United States     Solid Waste    EPA530-D-01-001
Environmental Protection   and Emergency   April 2001
Agency       Response (5306W)
A Manual for


      The Office of Solid Waste (OSW) would like to acknowledge and thank the members
      of the Solid Waste Association of North America Focus Group and the National
      Environmental Justice Advisory Council Waste Transfer Station Working Group for
      reviewing and providing comments on this draft document. We would also like to
      thank Keith Gordon of Weaver Boos & Gordon, Inc., for providing a technical
review and donating several of the photographs included in this document.


Acknowledgments	iii

Introduction	1
   What Are Waste Transfer Stations?	1
   Why Are Waste Transfer Stations Needed?	2
   Why Use Waste Transfer Stations?	2
   Is a Transfer Station Right for Your Community?	3

Planning and Siting a Transfer Station	5
   Types of Waste Accepted	5
   Unacceptable Wastes	5
   Public Versus Commercial Use	6
   Determining Transfer Station Size and Capacity	6
      Number and Sizing of Transfer Stations	7
      Future Expansion	8
   Site Selection	8
   The Siting Process and Public Involvement	9
   Siting Criteria	11
      Exclusionary Siting Criteria	12
      Technical Siting Criteria	12
      Zoning Designations and  Requirements	14
      Developing Community-Specific Criteria	14
      Applying the Committee's Criteria	15
      Host Community Agreements	15

Transfer Station Design and Operation	17
   Transfer Station Design	17
      How Will the Transfer Station Be Used?	17
      Site Design Plan	17
      Main Transfer Area Design	18
      Types of Vehicles That Use a Transfer Station	18
      Transfer Technology	21
   Transfer Station Operations	23
      Operations and Maintenance Plans	23
      Facility Operating Hours	28
      Interacting With the Public	28
      Waste Screening	29
      Emergency Situations	30
      Recordkeeping	31
   Environmental Issues	32
      Traffic	32
      Noise	33
      Odors	34

           Air Emissions	35
           Storm Water Quality	36
           Vectors	37
           Litter	37
       Safety Issues	38
           Ergonomics	39
           Exposure to Potentially Hazardous Equipment	39
           Exposure to Extreme Temperatures	39
           Traffic	39
           Falls	40
           Noise	41
           Air Quality	41
           Hazardous Wastes and Materials	42

    Facility Oversight	43
       Applicable Regulations	43
           Federal Regulations	43
           State Regulations	43
           Local Regulations	43
       Common Regulatory Compliance Methods	44
           Compliance Inspections	44
           Reporting	44

    Resources  	 45

    Glossary of Terms and Acronyms	47

    Appendix	A-1
vi   Contents

         This manual defines what a transfer
         station is and how it relates to
         municipal solid waste management
         in the context of a community's
         total waste management plan. The
manual identifies issues and factors to consid-
er when deciding to build a transfer station,
planning and designing it, selecting a site, and
involving the community.
  In many communities, citizens have voiced
concerns about solid waste transfer stations
that are poorly sited, designed, or operated. In
addition, some citizens might feel that transfer
stations are disproportionately concentrated in
or near their communities. Yet transfer sta-
tions play an important role in a community's
waste management system.
  The intent of this manual is to promote the
use of best practices in transfer station siting,
design, and operation to maximize facilities'
effectiveness and efficiency, while minimizing
their impact on the community. The manual is
divided into the following chapters:
• Planning and Siting a Transfer Station
• Transfer Station Design and Operations
• Facility Oversight

What Are Waste Transfer Stations?
Waste transfer stations play an important role
in a community's total waste management
system, serving as the link between a commu-
nity's solid waste collection program and a
final waste disposal facility.  While facility
ownership, sizes, and services offered vary
significantly among transfer stations, they all
serve the same basic purpose—consolidating
waste from multiple collection vehicles into
larger, high-volume transfer vehicles for more
economical shipment to distant disposal sites.
In its simplest form, a transfer station is a
facility with a designated receiving area where
waste collection vehicles discharge their loads.
The waste is often compacted, then loaded
into larger vehicles (usually transfer trailers,
but intermodal containers, railcars, and barges
are also used) for long-haul shipment to a
final disposal site—typically a landfill, waste-
to-energy plant, or a composting facility. No
long-term storage of waste occurs at a transfer
station; waste is quickly consolidated and
loaded into a larger vehicle and moved off
site, usually in a matter of hours.
   For purposes of this manual, facilities serv-
ing only as citizen drop-off stations or com-
munity convenience centers are not
considered waste transfer stations. Only a
facility that receives some portion of its waste
directly from collection vehicles, then consoli-
dates and reloads the waste onto larger vehi-
cles for delivery to a final disposal facility, is
considered a transfer station. A convenience
center, on the other hand, is a designated area
where residents manually discard waste and
recyclables into dumpsters or collection con-
tainers. These containers are periodically
Aerial view of a totally enclosed transfer station.
                                                                           Introduction   1

removed or emptied, and the waste is trans-
ported to the appropriate disposal site (or pos-
sibly to a transfer station first). Convenience
centers are not suitable for use as transfer sta-
tions because they cannot readily handle the
large volume of waste that is discharged by a
self-unloading collection truck. Many commu-
nities have installed full-service operations
that provide public waste and recyclables
drop-off accommodations on the same site as
their transfer stations.
   Source reduction and recycling also play an
integral role in a community's total waste
management system. These two activities can
significantly reduce the weight and volume of
waste materials requiring disposal, which
reduces transportation, landfill, and incinera-
tor costs. Source reduction consists of reduc-
ing waste at the source by changing product
design, manufacturing processes, and pur-
chasing and sales practices to reduce the
quantity or toxicity of materials before they
reach the waste stream. U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) policy promotes
source reduction as the waste management
technique of choice.
   Recycling—the collection, processing, and
manufacture of new products—likewise
diverts materials from the landfill or incinera-
tor. These recyclable materials are prepared for
shipment to markets in a special facility called
a MRF, which stands for materials recovery
facility. A MRF is simply a special type of
transfer station that separates, processes, and
consolidates recyclable materials for shipment
to one  or more recovery facilities rather  than a
landfill or other disposal site. Unfortunately,
even with aggressive source reduction and
recycling programs, communities will still
have large  volumes of waste that must be
managed. Waste transfer stations can help
manage this remaining waste more efficiently.

Why Are Waste Transfer Stations
The nationwide trend in solid waste disposal
has been toward construction of larger, more
remote, regional landfills. Economic consider-
ations, heavily influenced by regulatory and
social forces, are compelling factors leading to
this result. The passage of federal criteria in
1991 established new design requirements for
municipal solid waste landfills. These new
standards include design, operating,  and mon-
itoring requirements that significantly add to
construction, operating, closure, and  post-clo-
sure monitoring costs. As older landfills near
urban centers reach capacity and begin clos-
ing, cities must decide whether to construct
new landfills or to seek other disposal options.
Many communities find the cost of upgrading
existing facilities or constructing new landfills
to be prohibitively high, and opt to close exist-
ing facilities. For these communities,  transfer-
ring waste to a large regional landfill is an
appealing alternative.
  In addition to regulatory requirements,
public opposition frequently makes siting new
landfills near population centers difficult. The
current atmosphere is such that gaining public
and political approval for constructing new
disposal capacity near population centers is
challenging. Also, adequate land is often not
available near  densely populated or urban
areas. These social, political, and geographical
factors have further stimulated the rise in con-
struction of large, remote, regional landfills.
  Economic considerations, especially
economies of scale, further promote develop-
ment of large regional facilities. To offset the
high cost of constructing and maintaining a
modern landfill, facility owners construct
large facilities that attract high volumes of
waste from a greater geographic area. By
maintaining a high volume of incoming waste,
landfill owners can keep the per-ton tipping
fees low, which subsequently attracts more
business. Rural and urban communities alike
are finding that the most economically viable
solution to their waste disposal needs is ship-
ping their waste to these facilities. In these cir-
cumstances, a transfer station serves  as the
critical consolidation link in making cost-effec-
tive shipments to these distant facilities.

Why Use Waste Transfer Stations?
The primary reason for using a transfer station
is to reduce the cost of transporting waste to
disposal facilities. Consolidating smaller loads

from collection vehicles into larger transfer
vehicles reduces hauling costs by enabling col-
lection crews to spend less time traveling to
and from distant disposal sites and more time
collecting waste. This also reduces fuel con-
sumption and collection vehicle maintenance
costs, plus produces less overall traffic, air
emissions, and road wear.
   A transfer station also provides an opportu-
nity to screen waste prior to disposal. At many
transfer stations, workers screen incoming
wastes on conveyor systems, tipping floors, or
in receiving pits. Waste screening has two
components: separating recyclables from the
waste stream and identifying any wastes that
might be inappropriate for disposal (e.g., white
goods, whole tires,  auto batteries, or infectious
waste). Identifying  and removing recyclables
reduces the weight  and volume of waste sent
for final disposal and, depending on local recy-
cling markets, might generate revenue.
Screening for inappropriate wastes is more
efficient at the transfer station than the landfill.
   In addition, waste transfer stations offer
more  flexibility in terms of disposal options.
Decision-makers have the opportunity to
select the most cost-effective and/or environ-
mentally protective disposal sites, even if they
are more distant. They can consider multiple
disposal facilities, secure competitive disposal
fees, and choose a desired method of disposal
(e.g., landfilling or  incineration).
   Finally, transfer stations often include con-
venience centers open to public use. These cen-
ters enable individual citizens to deliver waste
directly to the transfer station facility for ulti-
mate disposal. Some convenience centers offer
programs to manage yard waste, bulky items,
household hazardous waste, and recyclables.
These multipurpose convenience centers are
assets to the community because they assist in
achieving recycling goals, increase the public's
knowledge of proper materials management,
and divert materials that would otherwise bur-
den existing disposal capacity.
         Figure 1.
         Sample Comparison of Hauling Costs With
         and Without a Transfer Station
                                          Transfer station
                                          capital, operating
        0        10       20       30        40       50       60
        Round-trip Distance from Waste Source to Disposal, miles

 The following assumptions were used to create this sample comparison:
    Cost to build, own, and operate transfer station—dollars per ton     $ 10
    Average payload of collection truck hauling directly to landfill—tons    7
    Average payload of transfer truck hauling from transfer station
    to landfill—tons                                              21
    Average trucking cost (direct or transfer hauling)—dollars per mile     $3

