50 percent of the comingled recyclables' total weight, and if you are paid perton to accept recyclables, your income will decline by those percentages.

2. Try to reduce the mixed broken glass (MBG) by better handling. This should reduce the MBG by approximately 10 percent with a marginal cost benefit if color sorting produces a positive income. However, this is only a partial solution since your disposal costs are not eliminated.

3. Automate your MBG color sorting. Such systems' costs range from $150,000 to $600,000. Their efficiency on dirty MBG is low, however, and the glass needs to be sized and relatively dry.

4. Reduce the MBG disposal costs. Look for someone to accept the MBG at a price less than the landfill fee to reduce disposal costs. This should increase daily cash flow from negative to break-even or slightly positive. Many haulers and material recovery facility (MRF) operators have opted for this solution because they don't want to process glass themselves. While this will improve the situation, it doesn't give them the full benefits of color sorting and pulverizing the glass.

However, this provides an opportunity for an independent glass processor to accept the MBG and other types of glass from the recyclers. The tipping fee for accepting the MBG glass will result in an income that can finance their processing operation. For example, Western Mobile, Bolder, Colo., charges a tipping fee for accepting waste glass from the local recycler and other commercial glass sources. Using an Andela system, it pulverizes the glass which is sold as an aggregate. Thus, it realizes income on both the front and back ends.

5. Pulverize the glass for local use or sale. This option gives a MRF both capabilities - both color sorting and pulverizing. Now, it can determine the most profitable option depending on market prices.

For a free cost benefit analysis for total (open and closed loop) glass recycling, contact the author at (315) 858-0055 or visit the Andela web site at www.recycle.net/andela

Processing Of A Different Sort

Early processing plant design and engineering weren't so much flawed as limited by a lack of technology fitted to the task.

"The first plants were all straight lines and positive sorting," recalls Sean Duffy, chief operating officer of FCR Inc., Charlotte, N.C., a material recovery facility (MRF) builder and operator.

However, now that technology has evolved, processing facilities must follow suit. "To make it work, you have to purchase reliable equipment and operate it efficiently," says Steve Jones of Rader Resource Recovery Inc., Memphis, Tenn.

"If you charge $36 a ton tip fee to take in garbage, then the pro forma should be based on that. If you buy $2 million worth of machinery, relying on revenues from recyclables to pay the mortgage, then you've made a mistake."

The first recyclers had strengths in facility design, equipment purchasing or plant operation, Duffy says. To succeed as a recycler, however, he contends that a company must have strengths in each of those areas, not just one or another. "Doing all three has enabled us to weather the ups and downs of the marketplace," he says.

FCR has designed and built 10 MRFs in the Southeast. Currently, it operates those facilities with the help of 350 employees.

In developing a facility, FCR addresses business decisions as early as possible, at the time a municipality issues its request for proposal (RFP).

"The key is to make it simple," Duffy says. "You have to find ways to limit the amount of work they have to do. For example, we like to work in two streams: mixed paper fibers on the one hand and commingled glass, plastic and metals on the other. We design systems to separate those two streams, which enables the municipality to collect efficiently, by asking customers to do only two sorts."

Once the waste stream has been characterized, FCR engineers move into system design, which focuses on three goals:

* producing high-quality materials,

* running at high recovery rates with low residue and

* operating as efficiently as possible.

While efficiency means high through-puts, FCR balances that need with its recovery goals. "We like to design systems that promote recovery," Duffy says. "High recovery means we can sell more material. We typically run at 2 to 3 percent [recovery rates]. That comes from system design: Where to put the eddy current; where to put the air classifiers; what type of mixed glass processing system to use."

Those design decisions stem from research conducted early in the process. "While we're developing our response to an RFP, we're talking to the area glass companies and newspaper and corrugated mills," he says. "We have to understand those markets before we can formulate our bid and develop our design.

"In the glass industry, for instance, a company with optical sorting equipment can accept mixed glass aggregate," he continues. "If that isn't possible, then you might design a system to crush the mixed glass to a size used in the asphalt industry."