 The comparison shows a break-even distance of about 35 miles (round-trip).
 In other words, for this example, using a transfer station is cost-effective when
 the round-trip distance exceeds 35 miles. When the round-trip distance is less
 than 35 miles, direct haul is more cost-effective. Although the same economic
 principles apply, break-even distances will vary in different situations based on
 the site-specific input data.
Is a Transfer Station Right for
Your  Community?
Deciding whether a transfer station is appro-
priate for an individual community is based on
determining if the benefits outweigh the costs.
Decision-makers need to weigh the planning,
siting, designing, and operating costs against
the savings the transfer station might generate
from reduced hauling costs. To assist in mak-
ing this determination, public and private deci-
sion-makers often employ third-party solid
                                                                                  Introduction   3

waste experts. These experts are familiar with
both the technical and regulatory issues that
must be addressed in developing a successful
waste transfer station. It may be helpful to
retain qualified consulting or engineering
firms specializing in solid waste engineering. It
is also important to note that in some areas, the
regulatory agency might require that the trans-
fer station plans be certified by a professional
engineer. Again, this engineer should be an
experienced solid waste professional. Complex
projects might also require the assistance of
architects, geotechnical engineers, lawyers, and
other specialists.
  Although cost-effectiveness will vary,
transfer stations generally become economi-
cally viable when the hauling distance to  the
disposal facility is greater than 15 to 20 miles.
Figure 1 demonstrates a representative "cost
versus miles" relationship between direct
hauling waste to disposal facilities in collec-
tion vehicles versus consolidation, transfer,
and hauling  in larger
vehicles. Using the
assumptions listed
below Figure 1, we
see that the average
cost per ton to move
the waste from the
                        Using the assumptions listed, the cost per
                     ton per mile (ton-mile) using a collection vehi-
                     cle is $0.43 ($3/mile truck operating cost divid-
                     ed by 7 tons per average load). In this
                     example, the transfer hauling vehicle's cost per
                     ton-mile is much lower, at $0.14 ($3 divided by
                     21 tons per average load). Figure 1 shows how
                     this cost per ton-mile advantage for the trans-
                     fer hauling vehicle soon overcomes the initial
                     cost of developing and operating the transfer
                     station. In this case, based on the indicated
                     assumptions, cost savings will start to be real-
                     ized when the round-trip hauling distance
                     exceeds 35 miles (17.5 miles one way). Because
                     the cost to  own, operate, and maintain collec-
                     tion vehicles, transfer stations, and transfer
                     hauling vehicles will vary depending on local
                     parameters, the break-even point indicated on
                     Figure 1 will vary. The formulas used in gener-
                     ating Figure 1 are provided below to allow for
                     site-specific calculations.
collection vehicle
onto the transfer
vehicle is $10 before
the hauling vehicle
leaves the transfer
station. This is the
cost per ton to build,
operate, and main-
tain the station. Due
to its  economy of
scale, however, the
transfer trailer can
move waste on a
much lower "per
mile" basis because it
can carry the waste
of several individual
collection vehicles.
Calculating Transfer Station Break-Even Points
   To calculate the break-even point for a specific facility, first determine
the following values:
•  Transfer Station Cost (cost to build, own, and operate transfer station,
   in dollars per ton)

•  Direct Haul Payload (average payload of collection truck hauling
   directly to landfill, in tons)

•  Transfer Haul Payload (average payload of transfer truck hauling from
   transfer station to landfill, in tons)

•  Trucking Cost (average cost of direct or transfer hauling, in dollars per

Once these values are known, use the following formulas to calculate cost
at different distances:

Cost of Direct Haul (without the use of a waste transfer station)
   Distance (miles) multiplied by Trucking Cost (dollars per mile) divided by
   Direct Haul Payload (tons)

Cost of Transfer Haul
   Transfer Station Cost  (dollars per ton) plus Distance (miles) multiplied  by
   Trucking Cost (dollars per mile) divided by Transfer Haul Payload (tons)

  Planning    and    Siting   a
  Transfer    Station
A          variety of issues must be taken
          into account during the planning
          and siting stages of transfer sta-
          tion development. This section
          discusses the types of waste trans-
fer stations typically  accept, factors affecting a
transfer station's size and capacity, and issues
regarding facility siting, including process
issues and public involvement. While the
planning and siting phases of facility develop-
ment might involve a significant investment of
resources, this initial investment is crucial to
ensuring an appropriate project outcome sen-
sitive to the host community.

Types of Waste Accepted
In addition to processing mixed municipal
solid waste (MSW), some transfer stations
offer programs that manage specific materials
separately to divert waste from disposal and
to achieve recycling objectives. These materi-
als could include construction  and demolition
debris, yard waste, household  hazardous
waste, or recyclables. The types of materials
processed often vary depending on where the
facility is located (urban, suburban, rural) and
who owns and operates the transfer station
(public entity or private industry).
  Types of waste that transfer stations com-
monly handle are described in the adjacent
  If a community offers programs that man-
age parts of the waste stream separately, it
might reduce expenses  by locating the materi-
al management programs at the transfer sta-
tion. Savings might result by:
• Using dual-collection vehicles for refuse
  and source-separated waste streams and
  delivering all waste to the transfer station
  in one vehicle.
• Continuing to use separate collections for
  refuse and source-separated waste streams,
  but having all processing facilities located
  at one site, thus minimizing the cost of
  multiple utility connections, traffic control
  systems, office space, and administration.
  This approach also eliminates the cost and
  complexity of multiple siting and permit-
  ting efforts.

Unacceptable  Wastes
Certain wastes might be unacceptable at a
transfer station for a variety of reasons,
• They are prohibited by state or federal reg-
  ulations (e.g., PCBs, lead acid batteries).
  Wastes Commonly Handled at Transfer Stations
he following types of waste are commonly handled at transfer stations.
Specific definitions of these wastes vary locally.
  Municipal solid waste (MSW) is generated by households, businesses,
  institutions, and industry. MSW typically contains a wide variety of materials
  including discarded containers, packaging, food wastes, and paper products.
  MSW includes a mixture of putrescible (easily degradable) and nonputresci-
  ble (inert) materials. Three types of MSW are commonly diverted and han-
  dled separately:

    Yard waste (green waste) commonly includes leaves, grass clippings,
    tree trimmings, and brush. Yard waste is often diverted so that it may be
    composted or mulched instead of going for disposal.

    Household hazardous waste (HHW) includes hazardous materials
    generated by households, such as cleaning products; pesticides; herbi-
    cides; used automotive products such as motor oil, brake fluid, and
    antifreeze; and paint.

    Recyclables include discarded materials that can be reprocessed for
    manufacture into new products. Common recyclables include paper,
    newsprint,  ferrous metals, plastic, glass containers, aluminum cans, motor
    oil, and tires.

  Construction and demolition (C&D) debris results from demolition or
  construction of buildings, roads, and other structures. It typically consists of
  concrete, brick, wood, masonry, roofing materials, sheetrock, plaster, metals,
  and tree stumps. Sometimes C&D debris is managed separately from
  MSW; other times it is mixed with MSW.
                                                        Planning and Siting a Transfer Station   5

    •  They are difficult or costly to process (e.g.,
    •  They might pose a health or fire hazard.
    •  They might be prohibited at the disposal
      facility to which the transfer station delivers.
    •  They might be prohibited (within a mixed
      waste load destined for disposal) because
      local regulations require they be recycled.
    The following types of wastes are typically not
    accepted at transfer stations: large bulky
    objects such as tree stumps, mattresses, or fur-
    niture; infectious medical waste; hazardous
    waste; explosives; radioactive materials; fuel
    tanks  (even if empty); appliances; dead ani-
    mals; asbestos; liquids and sludges; and dust-
    prone materials. This is a general list; some
    transfer  stations might be set up to process
    these wastes, while others might have a longer
    list of unacceptable materials. While these and
    other unacceptable wastes represent a small
    fraction  of the solid waste stream, properly
    managing them can require significant effort
    by the transfer station operator and the local
    solid waste management authority. The sec-
    tion on waste screening in the Transfer Station
    Design and Operation chapter further discuss-
    es how to properly manage and reduce the
    frequency of unacceptable waste at a transfer

    Public Versus  Commercial  Use
    Some  transfer stations provide public access to
    the facility rather than restricting access only
    to waste collection vehicles. The types of cus-
    tomers accommodated vary depending on
    where the facility is located and who owns
    and operates the transfer station. Publicly
    operated transfer stations are more likely to be
    open to public use. Private transfer stations
    might not be open to the public because resi-
    dents  deliver relatively small amounts of
    waste with each visit, require more direction
    for safe and efficient use of the transfer sta-
    tion, and generally pay relatively small fees
    for using the transfer station. The general pub-
    lic usually is allowed to use a transfer station
    for any of several reasons: waste collection is
not universally provided in the area; some
wastes, such as bulky items or remodeling
debris, are not collected; or public access is
part of a strategy to prevent illegal dumping
by providing a convenient, cost-effective place
for people to deposit waste. Public unloading
areas and traffic patterns are usually kept sep-
arate from commercial vehicles for safety and

Determining Transfer  Station Size
and  Capacity
The physical size of a planned transfer station
is typically determined based on the following
•  The definition of the service area.
   Sometimes this is relatively simple, such as
   "all waste generated by Anytown, USA," or
   "all waste collected by Acme Hauling
   Company." Other times, the service area is
   more difficult to define because of varying
   public and private roles in  solid waste man-
   agement and the changing availability of
   existing disposal facilities.
•  The amount of waste generated within the
   service area, including projected changes
   such as population growth and recycling
•  The types of vehicles delivering waste (such
   as car or pickup truck versus a specially
   designed waste-hauling truck used by a
   waste collection company).
•  The types of materials to be transferred
   (e.g., compacted versus loose MSW, yard
   waste, C&D), including seasonal variations.
•  Daily and hourly arrival patterns of cus-
   tomers delivering waste. Hourly arrivals
   tend to cluster in the middle of the day,
   with typical peaks just before and after
   lunchtime. Peak hourly arrivals tend to
   dictate  a facility's design more than average
   daily arrivals.
•  The availability of transfer trailers, inter-
   modal containers, barges, or railcars, and
   how fast these can be loaded.
•  Expected increases in tonnage delivered
   during the life of the facility. For example,
6   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

   in a region with annual population growth
   of 3 to 4 percent, a facility anticipating a 20-
   year operating life would typically be
   designed for about twice the capacity that it
   uses in its first year of operation.
•  The relationship to other existing and pro-
   posed solid waste management facilities
   such as landfills, recycling facilities, and
   waste-to-energy facilities.

The same factors are used to determine the
size of the following transfer station features:
•  Amount of off-street vehicle queuing (wait-
   ing) space. At peak times, vehicles must
   often wait to check in at a facility's "gate-
   house" or "scale house."  It is important that
   the queue (line) not block public streets or
   impede vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
•  Number and size  of unloading stalls, and
   corresponding number of transfer trailer
   loading positions.
•  Short-term waste processing and storage
   areas (for holding waste until it can be
   reloaded into transfer vehicles).

Present and projected daily, weekly, and annu-
al waste volumes (including seasonal varia-
tions) are important  in planning facility size to
accommodate waste deliveries. The maximum
rate at which waste is delivered is a crucial
consideration as well. In general, it is best to
build a facility to accommodate present and
projected maximum  volumes and peak flows,
with a preplanned footprint for facility expan-
sion. A useful exercise is calculating how
much tipping floor space a facility would
require to store a full day's waste in case of
extreme emergency. One estimate is that 4,000
square feet plus an additional 20 square feet
per ton per day tipping floor space would be
required to accommodate this need (assuming
the waste will be piled 6 feet high on the tip-
ping floor).1 "Chapter 4: Collection and
Transfer" in EPA's Decision Maker's Guide to
Solid Waste Management also provides a series
of formulas for helping determine transfer sta-
tion capacity (see Table 4-8 on page 4-23).

Number and Sizing of Transfer Stations
Design capacity is determined by the maxi-
mum distance from which waste can be eco-
nomically delivered to the transfer station. The
area that can efficiently reach the waste trans-
fer station determines the volume of waste
that must be managed,  which is the  facility's
initial design capacity. Beyond a certain dis-
tance, another transfer station might be neces-
sary, or it might become just as cost-effective
to direct haul to the disposal facility.

   Transfer stations serving rural or tribal areas
tend to be small. They are optimally located
within a reasonable driving time from the serv-
ice area's largest concentration of homes and
businesses. For example, a rural transfer station
could be located near one  of the service area's
larger towns and sized to take waste from all
waste generators within about 30 miles. As  an
example, two 50-ton-per-day transfer stations
might each serve six small communities.
   Queing in Urban Areas

    In extreme situations where adequate queuing space cannot be provided
    on the transfer station site, an additional offsite area can be provided as a
   holding area for waiting trucks. Transfer station staff can dispatch the wait-
   ing trucks via radio when the station is ready to  receive them.
Alternately, fewer transfer stations could be
used, necessitating longer average travel dis-
tances. For example, one 100-ton-per-day trans-
fer station could be used to serve the same 12
small communities, but it would be located far-
ther from the outlying communities.
  In urban or suburban areas, the same situa-
tions exists. A midsize city (population
500,000), for example, might decide that two
800-ton-per-day transfer stations would best
serve its community. This same city could
alternately decide that a single 1,600-ton-
per-day transfer station is its best option,
even when the longer driving distances are
1  Solid Waste Association of North America. 2001. Transfer Systems Management Training Course. SWANA. Washington,
                                                                 Planning and Siting a Transfer Station   7

Addressing Site Size Limitations
      When site size is not adequate to accom-
      modate ideal designs and practices,
additional engineering design features will be
needed to mitigate the facility's potential nega-
tive impacts. For example, sound barriers might
need to be incorporated into the site plan to
reduce noise. Another approach is to select
multiple, smaller capacity sites if a single parcel
of land large enough to accommodate an ideal
facility does not exist. These separate sites
could be used to hold trucks awaiting delivery,
or to store transfer trailers.
considered. When deciding which approach is
best for a community, issues to consider
include the impacts the transfer station (s) will
have on the surrounding area, siting complica-
tions, and the cost to build and operate the
transfer station(s). Each approach offers
advantages and disadvantages that must be
reconciled with local needs.
   The biggest advantage of constructing large
transfer stations is the economies of scale that
can significantly reduce capital and opera-
tional costs. Centralizing waste transfer opera-
tions allows communities to reduce
equipment, construction, waste handling, and
transportation costs. The siting of a single
facility may often prove easier than siting
multiple facilities. Along related lines, howev-
                       er, a major drawback
                       to building a single
                       large facility is locat-
                       ing a tract of land
                       that adequately meets
                       facility requirements.
                       Large facilities also
                       tend to concentrate
                       impacts to a single
                       area, which can cre-
                       ate the perception of
                       inequity, especially
                       when  one neighbor-
                       hood is shouldering
                       the burden for the
                       entire  city. A single
                       facility can result in
longer travel times, which leads to increased
down time for the collection crew and
increased wear and tear on collection vehicles.
Another consideration is that a single facility
cannot divert waste to a backup facility if a
need arises. The single facility must have
additional equipment in case of equipment
failure or other emergencies.
   In other situations, multiple  smaller sites
might better address a community's waste
management needs. Decentralizing waste
transfer operations spreads lesser impacts
over a wider area, which helps address equity
issues. Although it is generally more expen-
sive to build and operate several small trans-
fer stations rather than one large station with
the same total capacity, savings from reduced
travel times might offset these capital costs
and result in lower overall system costs.
Multiple facilities also are better able to serve
as backups for one  another in case of sched-
uled or emergency  shutdowns of facilities. The
major disadvantage to building multiple facili-
ties is that the difficulties encountered in siting
a single facility can become multiplied.

Future  Expansion
Transfer stations are frequently designed to
accommodate future expansion. Often, this is
accomplished by siting the facility on a larger
parcel  of land than  would otherwise be neces-
sary and preplanning the site and buildings so
expansion can occur without negatively affect-
ing other functions on the site or the sur-
rounding community. Although expansion of
effective capacity can sometimes be accom-
plished simply by expanding the hours of
operation, this approach is not always effec-
tive because the transfer station must accom-
modate the  collection schedules of vehicles
delivering waste to the facility. In addition,
increased operating hours might not be com-
patible with the surrounding community.

Site Selection
Identifying a suitable site for a waste transfer
station can be a challenging process. Site suit-
ability depends on  numerous technical, envi-
ronmental, economic, social,  and political
criteria. When selecting a site, a balance needs
to be achieved among the multiple criteria
that might have competing objectives.  For
example, a site large enough  to accommodate
all required functions and possibly future
expansion, might not be centrally located in
the area where waste is generated. Likewise,
in densely developed urban areas, ideal sites
that include effective natural buffers simply
might not be available. Less than ideal sites
may still present the best option due to trans-
portation, environmental, and economic con-
siderations. Yet another set of issues that must
be addressed relates to public concern or
opposition,  particularly from people living or
working near the proposed site. The relative
weight given to each criteria  used in selecting
                     Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

a suitable site will vary by the community's
needs and concerns. Whether the site is in an
urban, suburban, or rural setting will also play
a role in final site selection.

The Siting Process and  Public
A siting process that includes continuous pub-
lic participation is integral to developing a
transfer station. The public must be a legiti-
mate partner in the facility siting process to
integrate community needs and concerns and
to influence the decision-making process.
Addressing public concerns is also essential to
building integrity and instituting good com-
munications with the community.  Establishing
credibility and  trust with the public is as
important as addressing environmental, social,
and economic concerns about the solid waste
facility.2 A companion document to this manu-
al, Waste Transfer Stations: Involved Citizens
Make the Difference (EPA530-K-01-003), pro-
vides key information citizens require to be
effectively involved in the siting and develop-
ment process. Following are some general
guidelines for developing and implementing a
siting process that is open to and integrates
meaningful public input.
   For publicly developed transfer stations, a
good first step  in the site selection process is
establishing a siting committee.  The commit-
tee's main responsibility includes developing
criteria to identify and evaluate  potential sites.
The committee should consist of key individu-
als who represent various stakeholder inter-
ests. These stakeholders might include:
•  Community and neighborhood groups.
•  Industry and business representatives.
•  Civic and public interest  groups.
•  Environmental organizations.
•  Local- and state-elected officials.
•  Public officials, such as public works
   employees and solid waste professionals.
•  Academic institutions.
Committee members should be selected to
ensure broad geographical representation from
across the area to be served by the transfer sta-
tion. In addition, committee representation
should seek gender balance and racial diversity.
Volunteer participation should also be solicited.
   The committee's meeting times and dates
must be planned and scheduled to facilitate
attendance by all committee members and
other members of the public. Therefore, meet-
ing schedules should avoid conflicts with
other major community, cultural, or religious
events. To encourage active public participa-
tion, meetings should be prominently adver-
tised in the media in a timely manner and be
held in facilities accessible to the disabled and
located on public transportation routes.
Frequently, a facilitator is hired or appointed
to keep the meetings  focused, to minimize the
potential for certain individuals or interest
groups to dominate the process, and to
encourage active participation  by all stake-
holders throughout the process.
   Maximizing  Public Committee Pariticipation

      Public committees are often convened to assist with developing public
      policy. To maximize participation, the process should:

   •  Give committee members a chance to be actively involved.

   •  Allow the committee to remove the selected facilitator if concerns
     about objectivity exist.

   •  Encourage members to discuss relevant concerns and to raise questions
     or objections freely. Criticisms or challenges should be directed toward
     the issues; the facilitator should swiftly mitigate personal criticisms.

   •  Agree on a means to resolve disagreements before they arise.

   •  Allow members to discuss the results of each meeting with their con-

   •  Provide technical experts to educate participants.

   •  Distribute literature about upcoming issues before meetings.
   McMaster Institute of Environment and Health, " Psychological Impacts of the Landfill Siting Process in Two
   Southern Ontario Communities."
                                                                 Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

Informing the  Community

      When initiating a siting process, education must be extended beyond
      the siting committee and include a communitywide outreach initia-
tive. Components of this type of public outreach typically include:

•   Special public meetings.

•   Interviews with local newspapers for feature stories.

•   Interviews with media editorial boards.

•   Interviews with broadcast media.

•   News conferences, press releases, and press kits.

•   Paid advertising.

•   Internet sites.

•   Informational literature.

•   Direct mail with project updates.

•   City council/county commission presentations.

•   Presentations to civic, environmental, religious, and professional groups.

•   Presentations to neighborhood groups.

•   Community education programs and workshops.

•   Reading files located in public libraries or community centers that docu-
   ment the process.

Beyond communitywide outreach, initiate specific and targeted contact
with key members of potential host communities, and identify community-
specific conditions that need to be considered. Individuals might become
proponents of the proposed facility if contacted directly for input, rather
than opposing it based on misleading secondhand information.
                        During the siting committee's first meet-
                     ing, individual duties, group responsibilities,
                     and process issues need to be addressed.
                                                                     Expectations and limitations of the commit-
                                                                     tee need to be clearly communicated and
                                                                     might be summarized in mission statements.
                                                                     Rules for discourse, and a schedule and pro-
                                                                     cedures for final decision-making, should be
                                                                     determined  and agreed upon. Technical
                                                                     experts should be involved early in the
                                                                     process to respond to general questions and
                                                                     to resolve common misconceptions about
                                                                     waste transfer.
                                                                       After establishing general procedures, com-
                                                                     mittee members should be informed of all
                                                                     details to further ensure equal participation
                                                                     and a means of influencing the decision-mak-
                                                                     ing process.  Committee members should
                                                                     understand why a transfer station is needed
                                                                     and the facility's role within the solid waste
                                                                     management system. In addition, committee
                                                                     members must be taught the numerous tech-
                                                                     nical, environmental, and economic aspects
                                                                     associated with siting,  designing, and operat-
                                                                     ing a transfer station. This ensures that the sit-
                                                                     ing criteria the committee develops will result
                                                                     in identifying potential sites feasible from
                                                                     engineering  and operational perspectives, as
                                                                     well as acceptable to the public.
                                                                       Educational materials for the siting com-
                                                                     mittee should provide  useful, objective infor-
                                                                     mation. Mistrust of technical information
                                                                     might develop among  the committee mem-
                                                                     bers and should be anticipated. The credibility
                                                                     of the technical information might be
                                                                     enhanced by encouraging the committee to
                                                                     assist in selecting consultants and technical
                                                                     experts, by encouraging committee members
                                                                     to perform their own research, by using a
                                                                     third party to review technical studies, and by
                                                                     relying on experts who reside within the com-
Community Involvement in Privately Developed Facilities
 In the past, privately developed facilities have not generally
I formed siting committees. When private facilities have been
sited, the public's first—and sometimes only—opportunity for
input has come when the permit application is put out for pub-
lic comment. Most states do not require private developers to
seek public involvement in the site selection or facility design
and operation decisions. Private companies, however, should
consider establishing siting committees and developing public
outreach programs to establish credability, build public trust, and
develop sound avenues of communication. These programs
should educate the community about the need for the facility,
the facility's design and operations, and provide an opportunity
for community input. A public outreach program helps the
developer understand community concerns and address them
early in the siting and design phases while changes are still readi-
ly incorporated. Adopting, with appropriate modifications, the
public involvement process outlined above is one approach to
addressing community concerns.
                10   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

   Building Reuse: Weighing  the Consequences

       Adapting an existing building for reuse as a waste transfer
       station is usually done as a capital cost savings measure.
   Building reuse saves on new site construction and can avoid the
   permitting process if the existing site already has a permit allow-
   ing the waste transfer activity. Building reuse can have some ben-
   efits, including conserving construction materials required for
   new structures and facilities; reducing waste from the demolition
   of existing buildings; recycling unused property for which no
   other uses were found; and redeveloping contaminated property
   (brownfields redevelopment). But the negative aspects frequent-
   ly outweigh the positives.

     Pitfalls and problems associated with adaptation or retrofitting
   of buildings for waste transfer stations include:

   •  Transfer buildings have unique requirements rarely found in
     structures designed for other uses. These include the need
     for vertical clearances sufficient to accommodate the tipping
     height of commercial collection vehicles. New facilities are
     usually designed with at least 25 to 30 feet of vertical clear-
     ance from the tipping floor to the lowest overhead element.