From there, FCR considers through-puts based on the municipality's volume. This determines the sizes of the in-feed and shipping areas and the sorting lines' lengths.

At FCR's newest plant in Memphis, Tenn., the city promised 100 tons per day (tpd). FCR engineers designed a 42,000-square-foot, $2.7 million facility to handle 125 tons per 10-hour shift - or 250 tpd when two shifts operate.

"You design the facility to handle the specified throughput in a single shift," Duffy says. "Smaller facilities like Memphis have different kinds of equipment needs. For example, here we use a single baler with the capability of doing plastics, metals and paper." The baler in the Memphis facility is a two-ram model, manufactured by Harris Waste Management Group Inc., Peachtree City, Ga., with a bale release and a bale separation door to accommodate multiple products and variable grades.

Larger FCR facilities - such as the one in Charlotte - move up the design chain to more sophisticated equipment, such as air classifiers, eddy currents, live storage bunkers, magnets and trommels for both negative and positive sorting lines.

To Automate Or Not To Automate According to Eric Herbert, vice president of Burrtec Waste Industries, Fontana, Calif., the keys to facility design lie less in advanced technology and more in smoothly integrated conveyor systems that present material to sorters in a way that makes sorting easier.

To that end, Burrtec recently purchased two sorting line systems from MayFran International, Mayfield, Ohio: one to sort paper and another to convey a commingled single stream of both paper and containers. "I have yet to see a piece of equipment other than a magnet that automatically sorts materials in the waste stream," Herbert adds.

To get the best price performance on a system over its operational life, Herbert concentrates on integrating proven systems, like sorting. For example, instead of requiring someone on a loader to push materials out of a bunker, Herbert's lines allow a sorter to choose a material to bale, push it onto a live floor and send it to the baler.

Automatic level controls that speed up or slow down conveyor speed based upon what has been fed into the system is useful, says Herbert. "This kind of system integration improves efficiency by making sorting easier," he says. "For the most part, it's really not complex or revolutionary."

Don't misunderstand. Herbert isn't a non-believer when it comes to technology, only a skeptic. "We're constantly looking at new equipment and ideas," he says. "We recently agreed to work with National Recovery Technologies [Nashville, Tenn.] on a project it calls an 'autosort system' which sorts paper out of a waste stream that contains everything."

Cutting Labor Costs Skepticism aside, advanced material handling equipment holds out the hope of controlling labor costs, which are by far the highest costs in the recycling mix.

Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), Houston, has been investigating ways to automate material handling for years. "At one of our early plants in Florida, we designed a sort of eddy current, but it wasn't very effective," says Doyce Little, BFI's manager of the mechanical/electrical design group. "In the last four or five years, we've had more success."

BFI now uses a variety of advanced equipment. For example, some plants use automated rigid container sort systems with a magnet and a screen up front and an air classifier that blows lightweight plastics and aluminum off to a line - leaving the glass on the first line.

On the glass line, Little says, "We sort two colors, and the third is a negative sort." Recently, on the lightweight line, eddy current separators have been added to pop the aluminum up off the end of the line and separate it more completely from the trash, which falls off the conveyer's end.

The aluminum ends up on a conveyor that takes it into a silo with a bunker, where it can be pushed into the baler feed conveyor.

Little estimates that the eddy currents, which cost between $40,000 and $60,000, will pay for themselves in a year or two by eliminating the need for one to three sorters.

On the fiber side, BFI began installing old corrugated container (OCC) screens developed by Bulk Handling Systems, Eugene, Ore., about two years ago.

OCC screens can eliminate some manual sorting of compacted commercial refuse. "An OCC screen has a presort platform where the large contaminants are sorted out," Little says. "The small items fall through a large disk screen, and the corrugated goes off the end of the line in a negative sort.

"This has been a tremendous labor saver for us," he continues. "Instead of having eight to 10 people sorting corrugated, you might need only two to four people in the presort section of the line."

If an OCC screen eliminates five people, it will save $75,000 a year and pay for itself within a year or two, he says.

Little has seen demonstrations of two additional pieces of advanced equipment and purchased one of them: a bounce/adherence separator, which is a conveyor that tilts sideways and vertically and has shafts along its length with beaters that cause the belt to bounce up and down.

The bounce causes round objects to roll down the side or to the back, depending on the tilt setting.

Flat material such as newspaper adheres to the belt surface, which is made of a rough, somewhat tacky material.

"You don't get a 100 percent split this way, but you do get 80 percent to 90 percent," he says.

Expanding An Existing Facility The Spotsylvania County Department of Public Works in central Virginia operates 11 drop-off recycling facilities and one landfill. The largest drop-off center in Chancellor, Va., has been operating since 1988 and has grown popular with the 7,000 households located within a three-mile radius.

Center activity has grown to 3.5 vehicles per minute dropping off 50 tpd of household solid wastes and recyclables, including PET, HDPE, old newsprint, antifreeze, old oil, aluminum, glass, brush and wood waste.

In developing the most recent five-year spending plan for the county's recycling and landfill equipment, Doug Barnes, director of public works, included money to expand the Chancellor facility's capacity.

"We needed a piece of equipment that would bale more than just household wastes," Barnes says. The aim was to combine and compact the household wastes with large, bulky material - such as mattresses and sofas - in order to haul fewer loads.

"We also wanted to make it easier for residents to drop off materials," he adds. "Prior to the expansion, they had to drop off their trash in one spot and their large items in another. All of this led us to the idea of a pre-crusher, a beefed-up compactor with a steel wall that crushes the load first and then compacts it."

Barnes purchased two pre-crushers from Marathon Equipment Co., Vernon, Ala., for approximately $50,000 each and a $60,000 horizontal baler with side-load ejection to accommodate building constraints.

While the funds for the equipment came out of the tax dollars in the five-year plan, Barnes anticipates that the system will eventually pay for itself by increasing the center's current $130,000 per year in recycling revenues.

Also included in the plan were funds for a $250,000 tub grinder to mulch brush and wood. Given the space limitations at the existing facility, Barnes looks for multi-task equipment.

For example, its $150,000 Caterpillar (Peoria, Ill.) IT-18 front-end loader with rubber tires has multiple features, including a grappling hook to load brush into the tub grinder, a bucket attachment to load mulch into a truck and a snow plow to clear the facility's driveways during the winter.

Processing equipment continues to evolve as manufacturers modify their equipment to meet the needs of facilities with growing capacity demands and limited space.

At a basic level, the right equipment can make the sorting job easier and faster by lessening the need for manual labor. At the business level, equipment selection can be tailored to a operating plan for efficiently moving different kinds of waste streams and processing various products.

In the end, however, today's processing managers continue living a life of trial and error while writing the chapters on the next generation of recycling.

landfills: Financial Test Adds Flexibility For Owners/Operators

Good news for municipalities: A final rule granting municipalities more flexibility to meet financial assurance obligations for closure, post-closure care and corrective action - required by the municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill criteria - has emerged from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Under the original October 9, 1991 rule, the financial assurance vehicles available to owners and operators of MSW landfills included: surety bonds; letters of credit; insurance; guarantees; state-approved mechanisms or state assumption of responsibility.

Now, a financial test and a cost guarantee for local governments have been thrown into the mix. In fact, EPA estimates that through this test, 91 percent of local governments can use their financial strength to assure at least part of their obligations and 54 percent can assure all of their obligations.

The Local Government Financial Test steps include:

1. Qualification. A municipality must qualify to use the financial test by satisfying either the bond rating provision or the financial ratio alternative. A local government must have a current investment-grade bond rating (Aaa, Aa, A, or Baa as issued by Moody's, or AAA, AA, A, or BBB as is-sued by Standard and Poor's) on all outstanding general obligation bonds.

If there are no outstanding general obligation bonds or if the general obligation bonds are unrated, the municipal government can substitute financial ratios for the bond rating requirement - a liquidity ratio and a debt service ratio - so long as it provides financial statements prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles.

2. Obligation to give notice. A local government must include in its annual budget or financial report the estimated costs of closure, post-closure and corrective action obligations and when such costs will be incurred.