   •  Busy transfer stations require adequate onsite space for vehi-
     cle parking and queuing, something reused buildings often
     lack. In fact, one of the most common problems with building
     reuse is inadequate queuing space, which leads
     to vehicles blocking neighborhood streets.
     Queuing trucks on city streets creates health
     and safety issues, and can  be very disruptive
     for the surrounding neighborhood.

   •  Transfer stations need relatively large, open
     floor areas suitable for maneuvering large vehi-
     cles. Interior building columns and walls might
     not accommodate the kind of safe traffic
     movements that are needed,  which could pose
     a hazard and reduce traffic efficiency.
     Enclosed transfer structures also require large,
     very tall access doors. Doors 24-feet high are
     not unusual in new transfer buildings. The
     design must assume that a collection truck will
     inadvertently exit the transfer station building
     with its tipping bed extended.
                Heavy-duty, skid-resistant floors are a necessity in transfer
                stations. Sloped floors with positive drainage are also impor-
                tant. Some buildings are not designed with floors that meet
                these essential criteria, and replacing the floors can be costly.

                Older structures, particularly older warehouse type struc-
                tures, often fail to meet current structural design codes. In
                particular, modern seismic and fire code requirements have
                changed considerably in recent years. Retrofitting older struc-
                tures might prove more costly than demolishing and replacing
                the structure.

                Most transfer  stations require some amount of grade separa-
                tion so  waste  can be loaded into open-topped vehicles to
                simplify the waste loading process. Since customer and trans-
                fer vehicles both need to access  the structure, but at different
                levels, finding a building that offers this configuration might
                prove difficult. Installing additional levels or  tunnels can be
                costly or impractical in some areas  (i.e., shallow ground water
                or bedrock).

                Waste transfer stations include more than just the tipping
                area. While an existing building might be very adaptive to
                waste transfer, the overall building site needs to accommo-
                date the supporting activities and requirements including traf-
                fic queuing, buffer zones, scale facility operations, etc.
Transfer station structures require tall access doors to accomodate collection
munity to provide technical information.
Information should be relayed in various for-
mats and should consider language barriers,
literacy levels, and preferred types of commu-
nications.  For example, committee education
might include presentations by technical
experts and tours of existing transfer stations
in addition to written materials.

Siting Criteria
Once the committee completes the education
phase, criteria should be developed for
                                                                       Planning and Siting a Transfer Station   11

                      identifying and evaluating potential sites. All
                      siting criteria must be developed before iden-
                      tifying potential transfer station sites. This
                      approach ensures siting decisions are based on
                      objective criteria. Three categories or sets of
                      criteria applied during various stages of the
                      siting process are exclusionary, technical, and
                      community-  specific criteria. It is important to
                      note that no site may meet all  the criteria, in
                      which case, each criterion's relative weight
                      and importance must  be considered.

                      Exclusionary Siting Criteria
                      Siting a waste transfer station, or any type of
                      facility, in areas with preclusive siting criteria
                      is often prohibited by federal, state, or  local
                      laws or regulations, or requires facilities to
                      incorporate special engineering design and
Addressing  Cluster Zoning

   Siting waste transfer stations exclusively in areas zoned for industrial use
   can lead to a condition known as "cluster zoning." Especially restrictive
zoning frequently forces transfer stations into a few areas. In general, siting
transfer stations in industrial zones eliminates permitting agencies' discretion
to deny such use because technically, the transfer station is permitted "as a
matter of right." These types of zoning actions also prevent an impacted
community from influencing the zoning decision. Such intensive clustering
of industrial facilities may have negative impacts on neighboring residents,
such as increased traffic, noise, odors, and litter. Communities need to
address clustering and zoning issues at the local level through comprehen-
sive planning that considers the  aggregate effects of clustering certain activ-
ities and the equity in sharing community burdens. To avoid clustering when
siting a new waste transfer station, establish a community stakeholder or
advisory panel to participate in the siting process. This advisory panel
should consist of representatives from all potentially affected communities;
state, local, and/or tribal regulatory agencies; public and private waste trade
groups; local community development organizations; and any  other con-
cerned community, environmental, or environmental justice organizations.

   To  prevent disproportionate facility siting:

•   Zoning must not be presumed to prevent significant impacts on poor
   and minority communities.

•   The potential for clustering should be examined.

•   Other close or adjacent land uses should  be examined to determine

•   Other close or adjacent land uses should  be examined to analyze
   cumulative impacts.
construction techniques. Even when siting in
excluded zones is allowed, the added engi-
neering designs or strong public opposition
can significantly increase construction costs.
In general, it is best to avoid siting in  these
areas. Exclusionary criteria might include
areas such as:
•  Wetlands and floodplains.
•  Endangered and protected flora and fauna
•  Protected sites of historical, archeological,
   or cultural significance.
•  Prime agricultural land.
•  Parks and preserves.

Some examples of federal laws defining these
areas include the Endangered Species  Act; the
Migratory Bird Conservation Act; the  Coastal
Zone Management Act; the Wild and Scenic
Rivers Act; the Marine protection, Research,
and Sanctuaries Act; and the National Historic
Preservation Act.
Technical Siting Criteria
The second category of criteria to develop
includes technical parameters that help define
the best potential facility sites. These criteria
provide guidance on specific engineering,
operation, and transportation conditions that
should be considered to ensure that potential
sites are feasible from technical, environmen-
tal, and economic perspectives. These criteria
address the following issues:
•  Central location to collection routes: To
   maximize waste collection efficiency, trans-
   fer stations should be located centrally to
   waste collection routes. As  a rule of thumb
   in urban and suburban areas, transfer
   stations should be no more than 10 miles
   away from the end of all collection routes.
   Beyond that distance, collection routes
   might need to be altered to enable refuse to
   be collected and deposited  at the transfer
   station within one operating shift.
•  Access to major transportation routes: The
   transfer station should have direct and
   convenient access to truck routes, major
                 12   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

arterials, and highways (or rail or barge
access, if appropriate). For large metropoli-
tan areas, direct access to rail lines or
barges will significantly reduce the number
of large transfer trailers leaving the station
and traveling area roads.  It is preferable to
avoid routing traffic through residential
areas because traffic generated by transfer
stations contributes to congestion;
increased risk to pedestrians; increased air
emissions, noise, and wear on roads; and
might contribute to litter  problems.
Site size requirements: The area required
for specific transfer stations varies signifi-
cantly, depending on the volume of waste
to be transferred, rates at  which waste will
be delivered, the functions to be carried out
at the site, and the types of customers the
facility is intended to serve. Locating a site
of sufficient size is critical to operating effi-
ciencies and minimizing impacts on the
surrounding community.  Engineering input
can establish preliminary  size criteria based
on a conceptual design.
Sufficient space for onsite roadways,
queuing, and parking: Transfer stations
typically have onsite roadways to move
vehicles around various parts of the trans-
fer site. Waste collection trucks can be up to
40 feet long. Transfer trailers that move
waste to a disposal facility are typically 50
to 70 feet long.  These vehicles need wide
roadways with gradual slopes and curves
to maneuver efficiently and safely. Also, the
site will need space for parking transfer
vehicles and to allow incoming and outgo-
ing traffic to  form lines without backing up
onto public roads.
Truck and traffic compatibility: Transfer
stations often receive surges of traffic when
collection vehicles have finished their
routes. Transfer station traffic varies locally,
but tends to peak twice a  day. The first
peak is often near the middle of the day or
shift, and the second at the end of the day
or shift. Therefore, the best sites for transfer
stations are located away  from areas  that
have midday traffic peaks and/or school
bus and pedestrian traffic.
  Ability for expansion: When selecting a
  site, consider the potential for subsequent
  increase in the
  daily tonnage of
  waste the facility
  will be required to
  manage, or added
  processing capabil-
  ities for recycling
  and diversion. It is
  frequently less
  expensive to
  expand an existing
  transfer station
  than to develop a
Requiring Minimum Distance
Between Transfer Stations
Iommunities with a waste transfer station
clustering problem might consider requiring
  new site due to the
  ability to use exist-
  ing operations
  staff, utility con-
  nections, traffic control systems, office
  space, and buildings.
  Space for recycling, composting, and pub-
  lic education: A transfer station could be
  sited in areas also conducive to recycling or
  composting activities. Many transfer sta-
  tions are designed to enable residents and
  businesses to drop off recyclables and yard
  waste in addition to trash. Some transfer
  stations incorporate education centers or
  interpretive trails focusing on waste pre-
  vention. These types of facilities offer
  increased utility to the community.
a minimum distance between facilities as one
possible solution. Designating a minimum dis-
tance between waste transfer stations, or other
industrial facilities, will limit clustering by forcing
the siting of new facilities away from existing
operations. The end effect can be a more equi-
table dispersion of facilities and their  negative
impacts. A community will need to determine
what minimum distance is reasonable.
Many transfer stations are multi-level facilities that allow vehicle access at several
                                                               Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

                        Buffer space: To mitigate impact on the
                        surrounding community, a transfer station
                        should be located in an area that provides
                        separation from sensitive adjoining land
                        uses such as residences. Buffers can be nat-
                        ural or constructed and can take many
                        forms, including open spaces, fences, sound
                        walls, trees, berms, and landscaping.
                        Gently sloping topography: Transfer sta-
                        tions often are multilevel buildings that
                        need to have vehicle access at several lev-
                        els.  Completely flat sites need ramps or
                        bridges constructed to allow vehicle access
                        to upper levels (or areas excavated to allow
                        access to lower levels). Sites with moderate-
                        ly sloping terrain can use topography to
                        their advantage, allowing access to the
                        upper levels from the higher parts of the
                        natural terrain and access to lower levels
                        from the lower parts. Sites with steep
                        slopes might require extra costs associated
                        with earthmoving and retaining walls.
Using  CIS to Narrow the Search

A    geographic information system (CIS) is a computer system capable of
    assembling, storing, manipulating, and displaying geographically refer-
enced information (data identified according to location). After the data are
entered, each positive attribute or exclusionary criteria for siting transfer sta-
tions can be layered on top of municipal maps, as well as each other, to
narrow down potential site locations. The maps show these variables in
relationship to infrastructure and housing patterns.
  'hili|fj Ha.i
•  Access to utilities: Transfer stations gener-
   ally require electricity to operate equip-
   ment, such as balers and compactors;
   lighting; water for facility cleaning, rest-
   rooms, and drinking; and sanitary sewer
   systems for waste-water disposal. Some
   smaller transfer stations use wells for water
   supply, and some, especially in more rural
   settings, use septic systems or truck their
   waste water for offsite treatment.

Zoning Designations and
Zoning ordinances frequently classify transfer
stations as industrial uses, which limits their
siting to areas zoned for industry usually in
conjunction with a special use permit.
Exclusive use of predetermined  land use crite-
ria, however, might result in locating transfer
stations in areas already overburdened with
industries or clustering of these  types of facili-
ties in areas adjacent to poor and minority
communities. If local zoning ordinances are so
restrictive that they disallow facility siting
outside pre-established industrial zones, sub-
stantial engineering  and architectural design
must be incorporated into the facility to mini-
mize impacts on the surrounding community.