3. Records and reports. The following items must be placed in the facility operating record within specified time frames: a letter signed by the local government's chief financial officer showing compliance; the independently audited year-end financial statements; the opinion prepared by the government's year-end financial statement auditor; and a statement signed by the auditor or by the state agency, confirming data in the CFO's letter.

4. Calculations of costs to be assured. The financial test can be used for one purpose: to demonstrate financial assurance for the costs of the local government's total environmental obligations up to an amount not exceeding 43 percent of its total annual revenues.

The effective date for the local government financial assurance requirements was April 9, 1997 for landfill owners and operators. Operators of small, dry or remote landfills have until October 9, 1997 to meet the requirements. In cases where the April deadline does not allow enough time to comply with the requirements, state directors are authorized to waive the requirements for up to 12 months.

With a number of acceptable financial assurance mechanisms to choose from (such as corporate guaranty, bank letters of credit, cash escrow, finite insurance and surety bonds), it is important to understand the implications of each mechanism. So, before making a decision discuss your options with the state EPA, a bank and a professional insurance agent who specializes in environmental bonding and insurance.

New Office R&R International Inc., Akron, Ohio,a construction management, environmental services and facilities operation and maintenance firm, has opened a new Washington area office at 1419 Forest Dr., Ste. 205, Annapolis, Md. 21403. (410) 263-3770. Fax: (410) 263-3791.

Re-Opening Med/Waste Inc., Opa Loca, Fla., has announced that its Hamton, S.C., waste incineration facility, which suffered fire damage, has been granted permission to reopen and resume normal operations by the South Carolina Dept. of Health and Environmental Control. The company's S.C. operation provides medical waste management services to more thann 5,000 healthcare facilities throughout Florida.

landfills: Glacial Till Acts As Natural Landfill Liner

If a landfill liner had experienced no leaks in the last 12,000 years, you likely would say that the system had "withstood the test of time." And if the designers of an expansion for the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Regional Sanitary Landfill are correct, that is exactly what will happen.

This innovative conceptual design uses the relative impermeability of the state's unweathered glacial till as the landfill's bottom liner in combination with more traditional sidewall liners.

The landfill, which covers 400 acres, serves a population of approximately 175,000. It is the largest in the state, with waste receipts of 150,000 tons annually.

Last November, the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment granted the city of Sioux Falls a permit to operate and expand the landfill without a constructed bottom liner.

The natural liner concept, which was accepted unanimously by the board, reportedly will yield multimillion-dollar savings for the city in engineering, construction, maintenance and monitoring costs. This cost savings, along with the assurance of sufficient landfill space, will stabilize tipping fees and allow for the continued economic development of the Sioux Falls area.

Before the permit application was submitted to the state, LBG hydrogeologists conducted a comprehensive hydrogeologic evaluation of the existing and expansion landfill areas, and reviewed data provided by the South Dakota Geological Survey.

The assessment's results indicated that a clayrich glacial till to a depth of up to 150 feet underlies the site. The Wall Lake Aquifer, the area's primary groundwater resource, is underneath the glacial till.

The glacial till is extensively weathered and fractured up to 20 feet below land surface with a transition zone extending to the unweathered till at up to 45 feet below land surface. No significant sand layers or lenses were encountered within the landfill expansion area. Slug-test and permeameter test data indicated that the unweathered till has a hydraulic conductivity ranging from 10-7 to 10-9 centimeters per second, showing it to be relatively impermeable.

Carbon-14 age dating of the groundwater within the unweathered till showed it to be 12,000 to 20,000 years old. Analysis also showed that the groundwater has not been re-charged by water that was exposed to the atmosphere after 1953 - the year of the first hydrogen bomb test.

Direct observation of the glacial till in trenches excavated for the existing portion of the landfill confirmed that the till deeper than 40 to 45 feet below the land surface is not fractured, so it will not conduct fluids readily.

Based on the assessment's results, it was concluded that no significant lateral groundwater movement within the weathered glacial till had occurred in at least the last 12,000 years.

The expansion design proposed four north-south trending trenches excavated to 50 feet below land surface. The trenches will be up to 585 feet wide and 2,440 feet long. Leachate will flow by gravity to the trenches' south end for collection and removal. The final height will be 100 feet above land surface with a total landfill volume of 25.5 million cubic yards. At present disposal rates, the landfill expansion will last up to 60 years.

To be sure, this solution does not apply to every site. However, similar hydrogeologic conditions exist elsewhere in the upper Midwest, including North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, and perhaps in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. In some of the Western states, such as Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado and Montana, impermeable sediments also are found at the surface.

While this type of design requires a greater density of geological data than a conventional design, the costs may be significantly less than installing and maintaining a constructed liner. In any case, a design that uses the site's hydrogeology is more likely to yield a cost-effective solution than an "off the shelf" approach.

Agreement Mack Trucks Inc., Allentown, Pa., and Eaton Corp., Clemmons, N.C., have announced a long-term supplier agreement to improve both companies' competitiveness in the heavy-duty truck market. According to the terms of the agreement, Eaton Fuller transmissions will become standard on all Mack CH model chassis.

Approval Arid Operations has received final approval from a Superior Court decision for the completion of its Mesquite Regional Landfill, located 35 miles east of Brawley, Calif., in Imperial County.

Acquisition Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., has completed its acquisition of the Ruben Smith Carting Co., Atlantic City, N.J. It also has signed definitive purchase agreements to acquire five collection companies in New York City and a collection company in Miami. The combined companies have annual revenues of approximately $20.1 million.

American Disposal Services Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill., has acquired 10 waste management companies located in New England, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, bringing to 5`1 the company's total acquisitions since January 1993. The acquisitions were purchased using a combination of cash and stock.

Awards The American Forest & Paper Association has awarded its eight annual Best Paper Recycling Program Awards. Winners include: Manitowac County (Wis.) Materials Recovery Facility; Charleston County (S.C.) Department of Solid Waste/Recycling; Granger Recycling Center, Lansing, Mich.; Northwestern University, Ill.; Tree Musketeers, El Segundo, Calif.; and Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, Calif., has presented the Walt Disney Co. with a "Waste Reduction Award Program of the Year" plaque. In 1996, the company recycled 80,000 tons of waste, saving $528,000 in disposal costs.

Contract Global Recycling Technologies Inc., Stoughton, Mass., has been awarded a contract by the Massachusetts Division of Operational Services for the recycling of spent mercury-bearing fluorescent lamps. The contract is available to all Massachusetts agencies, authorities and municipalities for one year with up to four option years.

Loans The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, Calif., has approved $2,221,134 in loans to Evergreen Glass, Stockton; MBA Polymers, Richmond; and Vision Recycling, Almeada County.

New Facility Allison Transmission announces the opening of its new customer training facility in Indianapolis, Ind. The 13,000-square-foot facility offers courses on basic maintenance to more in-depth classes that cover hydraulic and electronic controls of the World Transmissions.

Re-Opening Med/Waste Inc., Opa Loca, Fla., has announced that its South Carolina waste incineration facility which suffered fire damage has been granted permission to reopen and resume normal operations by the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control.

UPDATE: WMI Recycles Bridge In New York

NEW YORK CITY - Everyone's heard of recycling newspapers, tin cans and soda bottles, but what about something a little larger, say, a bridge for example? In the city of New York, Waste Management Inc. (WMI), Oak Brook, Ill., is undertaking just such a project.

New York's Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees construction, repair and maintenance for the city's roadways and many of its bridges. In August 1994, DOT announced plans to rebuild the Williamsburg Bridge with completion scheduled for February 1998.

Constructed at the turn of the century and opened in 1903, the bridge is 7,100 feet long, spanning the East River and connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan. On a typical day, more than a quarter-million commuters cross the eight-lane bridge. In addition, it supports tow tracks for the New York subway system.

Working with the general contractor managing the rebuilding project, WMI processed more than 3,200 slabs of concrete - each weighing more than 6,000 pounds - from the bridge deck. The concrete slabs were broken apart and crushed at the company's Woodside Heavy Materials Yard, located in Queens.