Developing Community-Specific Criteria
The third  category of criteria to consider are
impacts that the facility will have on the sur-
rounding  community. These criteria are typi-
cally less technical in nature and incorporate
local, social, and cultural factors. Examples of
these criteria include:
•  Environmental Justice considerations (e.g.,
   clustering, cumulative impacts).
•  Impact on the local infrastructure.
•  Adjacent land uses, including other envi-
   ronmental stressors that might already
•  Proximity to schools, churches, recreation
   sites, and residences.
•  Prevailing winds.
•  Number of residences impacted.
•  Presence of natural buffers.
                14   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

•  Impacts on existing businesses.
•  Expansion capability.
•  Buffer zones and screening measures.
•  Traffic compatibility.
•  Impact on historic or cultural features.

To maintain objectivity in the facility siting
process, the community-specific criteria
should be prioritized before potential sites are
known. After potential sites are identified, the
committee will apply these criteria to evaluate
each potential site's suitability as a waste
transfer station. These  issues also factor into
permitting decisions concerning private facili-
ties and should not be ignored by the permit-
ting agency or transfer station developer.

Applying the Committee's Criteria
After all three categories of siting criteria are
agreed upon, it is time for the committee to
apply the  criteria and narrow  down all possi-
ble sites. Keep in mind, however, that despite
the best efforts, every site has  some shortcom-
ings that will need to be addressed.
   First, the exclusionary criteria can be plotted
on maps, which helps the committee visualize
where the facility cannot be sited due to local,
state,  and  federal regulations. Once unsuitable
areas  are eliminated, the committee's technical
criteria are applied to all remaining options.
Based on the committee's community-specific
criteria, information for each potential site
should be developed so the committee can
rank the sites. Based on the committee's rank-
ing, the top two to four sites should undergo
more  rigorous analysis to determine technical
feasibility and compliance with the environ-
mental and community objectives.
future impacts. When this type of opposition
arises, it is often advantageous for the develop-
er to enter into a separate agreement with the
surrounding community, laying out all issues
of concern and the developer's action plan in
response. These "host community agreements"
are most frequently used when private compa-
nies are developing a facility, but public agen-
cies might also find them useful in satisfying
community concerns. These agreements typi-
cally specify design requirements, operating
restrictions, oversite provisions, and other serv-
ices and benefits that the community will
receive. Provisions might include the following:
• Limitations on waste generation sources.
• Roadside cleanup of litter on access routes.
• Restrictions on facility operating hours.
• Restrictions on vehicle traffic routes.
• Financial support for regulatory agencies to
  assist with facility oversight.
• Independent third-party inspection of
• Assistance with recycling and waste diver-
  sion objectives.
• A fee paid to the local government for
  every ton of waste received at the facility.
• Free or reduced-cost use of the facility for
  the community's residents and businesses.
• Guaranteed preference to the community's
  residents for employment.
• Funding for road or utility improvements.
• Provisions for an environmental education
• Financial support for other community
  based activities.
Host Community Agreements
Siting any type of solid waste management
facility has often been met with strong commu-
nity opposition. Whether the facility is publicly
or privately owned, many residents may not be
confident that the siting, permitting, and over-
sight process will be sufficiently rigorous to
address their concerns and protect them from
These agreements can also require that commu-
nity representatives have access to the facility
during operating hours to monitor perform-
ance. Safety concerns must be addressed if this
provision is included. Community representa-
tives usually welcome an ongoing communica-
tion process between facility operators and an
established citizen's committee to encourage
                                                                Planning and Siting a Transfer Station   15

     proactive response to evolving issues. The pro-   tion. The same is true for state, tribal or local
     visions or amenities in a host community         government compliance enforcement. The gov-
     agreement generally are in addition to what      ernment agency responsible for transfer station
     state and local standards or regulations require,   compliance also should make a commitment to
     and thus should not be thought of as substi-      the community concerning its role in actively
     tutes for adequate facility design and opera-      and effectively enforcing all requirements.
16   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

  Transfer    Station   Design
  and    Operation
        This section discusses the many fac-
        tors that affect a transfer station
        design. The general design issues
        discussed in this section can typi-
        cally be applied at a variety of facil-
ity sites and over a wide range of facility sizes.
Specific design decisions and their costs, how-
ever, can only be finalized once a specific site
is selected. After determining who will use the
facility and how, a site design plan can be
developed. A facility's design must accommo-
date its customers' vehicles and the technolo-
gy used to consolidate and transfer waste,
provide for employee and public safety, and
address environmental concerns related to
safeguarding health and being a good neigh-
bor to the surrounding community.

Transfer Station Design

How Will the Transfer Station Be Used?
The most important factors to consider when
designing a transfer station are:
• Will the transfer station receive waste from
  the general public or limit access to collec-
  tion vehicles?
• What types of waste will the transfer sta-
  tion accept?
• What additional functions will be carried
  out at the transfer station (i.e., material
  recovery programs, vehicle maintenance)?
• What type of transfer technology will be
• How will waste be shipped? Truck, rail, or
• What volume of material will the transfer
  station manage?
• How much waste will the facility be
  designed to receive during peak flows?
• How will climate and weather affect facility

Site Design Plan
Once a site is identified for the transfer sta-
tion, planners, architects, and engineers use
the factors described above to develop a site
plan for the proposed facility.2 A site plan
shows the layout of the transfer station site's
major features, including access points, road-
ways, buildings, parking lots, utilities, surface-
water drainage features, fences, adjacent land
uses, and landscaping.
  Figure 2 shows a simplified example of a
site design plan of a fully enclosed transfer sta-
tion. This facility has a design capacity of 500
tons per day and occupies a 25-acre site. It
serves both the general public and waste col-
lection vehicles and has a citizen drop-off area
for recyclables.

Site design plans typically show the following
• Road entrances and exits. Including accel
  eration/deceleration lanes on public streets,
  and access points for waste arriving  and
  departing from the transfer station. Some
  facilities have separate access for visitors
  and employees so these vehicles do not
  have to compete with lines of vehicles
  using the facility.
• Traffic flow routes on site. Often, separate
  routes are established for public use  and for
  heavy truck use. Designers work to elimi-
  nate sharp turns, intersections, and steep
• Queuing areas. Queues can develop at the
  inbound scales, the tipping area, and the
  outbound scales. Queuing space should be
  clearly identified, and queues should not
  extend across intersections.
  Sometimes a "conceptual site plan" is developed before a site is identified. This can be helpful in identifying and
  assessing the size and suitability of candidate sites.
                                                     Transfer Station Design and Operation   17

Figure 2
Transfer Station Site Plan (500 TPD)
                        The scale house. Incoming and outgoing
                        loads are weighed and fees are collected.
                        Primary functions at the transfer station
                        building. Including tipping floor, tunnels,
                        ramps, etc.
                        Buildings. Including entrances and exits
                        for vehicles and people.
                        Parking areas. Employees, visitors, and
                        transfer vehicles.
                        Public conveniences. Such as separate tip-
                        ping areas for the general public, recycling
                        dropoff areas, a public education center,
                        and restrooms.
                        Space for future expansion of the main
                        transfer building. Often, this area is shown
                        as a dotted line adjacent to the initial build-
                        ing location.
                        Buffer areas. Open space, landscaping,
                        trees, berms, and walls that reduce impacts
                        on the community.
•  Holding area. For inspecting incoming
   loads and holding inappropriate waste
   loads or materials for removal.

Main Transfer Area Design
Most activity at a transfer station occurs within
the main transfer building. Here, cars and
trucks unload their waste onto the floor, into a
pit, or directly into a waiting transfer container
or vehicle. Direct loading can simplify opera-
tions, but limits the opportunity to perform
waste screening  or sorting. When not loaded
directly, waste deposited onto the floor or into
a pit is stored temporarily, then loaded into a
transfer trailer, intermodal container, railcar, or
barge. Most modern transfer stations have
enclosed buildings. Some older and smaller
facilities are partly enclosed (e.g.,  a building
with three sides) or only covered (e.g., a build-
ing with a roof but no sides). Small rural facili-
ties might be entirely open but surrounded by
fences that limit  access and contain litter.
   Figure 3 shows the main transfer building
for the site plan  depicted in Figure 2. It shows
a 40,000-square-foot building with a pit, sepa-
rate tipping areas for public versus large
trucks on either  side of the pit,  and a preload
compactor to compact the waste before it is
loaded into transfer trailers.
   Because the main transfer building is typi-
cally quite tall to accommodate several levels
of traffic, it can often be seen easily from off-
site locations. Therefore, the main transfer
building should be designed to blend into or
enhance the surrounding neighborhood.

Types of Vehicles That Use a Transfer  Station
Traffic is frequently a transfer station's most
significant community impact. Because the pri-
mary purpose of transfer stations is to provide
more efficient movement of wastes, it is impor-
tant to consider the following types of cus-
tomers and vehicles that commonly use them.
•  Residents hauling their own wastes in cars
   and pickup trucks. Residents regularly
   served by a waste collection service typically
   visit the transfer station less frequently than
   residents in unincorporated and rural areas
                 18   Transfer Station Design and Operation

 Rural Transfer Station Design

    Since small transfer stations in rural or tribal settings receive
    considerably lower volumes of waste and customer vehicles
 than large urban or suburban facilities, many of the design crite-
 ria outlined previously will simply not apply. Cost frequently is a
 major consideration for small rural transfer stations, limiting what
 can be done. Consequently, rural transfer stations are often
 uncovered or partially covered facilities. Partially covered sites
 might be enclosed on three sides with the vehicle entrance side
 open, or simply have a roof with no walls. A common design
 uses a single open-top trailer situated beneath a raised customer
 tipping area. The raised customer tipping area allows customers
 to back up to the trailer or drop boxes and directly unload their
 waste into the rolloff trailer. A hopper is not usually used. When
 constructing a raised tipping area, taking advantage of natural
 grades within the site can reduce construction costs. If favorable
 grades do not exist, a simple earthen retaining wall and access
 ramp can be constructed to create  the multilevel layout desired.
 Some type of safety restraint should be incorporated on the tip-
 ping area to guard against falls. Using a removable constraint,
 such as a rope, chain, gate, or posts, allows tipping vehicles to
 unload waste unimpeded and facilitates site cleaning.

    Driving surfaces ideally are paved to minimize dust generation,
 but all-weather gravel surfacing is a cost-effective alternative to
                                          asphalt pavement.
p!"                                        Another alterna-
                                          tive is hosing
                               '4->         down dirt areas
                                **' •  ,  during operating
                                          hours. The use of
                                          drop boxes
                                          requires a con-
                                          crete or asphalt
                                          pad. Ideally, the
                                          facility is surround-
Partially covered rural facility.
ed by a fence and gated. The gate should be locked during nonop-
erating hours to keep out large vectors, trespassers, and illegal
dumpers. Fences also are helpful in containing wind-blown litter. It is
not uncommon for remote sites to lack water, sewer, or electrical

   Another design approach utilizes a completely contained
modular system, such as the system pictured below. These
types of systems are prefabricated and can be quickly assem-
bled  in the field. The waste collection bins are completely sealed
and are animal- and people-proof. Waste is deposited into the
sealed bin by one of two methods. A small sliding door on the
front panel can be opened by hand allowing small waste loads
to be deposited, while the entire front  panel can be raised to
allow collection vehicles to unload. Raising the front panel can-
not be done by hand and requires a power source. For isolated
sites lacking electrical power, vehicle drivers can use a  power
takeoff or a hydraulic connection from their collection vehicles
to lift the front panel. To unload the system, the transfer vehicle
pulls along side the container which is tipped up, dumping the
waste into the waiting vehicle (see the  photograph below).
Again, if power is not available on site to tip the container,
hydraulic power from the transfer vehicle itself can be  used. This
feature makes
such arrange-      y^/H'- '':•••''  v     ' '' :   '"         "• •'
ments ideal for
unmanned or
remote transfer
stations. If
desired, or
required by
state, tribal, or
local regulations,
leachate collec-    .         .   ,      ,  ,     .,     .    ,
      .   .        An example of a modular, self-contained
tion tanks also            '            „      ,,   , . „
    .       ...    waste transfer system. Source: Haul-All
can be installed                 /              .    ,,
                  Equipment Systems. 1999. Reprinted by
                  permission of Haul-All Equipment Systems.
not served by waste collection companies (or
who elect not to subscribe to an available
service). Residents typically deliver only a
few pounds to a ton of waste per visit.