After passing a battery of tests by the city and the state of New York, the recycled concrete then was used in the newly-constructed portions of the bridge. The metal reinforcement bars embedded in the concrete were recovered and recycled as well.

Bridge reconstruction is expected to continue into 1998. During that time, WMI will continue to process concrete slabs and make crushed concrete and blend material available.

"While many people jokingly offer to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge," says Will Flower, a WMI vice president, "we mean business when we offer to sell you the Williamsburg Bridge."

Award The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, Calif., presented the Walt Disney Co. with a "Waste Reduction Award Program of the Year" plaque. The company also was recognized as one of California's Top 10 waste reducers in 1996 due to the success of its "Environmentality" program. The program, which encouraged its 21,000 employees to reduce, reuse and recycle, ultimately resulted in 80,000 tons of waste being recycled, saving the company approximately $528,000 in avoided disposal costs.

Contract Global Recycling Technologies Inc., Stoughton, Mass., has been awarded a contract by the Massachusetts Division of Operational Services for the recycling of spent mercury-bearing fluorescent lamps. The contract is available to all Massachusetts agencies, authorities and municipalities for one year with up to four optional years.

Loans The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, Calif., has approved $2,221,134 in loans to Evergreen Glass, Stockton; MBA Polymers, Richmond; and Vision Recycling, Almeada County.

New Facility Allison Transmission announces the opening of its new customer training facility in Indianapolis, Ind. The 13,000-square-foot facility offers courses on basic maintenance to more in-depth classes that cover hydraulic and electronic controls of the World Transmissions.

Re-Opening Med/Waste Inc., Opa Loca, Fla., has announced that its South Carolina waste incineration facility which suffered fire damage has been granted permission to reopen and resume normal operations by the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control.

international: Recycling The Landfill Tax

If you could determine how your tax money was spent, would you? For most folks, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" In the United Kingdom, however, the idea has yet to catch fire.

With the recent implementation of the landfill tax, Her Majesty's (HM) Customs and Excise expects to collect an additional pound450 million this year. Instead of watching the money "disappear" into the treasury though, HM Customs and Excise now offers landfill owners/operators the opportunity to funnel their tax money (as much as pound90 million) into environmental organizations.

These organizations are a "softener" for the industry and are intended to encourage movement up the European Union's waste hierarchy (reduction at the top and disposal at the bottom) by funding new technologies research and public education initiatives highlighting the benefits of reduction, reuse and recovery.

"The waste management industry is being given the opportunity to spend money on environmental improvements that would not otherwise be affordable," according to ENTRUST - the regulatory body created to guide the environmental organizations. "Both the waste industry and the environment will benefit from this innovative initiative."

A unique feature of the landfill tax is that landfill site operators may claim tax credits if they voluntarily contribute to approved environmental organizations that are:

* non-profit;

* from the private sector;

* independently audited;

* accountable to a regulatory body;

* created at a national, regional or local basis; and

* managed by a board of trustees.

Although landfill operators cannot benefit directly from their contributions to environmental trusts, they can claim a rebate of 90 percent from Customs and Excise, up to 20 percent of their total tax payments.

ENTRUST's goal is to enroll 450 environmental organizations within the first year. One important board task will be to ensure that landfill operators' contributions, qualifying for landfill tax credits, are spent on projects such as reclamation, remediation and restoration. This may include the creation of new wildlife habitats and public parks.

Given the possibilities though, the potential benefit of environmental trusts remains obscure to many key individuals working in the public and private sectors. According to a MORI poll, commissioned by U.K.-based Biffa Waste Systems, Britain's larger waste companies have a weak knowledge of the tax and its implications, while local authorities seem slightly more informed.

In fact, 86 percent of the polled companies knew nothing about the tax, while less than half of the polled local authorities acknowledged the role the bodies could play in landfill site remediation. After explanation, however, 70 percent of the private companies thought that the trusts would be fairly or very beneficial.