Businesses and industry hauling their
own wastes in trucks. Many small busi-
nesses such as remodeling  contractors,
roofers, and landscapers haul their own
wastes to transfer stations.  The vehicle type
used and the waste amount delivered by
businesses varies considerably.

Public or private waste hauling operations
with packer trucks. Packer trucks, which
                                                   compact waste during the collection
                                                   process, are commonly used on collection
                                                   routes serving homes and businesses.
                                                   Packer trucks typically visit many waste
                                                   generators along their routes and unload
                                                   when full, generally once or twice per day.
                                                   Convenient access to a transfer station
                                                   helps keep packer trucks on their collection
                                                   routes. Packer trucks typically deliver 5 to
                                                   10 tons of waste per visit.

                                                   Public or private waste hauling operations
                                                   with rolloff trucks. Large rolloff containers
                                                   are typically placed at businesses and
                                                                 Transfer Station Design and Operation   19

Figure 3
Main Transfer Building Floor Plan
                            EMERGENCY BYPASS
                            TOP-LOAD CHUTE
                           -[FRANSFER TRAILER LOflER LEVEL)-
                                  -PRE-LOAD COMPACTOR
                                   (LOWER LEVEL)
                                WASTE PIT
                                (6 FEET HELDW
                                TIPPING FLOCR5)
                                                   -UNLOADING STALL
                         industry and collected when they are full. A
                         rolloff box is a large metal bin, often open
                         at the top, that can be loaded onto a truck
                         and hauled away to dispose of the waste.
                         Rolloff boxes also are commonly used at
                         transfer stations to receive yard waste, recy-
                         clables, and solid waste from the general
                         public. A typical, large rolloff box measures
                         8 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and 22 feet long.
                         Unlike packer trucks that operate on an
                         extended route before traveling to the
                         transfer station, rolloff trucks typically trav-
                         el to one place, pick up a roll-off container,
                         travel to and unload at the transfer station,
                         and return the empty rolloff container to
                         the place of origin. Because rolloff trucks
                         handle many loads per day, convenient
                         access to a transfer station is very important
                         to their operations. Rolloff trucks typically
                         deliver 2 to 8 tons per visit.
                         Transfer vehicles hauling waste from the
                         transfer station. Transfer trailers (similar to
                         large interstate tractor-trailers) commonly
                         haul consolidated waste from transfer sta-
                         tions to disposal facilities. Trains or barges
                         are also used to haul waste from some large
                         urban transfer stations (see text box).
   Transfer trailers typically haul 15 to 25 tons
   per trip, while trains and barges typically
   haul thousands of tons. Some stations
   transfer materials by using intermodal sys-
   tems, which combine short distance truck
   transport with longer distance rail or barge

The following design issues should be consid-
ered for the various vehicle types:
•  Packer trucks and rolloff trucks require a
   tall "clear height" inside buildings so they
   do not hit overhead lights, beams, or door-
   ways when extended. When these vehicles
   unload, they typically require 25 to 30 feet
   of vertical clearance. Large transfer stations
   can more readily accommodate this require-
   ment. Small and medium-sized transfer sta-
   tions can provide this clearance, but  doing
   so tends to make these buildings unusually
   tall for their size, particularly if they are
   multilevel facilities.
•  Packer trucks and rolloff trucks need space
   on the tipping floor to pull forward as the
   load is deposited if they are unloading on a
   flat floor  (rather than into a pit).
•  Packer and rolloff trucks require large areas
   to turn, back up, and maneuver  into the
   unloading area.
•  Residential loads, particularly those pulling
   trailers, require additional time and space
   to back up into the unloading area. In the
   interest of safety and site efficiency, many
   transfer stations have a separate access  road
   and receiving area for residential deliveries
   so that they  do not tie up unloading  space
   reserved for trucks. Residents typically
   unload materials by hand, which takes
   additional time.
•  Curves and  intersections along roads on or
   near the transfer station site need large
   turning radii so the rear wheels of trucks do
   not run over curbs or off the road when
   making moderate or sharp turns.
•  Slopes on ramps should be limited to less
   than 8 percent, particularly for fully loaded
   transfer trailers.
                  20   Transfer Station Design and Operation

•  In colder climates, measures and equip-
   ment for seasonal or severe weather should
   be incorporated. Road sanders and snow-
   plows for ice and snow removal are some

Transfer Technology
The method used to handle waste at the trans-
fer station from the time it is unloaded by col-
lection vehicles until it leaves the site is
central to any transfer station's design. In the
simplest cases, waste from collection vehicles
is unloaded directly into the transfer container
or vehicle. As this eliminates opportunities to
inspect or sort the material, other floor tipping
methods are more common.
   This section describes the basic methods of
handling waste at transfer stations, explains
which methods are most appropriate for small
and large transfer stations, and addresses the
advantages and disadvantages of each
method. Figure 4 shows simple diagrams of
the various transfer methods described in this
   Options for unloading waste from collec-
tion or residential vehicles at the transfer
station include:
•  Directly unloading material into the top of
   a container or transfer trailer parked below
   the unloading vehicle, or onto a tipping
A collection vehicle dumps its load onto the tipping floor.
   floor at the same level as the unloading
   vehicle (Figure 4-A).
•  Unloading into a surge pit located below the
   level of the unloading vehicle (Figure 4-B).

Waste can be moved and piled for short-term
storage on the  tipping floor or in a pit. Short-
term storage allows waste to be received at
the transfer station at a higher rate than it
leaves the facility, increasing a transfer sta-
tion's ability to handle peak waste delivery
   Rail and Barge Transport

      Rail Transport is suitable for high-volume transfer stations, par-
      ticularly those that need to haul waste long distances. Using
   railcars for transport offers some advantages over long hauling via
   truck. Railcars have a very  large capacity and offer an economi-
   cal mode of long-haul transport. Rail transport also eliminates
   highway out-haul traffic and allows out-haul vehicles to avoid
   highway traffic delays. Similar to trucks, rail transport uses a range
   of waste transfer containers and loading methods. Rail operations
   typically use direct top loading of noncompacted waste, loading
   of precompacted waste into intermodal containers, or placement
   of bales in conventional boxcars. When intermodal containers
   have to travel public highways between the rail terminals and
   either the transfer station or the disposal  site, the container load
   must stay within the highway weight limit. In some cases this may
   mean using several smaller  containers per railcar rather than just
            one or two large containers. A single train can take more than
            two hundred truck trips off the highway and in many situations
            can move the waste at a lower cost per ton mile, with greater
            fuel efficiency and lower overall air emissions.

               Rail transport is dependent upon the availability of adequate
            numbers of rail cars and containers and the ability of the railroad
            system to pickup and move the waste in a timely manner. Long
            delays before departure or along the  route can result in odor

               Barges carrying sealed intermodal containers are even more
            efficient than train transport. A single barge can replace 350
            truck  trips. Barge transport is best suited for very large waste
            transfer operations because of the high capital cost of loading
            and unloading terminals and transport containers and marine
            vessels. Siting of marine terminals may also be more difficult
            than siting a conventional waste transfer station.
                                                                  Transfer Station Design and Operation   21

 Figure 4
 Basic Transfer Station Technologies

 Waste can be unloaded directly into the "open top" of the trailer, but is most
 often unloaded on the tipping floor to allow for materials recovery and waste
 inspection before being pushed into the trailer. Large trailers, usually 100 cubic
 yards or more, are necessary to get a good payload because the waste is not
 compacted. This is a simple technology that does not rely on sophisticated
 equipment (e.g., compactor or baler). Its flexibility makes it the preferred option
 for low-volume operations.
                                           OPEN TOP TRANSFER TRAILERS
                                               DIRECT DUMP  ,_,.   PUSH LOAD
                                                                                    TIPPING FLOOR
                                                                                                                TRANSFER TRAILER
                     SURGE PIT

                       SURGE PIT
                               OPEN TOP TRAILER
                               OR PRE-COMPACTOR
The surge pit is not a loading technology, but an intermediate step normally used
with open-top or precompactor systems. The pit can store peak waste flow, thus
reducing the number of transfer trailers needed. A tracked loader or bulldozer is
used to compact the waste before loading, increasing payload. Because waste is
often unloaded directly into the surge pit, this technology might deter materials
recovery and waste screening efforts.
Stationary compactors use a hydraulic ram to compact waste into the transfer
trailer. Because the trailer must be designed to resist the compactive force, it is
usually made of reinforced steel. The heavy trailer and the weight of the onboard
unloading ram reduce the payload available for waste. This technology is declining
in popularity.
                                                                                                 COMPACTOR SYSTEM
                                                                                  TIPPING H-OOR
                                                                                                                  TRANSFER TRAILER
                                 WASTE 1OO"
                                  - PRECOMPACTOR
Precompactor systems use a hydraulic ram inside a cylinder to create a dense
"log" of waste. The log is pushed into a trailer that uses "walking floor" technolo-
gy to unload or relies on  a tipper at the landfill to unload  by gravity. Most precom-
pactor installations have two units in case one unit requires repair. The capital cost
is relatively high at more than $250,000 per unit, but the superior payload can
offset these initial costs.
Balers are units that compress waste into dense, self-contained bales. Wire straps
may be used to hold the bales intact. They are usually moved by forklifts and
transported by flatbed trailers. The baler units can also be used for recyclables
such as paper and metal. Payloads are very high, but so are capital costs. Most bal-
ing stations have at least two units in case one is down, and they cost more than
$500,000 apiece. This high-technology option is normally used only in high-volume
operations, and special equipment or accommodations might be required at the
landfill  (or balefill).
                                                  In this alternative, waste is tipped at a transfer station, then loaded into intermodal
                                                  containers. These containers typically have moisture- and odor-control features
                                                  and are designed to fit on both flatbed trailers and railroad flatcars. The contain-
                                                  ers may be loaded directly onto railcars or transferred by truck to a train terminal.
                                                  The sealed containers can be stored on site for more than 24 hours until enough
                                                  containers are filled to permit economic transport to the landfill. At the landfill,
                                                  these containers are usually  unloaded by tippers. This option allows for reduction
                                                  of total truck traffic on local roads and can make distant disposal sites economi-
                                                  cally viable.
Source: DuPage County. 1998. Solid Waste Transfer in Illinois: A Citizen's Handbook on Planning, Siting and Technology. Reprinted by permission of DuPage County.
                    22   Transfer Station Design and Operation

   Options for reloading waste into a transfer
container or vehicle include:
•  Reloading directly from a tipping floor or
   pit into top-load containers or transfer
   trailers parked below the tipping floor or
   pit (Figures 4-A and 4-B).
•  Reloading into a compactor that packs the
   waste into the end of a container or transfer
   trailer (Figure 4-C).
•  Reloading into a preload compactor that
   compacts a truckload of material and then
   ejects the compacted "log" into the end of a
   container or transfer trailer (Figure 4-D).
•  Reloading into a baler, which makes bales
   that can then be forklifted onto a flatbed
   truck (Figure 4-E).

Options for unloading waste at the disposal
facility from transfer containers or vehicles
include push-out blades, walking floors,  and
trailer tippers. With push-out blades and
walking floors, the trailers unload themselves.
A trailer tipper lifts one end of the trailer (or
rotates the entire trailer) so that the load falls
out due to gravity. Baled waste can be manip-
ulated at the landfill using forklifts.
   Table 1 summarizes the advantages and
disadvantages of the various transfer tech-
nologies. Some transfer stations use a combi-
nation of technologies to mitigate some of the
disadvantages of a particular design. For
example, large transfer stations might have a
top-loading system as a backup in case the
preload compactor breaks down or in case of
an electric power outage.  It also illustrates that
many interrelated factors  need to be consid-
ered when deciding on the appropriate tech-
nology for a transfer station. The major factors
include design capacity, distance to the dis-
posal site, cost, reliability, safety, and method
of unloading at the  disposal site.

Transfer Station Operations
   This section describes transfer station oper-
ations issues and suggests operational prac-
tices intended to minimize the facility's
impact on its host community. Issues covered
   Operations and
   maintenance plans.
   Facility operating
   Interacting with
   the public.
   Waste screening.
   Emergency situa-
A trailer tipper emptying a transfer trailer at a waste
disposal facility.
Operations and Maintenance Plans
Although a transfer station's basic function as
a waste consolidation and transfer facility is
straightforward, operating a successful station
involves properly executing many different
tasks. Some tasks are routine and easily
understood, while others occur infrequently
and might be difficult to conduct properly
without step-by-step directions. To help
ensure proper operations, transfer stations
should have written operations and mainte-
nance plans. These plans are often required by
state, tribal, or local regulations. They should
be written specifically for a particular facility
and include the following elements:

•  Facility operating schedule, including days
   of the week, hours each day, and holidays.
Solid waste baler compacts waste into dense, self-contained bales.
                                                               Transfer Station Design and Operation   23








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Transfer Station Design and Operation    25












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     •  Staffing plan that lists duties by job title,
       minimum staffing levels, and typical work
     •  Description of acceptable and unacceptable
       wastes, and procedures for diverting
       restricted waste before and after unloading.
     •  Operating methods for each component of
       the facility, including waste-screening meth-
       ods, truck-weighing procedures, tipping
       floor operations, transfer vehicle loading,
       onsite and offsite litter cleanup, and waste-
       water collection system operations.
     •  Description of maintenance procedures for
       each component, including the building,
       mobile equipment, utilities, and landscap-
     •  Employee training.
     •  Safety rules and regulations.
     •  Recordkeeping procedures.
     •  Contingency plans in the event of transfer
       vehicle or equipment failure, or if the dis-
       posal site is unavailable.
     •  Emergency procedures.

     Facility Operating Hours
     A transfer station's operating hours must
     accommodate the collection schedules of vehi-
     cles delivering waste to the facility. Operating
     hours need to consider the local setting of the
     transfer station, including neighboring land
     uses, as well as the operating hours of the dis-
     posal facility receiving waste from the transfer
       Operating hours vary considerably depend-
     ing on individual circumstances. Many  large
     facilities located in urban industrial zones
     operate 24 hours, 7 days per week. Urban,
     suburban, and rural transfer stations of vari-
     ous sizes commonly open early in the morn-
     ing (6 a.m. to 7 a.m.) and close in the late
     afternoon (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.). In many cases,
     the last trailer must be loaded with sufficient
     time to reach the disposal site before it closes
     (typically 4 p.m to 6 p.m.).
       Transfer  stations that serve both the general
     public and waste hauling companies typically
operate 6 or 7 days per week. Facilities that
are not open to the public typically operate 5
or 6 days per week because many waste haul-
ing companies do not operate on Sundays and
have limited operations on Saturdays. Many
smaller and rural facilities operate only on cer-
tain days of the week and have limited hours.
   The hours described above represent when
the transfer station is open to receive waste
from customers. Operations often extend
beyond the "open  for customers"  hours,
however, as workers load waste into transfer
vehicles, clean the  facility, and perform equip-
ment maintenance. Depending on the nature
of the operation, transfer trucks leaving the
site can sometimes operate on a schedule
somewhat independent of the rest of the oper-
ations. For example,  some operations maintain
an inventory of empty transfer containers and
vehicles and loaded containers and vehicles at
the transfer station site.  Loaded containers
and vehicles can be hauled off site according
to the best schedule considering traffic on area
roadways, neighborhood impacts of truck traf-
fic, and the hours the disposal facility receives
waste from the transfer station. State, tribal, or
local regulations might limit the overnight
storage of waste in the transfer station or even
in transfer trailers.

Interacting With the Public
Every transfer station has neighbors, whether
they are industrial, commercial, residential, or
merely vacant land. The term "neighbor"
should be broadly  interpreted, as some of
those impacted might not be immediately
adjacent to the transfer station. For example,
vehicles traveling to  and from a transfer sta-
tion could significantly affect a residential
neighborhood a mile away if those vehicles
travel on residential streets.
   An important part of successful transfer
station operations  is  engaging in constructive
dialogue with the surrounding community.
The appropriate level of interaction between
transfer station personnel or representatives
and their neighbors varies depending on
many factors. A transfer station in the middle
of a warehouse district with direct access to
28   Transfer Station Design and Operation

expressways might find that joining the local
business association and routinely picking up
offsite litter are adequate community activi-
ties. While a transfer station located adjacent
to homes and restaurants might find that
monthly meetings with neighbors, landscap-
ing improvements, commitments to employ
local workers, an odor reporting hotline, and
daily cleanup of litter are more appropriate.
  When developing a community outreach
plan, transfer station operators should consid-
er the following:
• Develop a clear explanation of the need for
  the transfer station and the benefits it will
  provide to the immediate community and
  surrounding area.
• Develop a clear process for addressing com-
  munity concerns that is communicated to
  the neighborhood even before the facility
  becomes operational.
• Designate one person as the official contact
  for neighborhood questions and concerns.
  Ideally, this person would regularly work at
  the transfer station and be available to
  respond quickly to questions and concerns.
  The person should also be good  at listening
  carefully to community concerns before
  responding. Advertising an e-mail address
  or Web site is another way  to provide infor-
  mation and allow community input.
• Organize periodic facility tours. Neighbors
  unfamiliar with the transfer station's opera-
  tions are more likely to have misconcep-
  tions or misunderstand the facility's role.
• Establish positive relationships by working
  with  community-based organizations,
  improvement districts, civic associations,
  business associations, youth employment
  bureaus, and other organizations.
  Interaction with the community should
  focus on positive issues, not just occasions
  when a neighbor is upset about odor, litter,
  or traffic.
• Offer support services such as newspaper
  drives, household hazardous waste (HHW)
   drop-off days, and spring cleaning disposal
   at the facility.
Waste Screening
As described in the
section on
Unacceptable Wastes
in the Planning and
Siting a Transfer
Station chapter, some
types of wastes are
not appropriate for
handling at a transfer
station.  These unac-
ceptable wastes might
be difficult to handle,
dangerous, prohibited
at the disposal facility
where the waste is
sent, or subject to a
recycling mandate.3
Transfer station oper-
ators should  screen
for unacceptable
materials before, dur-
ing, and after cus-
tomers unload, and
should tell customers
where they can dis-
pose of wastes inap-
propriate for that transfer
  Fact Sheets About
  Unacceptable Waste

     Consider developing simple fact sheets to
     inform customers why certain wastes are
  not accepted at the transfer station and where
  they can dispose of the unacceptable wastes.
  A typical fact sheet could include:

  •  A picture or graphic of unacceptable waste.

  •  A definition  of what the unacceptable
    waste is and a brief description of why it is
    not accepted at the transfer station.

  •  The dangers, drawbacks, or penalties for
    improper disposal of unacceptable waste.

  •  Safe consumer alternatives.

  •  Where the waste can be appropriately
    managed, including  driving directions, hours
    of facility operation, and contact informa-

  •  Telephone numbers and Web sites of
    appropriate regulatory agencies that can
    provide more information.
   If their wastes are refused at a transfer sta-
tion, some customers might illegally dispose
of unacceptable materials or might try to hide
these materials in a future delivery. When cus-
tomers arrive with unacceptable materials,
operators could give them a preprinted fact
sheet that describes the issue and suggests
alternative management methods. In addition,
community  programs dedicated to reducing
the use of products that generate dangerous
wastes can decrease unacceptable waste deliv-
eries to transfer stations.
   At the transfer station, screening for unac-
ceptable wastes could start at the scale house
(where customers first check in upon arrival at
the facility). Employee training on identifying
3  For example, some states, tribes, or cities prohibit the disposal of yard wastes in landfills. Thus, grass clippings
   would be prohibited in a mixed waste load.
                                                               Transfer Station Design and Operation   29

                       and managing suspect materials is the corner-
                       stone in any waste-screening program.
                       Operators could interview customers about
                       types of waste they have and from where the
                       waste was collected. A list of common unac-
                       ceptable items could be posted, and operators
                       could ask if any of the items are present in the
                       load. Visual inspections can also help identify
                       unacceptable wastes. Some facilities provide
                       overhead cameras or walkways to facilitate a
                       view of the top of uncovered loads (or loads
A transfer station scale house.
                       that can easily be uncovered at the scale
                       house). Walking around the truck to examine
                       its contents and checking for smoke or suspi-
                       cious odors might be appropriate.
                         Some unacceptable wastes might not
                       become apparent until the unloading process.
                       Operators should observe waste unloading
                       and examine suspected unacceptable wastes.
                       Waste unloaded onto the floor or into a pit is
                       easier to monitor than waste unloaded direct-
                       ly into a transfer container or vehicle.  Ideally,
                       unacceptable wastes would be noticed before
                       the delivery vehicle has left the site.
                         Regardless of screening efforts, transfer sta-
                       tion operators should expect that some unac-
                       ceptable wastes will be discovered after the
                       responsible party is gone. Transfer stations
                       should set aside an area for safe temporary
                       storage of unacceptable wastes until appropri-
ate disposal is feasible, and develop a step-by-
step plan to follow. In some cases, the party
that deposited the waste can be contacted to
retrieve it. In other cases, the transfer station
operator must properly manage the waste.
Proper material management depends on the
type of waste discovered. For example, man-
agement of hazardous wastes requires compli-
ance with federal regulations issued under
authority of the Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act (RCRA) (40 CFR  Parts 260 to
299) or the Toxic Substances Control Act
(TSCA) (40 CFR Part 700 to 799), whereas
recyclable materials screened from the waste
stream can be collected and processed with
similar materials.