Optimistic that interest will increase, existing regional and local or-ganizations are setting up their own environmental trusts in the hope of attracting financing from disposal companies. County councils, educational institutions and local consultants also are seeking to initiate trusts and get involved in their operation. As it stands, HM Customs and Excise predicts that more than one-third of all contributions will be made available for research and education.

Despite the registration of 71 environmental bodies shortly after the landfill tax initiation and the tax credit system, however, virtually no money has been donated by landfill operators. Assessing comments made by company representatives, it appears that the disposal companies are unwilling to make the investment because the proposed projects appear to have little local benefit and no benefit (direct or indirect) to the companies themselves.

On the whole, none of the polled companies expected anything relating to environmental organizations to be initiated within the next six months, though many expect some headway within a year. Once the ball gets rolling though, the companies prefer that their money be used for building restoration (36 percent), research and education (35 percent) and land remediation (29 percent).

Amidst the controversy, however, there has been at least one success: Derby-based Business Environment Association (BEAM) is the first body to secure funding (pound1000 from Biffa Waste Systems) which will go towards an pound85,000, 18-month assessment of the impacts on the environment caused by a Heanor Gate, Derby-based industrial estate. In addition, BEAM has proposed six separate projects to ENTRUST, all of which have been approved, requiring a total funding of pound500,000.

Ultimately, if the majority of landfill owners/operators do not take advantage of the tax credits offered, HM Customs and Excise will remove the scheme's voluntary aspects. Disposal companies then will be forced to pay 20 percent of their tax payments into a central fund from which the treasury will distribute monies nationally, removing the plan's local emphasis and benefits. The choice, it seems, is theirs.

Loans The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento,has approved $2,221,134 in loans to Evergreen Glass, Stockton; MBA Polymers, Richmond; and Vision Recycling, Almeada County.

Merger Kenneth Johnston, president of Remediation Inc. (RI), and Charles Zitnick, CEO of Johnston Construction Co., have announced the merger of the two companies. RI is a chemical hazardous waste cleanup company. Its past work includes ground water and soil treatment facilities and contaminated soil removal. Johnston is a heavy construction contractor specializing in environmental projects such as leachate treatment and gas cogeneration plants. and fuel oil tank removal.

New Facility Allison Transmission announces the opening of its new customer training facility in Indianapolis, Ind. The 13,000-square-foot facility offerscourses on basic maintenance to more in-depth classes that cover hydraulic and electronic controls of the World Transmissions.

Re-Opening Med/Waste Inc., Opa Loca, Fla., has announced that its South Carolina waste incineration facility which suffered fire damage has been granted permission to reopen and resume normal operations by the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control.

legislation: Reference Litigation Serves As Warning To Former Employers

Information on employment applicants is a valuable but scarce commodity in a world of heretoday, gone-tomorrow workers. Legislatures in at least 20 states - California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio and Texas, for example - have passed laws that provide former employers with partial immunity from defamation lawsuits arising from employee references.

This consensus, however, has not resulted in better and more informative employment references.

Instead, the trend among employers is to respond to reference requests by giving less information or none at all. The reason for such widespread hesitancy is a growing number of court decisions that have held employers liable for the information provided in employment references.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Robinson v. Shell Oil Co., ruled that employment references can lead to tort liability and liability under federal employment discrimination laws. In this case, Charles Robinson alleged that a negative reference from his ex-employer, Houston-based Shell Oil Co., cost him a position with a prospective employer.

According to Robinson, the bad reference was Shell's retaliation for his complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about a discriminatory discharge. But, a federal appeals court held this claim was not actionable under the Civil Rights Act because the alleged retaliatory acts occurred after Robinson had left Shell's employment.

The Supreme Court then reversed and held that Robinson stated a viable retaliation claim under Title VII. The high court noted that its ruling would prevent employers from wholesale retaliations against former employers who alleged discriminatory discharges.

The decision, however, did not answer the question of whether an employer can avoid liability under Title VII for retaliation by providing truthful references. As a result, an employee seemingly could press a claim against a former employer that provides a negative, but accurate, reference on the theory that the employer chose to provide a reference - rather than remain silent - for retaliatory reasons.

Moreover, employers who give substantial information on some former employees may face a retaliation charge from a former employee for whom the employer has given little or no information. Thus, Shell provides employers with yet another reason to avoid providing job references.

The Shell decision comes on the heels of a ruling earlier this year by the California Supreme Court involving a favorable employment reference that omitted important information: A student who had alleged sexual molestation by a teacher was allowed to sue the teacher's previous employer, which had provided the student's school with a reference that failed to disclose complaints against the teacher for improper touching.

The California ruling does not require employers to provide references, but rather forces them to disclose all key information whenever they chose to provide a reference. Both decisions illustrate that even truthful references can produce litigation and liability.

As claims based on truthful, but incomplete, references mount, defamation suits continue to be filed against employers despite statutory and common law immunity. These suits require employers to prove that their statements were truthful or that they were made in good faith and without malice. Though employers often prevail in these cases, the steep costs of defending such claims are reason enough to avoid providing detailed references.

A Florida appeals court reinstated an employee's defamation claim arising from an employment reference despite the safe-harbor statute in effect. The employee alleged that his former employer illegally informed a prospective employer that he had been discharged for violating a company policy and would not be considered for rehire "under any circumstances."

The employee alleged that the ex-employer's statements were false because he had not violated any policy and because Florida's Department of Labor and Employment Security had awarded him unemployment benefits after finding he was not guilty of misconduct. The court also found that, under the circumstances, the employee had stated a claim for intentional interference with an advantageous business relationship.

Many employers have attempted to minimize the risk of providing references by requiring employees to sign releases that force the employee/accuser to pay the company's legal fees and costs in defending an unsuccessful employment reference claim.

Nevertheless, until protection for reference-providing employers is more secure, it is not likely that much, if any, information will be passed along.

Acquisition Allied Waste Industries Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., has announced that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved Allied to assume ownership and operation of the solid waste disposal system for San Diego County, Calif. This transaction will allow the company to internalize 1,200 tons per day of volumes currently collected in its San Diego operations and will substantially increase its presence in the Southern California market. Allied will pay approximately $160 million in cash consideration and assume responsibility for approximately $24 million in future capital expenditures.

Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., has completed its acquisition of the Ruben Smith Carting Co. in Atlantic City, N.J. It also has signed definitive purchase agreements to acquire five collection companies in New York City and a collection company in Miami. The combined companies have annual revenues of approximately $20.1 million.

American Disposal Services Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill., has acquired 10 waste management companies located in New England, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, bringing to 5`1 the company's total acquisitions since January 1993. The acquisitions were purchased using a combination of cash and stock.

Awards The American Forest & Paper Association has awarded its eight annual Best Paper Recycling Program Awards. Winners include: Manitowac County (Wis.) Materials Recovery Facility; Charleston County (S.C.) Department of Solid Waste/Recycling; Granger Recycling Center, Lansing, Mich.; Northwestern University, Ill.; Tree Musketeers, El Segundo, Calif.; and Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, Calif., has presented the Walt Disney Co. with a "Waste Reduction Award Program of the Year" plaque. In 1996, the company recycled 80,000 tons of waste, saving $528,000 in disposal costs.

Contract Global Recycling Technologies Inc., Stoughton, Mass., has been awarded a contract by the Massachusetts Division of Operational Services for the recycling of spent mercury-bearing fluorescent lamps. The contract is available to all Massachusetts agencies, authorities and municipalities for one year with up to four option years.

Loans The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, Calif., has approved $2,221,134 in loans to Evergreen Glass, Stockton; MBA Polymers, Richmond; and Vision Recycling, Almeada County.

New Facility Allison Transmission announces the opening of its new customer training facility in Indianapolis, Ind. The 13,000-square-foot facility offers courses on basic maintenance to more in-depth classes that cover hydraulic and electronic controls of the World Transmissions.

Re-Opening Med/Waste Inc., Opa Loca, Fla., has announced that its South Carolina waste incineration facility which suffered fire damage has been granted permission to reopen and resume normal operations by the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control.