Emergency Situations
Most days at a transfer station  involve routine
operations. Transfer station operators should
prepare for emergencies, however, and
include emergency procedures  in their written
operations plans. State regulatory agencies
often require submission of a Plan of
Operations and a Contingency  Plan for review
and approval. At minimum, the following
emergency events should be anticipated:
• Power failure. The plan should address
  how to record customer information, collect
  fees, and load transfer trailers during a
  power outage. Many larger transfer stations
  have backup power generators so at least
  some operations can continue during a
  power failure.
• Unavailability of transfer vehicles. The
  plan should address what to do if poor
  weather, road closures, or strikes prevent
  empty transfer vehicles from arriving at the
  transfer station. The plan should also
  address when the transfer station should
  stop accepting waste deliveries if the waste
  cannot be hauled out in a timely manner.
• Unavailability of scales. The plan should
  describe recordkeeping and  fee assessment
  in the event that scales are inoperable. At
  facilities with both inbound  and  outbound
  scales, one scale can temporarily serve both
                       Transfer Station Design and Operation

•  Fire. Fire response and containment proce-
   dures should address fires found in incom-
   ing loads, temporary storage at the transfer
   station, compaction equipment, transfer
   vehicles, and other locations. Typically, fire
   procedures focus on protecting human
   health and calling professional fire depart-
•  Spill containment. Spills can occur from
   waste materials or from vehicles delivering
   waste. For example,  hydraulic compaction
   system hoses on garbage trucks can break.
   Spill containment plans should address
   spill identification, location of spills,
   deployment  of absorbent materials, and
   cleanup procedures. For large spills, the
   plan should  also address preventing the
   spill from entering storm  drains or sewers.
•  Discovery of hazardous materials.
   Hazardous materials plans should include
   methods to identify and isolate hazardous
   materials, temporary storage locations and
   methods, and emergency phone numbers.
•  Injuries to employees or customers. The
   plan should  include  first aid procedures,
   emergency phone numbers, and routes to
   nearby hospitals.
•  Robbery. Some scale houses handle cash
   and include security provisions to deter

Emergency plans should include a list of
emergency contacts, including daytime and
evening phone  numbers for facility manage-
ment, facility staff, emergency response teams,
frequent customers, and regulatory agencies.

Detailed operating records enable both facility
managers and regulatory overseers to ensure
that the transfer station is operating efficiently
and in accordance with its permit require-
ments. Medium and large transfer stations
typically record the following information as
part of their routine operations:
Depositing incoming waste on a tipping floor facilitates waste screening.

• Incoming loads: date, time, company, driv-
  er name, weight (loaded), weight (empty),4
  origin of load, fee charged.

• Outgoing loads (typically transfer trucks):
  date, time, company, driver name, weight
  (loaded), weight (empty), type of material
  (e.g., waste, compostables, recyclables), des-
  tination of load.

• Facility operating log: noting any unusual
  events during the operating day.

• Complaint log: noting the date, time, com-
  plaining party, nature of the complaint, and
  followup activity to address the complaint.

• Accidents  or releases: details any accidents
  or waste releases into the environment.

• Testing results: such as tests for suspected
  unacceptable waste.

• Environmental test results: such as surface
  water discharges, sewer discharges, air
  emissions,  ground-water, or noise tests.

• Maintenance records: for mobile and fixed

• Employee  health and safety reports.

• Employee  training and operator certifica-
  tion documentation.
4 For repeat customers, the empty truck (tare) weight is often kept on file so trucks do not need to weigh out during
  each visit.
                                                              Transfer Station Design and Operation

     Some transfer station operators, particularly at
     smaller facilities, find it necessary to record
     only some of the above items. In order to
     avoid the cost of installing and operating a
     scale, some small and medium-size transfer
     stations substitute estimated load volume (as
     measured in cubic yards) instead of weighing
     loads (in tons). When loads cannot be easily
     viewed (such as with packer trucks),  cubic
     yards are generally based on the vehicle's
     capacity. Loads in cars and pickup trucks are
     typically charged a minimal flat fee.

     Environmental  Issues
     Developing transfer stations that minimize
     environmental impacts involves careful plan-
     ning, designing, and operation. This section
     focuses on neighborhood quality or public
     nuisance issues and offers "good neighbor
     practices" to improve the public's perception
     of the transfer station. Design and operational
     issues regarding traffic, noise, odors,  air emis-
     sions, water quality, vectors, and litter are dis-
     cussed below. Proper facility siting, design,
     and operation can address and mitigate these
     potential  impacts on the surrounding natural
     environment and the community.
       Careful attention to these issues begins with
     the initial planning and siting of a facility and
     should continue with regular monitoring after
     operations begin. Transfer station design must
     account for environmental issues regardless of
     surrounding land use and zoning. Stations
     sited in industrial or manufacturing zones are
     subject to the same environmental concerns
     and issues as stations located in more populat-
     ed zones. Minimizing the potentially negative
     aspects associated with these facilities requires
     thoughtful design choices. Identifying and
     addressing these important issues can be a sig-
     nificant part of the overall cost to develop the
     waste transfer station.

     Traffic causes the most significant offsite envi-
     ronmental impacts associated with larger
     waste transfer stations. This is particularly
     true for stations in urban and suburban areas
     where traffic congestion is often already a sig-
nificant problem for the local community.
Although transportation routes serving rural
stations typically receive less traffic, these
routes might still be affected by limitations on
gross vehicle weight or individual axle
weights for certain roads or bridges.
   By consolidating shipments to the disposal
site, a waste transfer system will have net pos-
itive impacts in terms of reducing community-
wide truck traffic, air emissions, noise, and
highway wear. Some of these negative
impacts, however, might be concentrated in
the immediate vicinity of the transfer station
as a result of increased local traffic generated
by a transfer station, even though overall
impacts are reduced.
   Evaluating travel routes and the resulting
traffic impacts should receive significant atten-
tion during facility siting and design to mini-
mize the traffic's offsite environmental
impacts. Furthermore,  dependable access and
smooth traffic flow are essential for good cus-
tomer service and the operating efficiency of
the facility. It is common, particularly in urban
and suburban areas, for tribes and other  local
jurisdictions to require significant offsite
improvements to mitigate traffic impacts or to
assess traffic impact fees to offset improve-
ments needed for traffic upgrades.
   Typically, transfer stations can indirectly
control when traffic arrives at the facility by
adjusting operating hours. Relatively few
transfer stations are able to schedule inbound
traffic because collection vehicles need to
unload when they are full so collection crews
can resume their routes or end their working
day. Also, many transfer stations are not  oper-
ated by the same company delivering waste to
the facility, so control over specific timing is
difficult. Some transfer stations have the  abili-
ty to schedule transfer vehicle traffic, however.
These stations often schedule trips to avoid
rush-hour traffic on area routes.
   Any queuing should occur on the transfer
station site so as not to inhibit the traffic  flow
on public streets. Queuing on streets creates
public safety concerns, blocks traffic and
access to adjacent properties, and in some
cases, causes damage to streets not designed
32   Transfer Station Design and Operation

for heavy vehicles. If space on the site is insuf-
ficient, alternatives should be considered.
These could include providing a separate tip-
ping area for certain types of customers (such
as self-haulers, who generate a lot of traffic,
but not much waste)  or establishing a remote
holding lot for inbound vehicles to use before
joining  the onsite queue. Regulatory agencies
sometimes can address and control queuing
problems through the permitting process.
Permitting agencies can incorporate provi-
sions that require transfer stations to provide
adequate queuing space on site or off site or
that prohibit queuing on public streets.
   As a result of community input, the opera-
tor might designate traffic routes to the facili-
ty. A simple "right turn only" at the exit can
relieve some traffic conflicts. If offsite routes
are designated, clear authority for enforce-
ment needs to be established (e.g., by local
police or by the station operator refusing
access to violators).
   Some specific design and operation features
that might be necessary to reduce the environ-
mental  impacts of station traffic are described
•  Designating haul routes to and from the
   transfer station that avoid congested areas,
   residential areas, and other sensitive areas.
•  Adding offsite directional signs, pavement
   markings, and intersection signals.
•  Providing acceleration and deceleration
   lanes that allow vehicles to enter and leave
   the flow of offsite traffic smoothly, reducing
   congestion and the likelihood of accidents.
•  Using right turns to enter and leave the sta-
   tion site and minimizing left turns to
   reduce congestion and the likelihood of
   accidents off site.
•  Providing adequate onsite queuing space so
   lines of customers and transfer vehicles
   waiting to enter the facility do not interfere
   with offsite traffic.
   Installing and using compaction equipment
   to maximize the amount of waste hauled in
   each transfer trailer, thus reducing the num-
   ber of loads leaving the site.
   Establishing operating hours, including
   restrictions, that encourage facility use dur-
   ing nonpeak traffic times on area roads.
   Schedule commercial waste deliveries to
   avoid rush-hour traffic.
   Providing or  requiring the provision of resi-
   dential waste collection service to reduce
   the number of people hauling their own
   wastes to the transfer station. Although the
   transfer station will handle the same
   amount of waste, more of it will arrive as
   combined collection vehicle loads, reducing
   the number of loads brought in by cars and
   pickup trucks.
   (One residential
   collection vehicle
   can haul as much
   as  15 to 30 cars
   and pickup
Transfer stations can
be a significant
source of noise,
which might be a
nuisance to neigh-
bors.5 Heavy truck
traffic and the opera-
tion of heavy-duty
facility equipment are
the primary sources
of noise from a trans-
fer station. Offsite
traffic noise in the
station's vicinity will be perceived as noise
from the station itself. Equipment noise
includes engines, backup alarms (beepers),
hydraulic power units, and equipment buck-
ets and blades banging and scraping on con-
crete and steel surfaces. The unloading of
waste or recyclables (particularly glass) onto a
Noise Abatement: Leon County,

    As part of its site selection process for a
    waste transfer station, Leon County,
Florida, commissioned a study to evaluate and
address noise concerns. Parcels adjacent to the
site include residential, commercial, and light
industrial. To the west is undeveloped residen-
tial land. The study used a 5-step procedure to
determine the impact that noise from the
transfer station would have on the adjoining
community. It also assessed the effectiveness
and feasibility of abatement. The study resulted
in nine recommendations relating to building
orientation, truck routing, operating hours,
berm and wall construction, and vegetative
plantings to buffer noise (Leon County, FL;
February, 2000).
   Although repeated exposure to high noise levels can lead to hearing impairment, noise levels associated with
   impairment are typically a concern only to employees; neighborhood impacts are typically a nuisance issue, not a
   health issue.
                                                                Transfer Station Design and Operation

                       tipping floor, pit, steel drop box, or trailer can
                       also create substantial noise, depending on the
                       type of waste, fall distance, and surface.
                       Stations that use stationary solid waste com-
                       pactors or engine-driven tamping equipment
                       have additional sources of mechanical equip-
                       ment noise with which to contend. Good facil-
                       ity design and operations can help reduce
                       noise emanating from the station.  This
                       • Maximizing the utility of perimeter site
                         buffers, particularly along site boundaries
                         with sensitive adjoining properties.
                         Increasing the distance between the noise
                         source and the  receiver, or providing natu-
                         ral or man-made barriers are the most effec-
                         tive ways of reducing noise when the
                         sound generation level cannot be reduced.
                       • Orienting buildings so the site topography
                         and the structure's walls buffer adjacent
                         noise-sensitive  properties from direct expo-
                         sure to noise sources.
                       • Providing sound-absorbent materials on
                         building walls and  ceilings.
                       • Shutting off idling equipment and queuing
                       • Avoiding traffic flows adjacent to noise-
                         sensitive property.
11 11
l • ii
« • • m
                                               mm  »       *

Surge pit separating public and commercial vehicles. Water sprays along the walls
of the pit are used to suppress dust.
• Arranging the facility layout to eliminate
  steep uphill grades for waste-hauling
  trucks, as driving uphill can significantly
  increase noise levels.
• Facing building openings such as entrances
  away from noise-sensitive adjoining prop-
• Considering alternatives for beeping back-
  up alarms, such as strobe lights and prox-
  imity detectors.
• Confining noisy activities within specified
  buildings or other enclosures.  In particular,
  enclose hydraulic power units associated
  with compactors and rams in areas with
  acoustic silencing materials. Quieter equip-
  ment options can also be selected during
• Properly maintaining mufflers and engine
  enclosures on mobile equipment operating
  within the transfer station. Also insist that
  operators of commercial hauling vehicles
  keep their equipment, including the muffler
  systems, in good repair.
• Keeping as many doors closed during sta-
  tion operating hours as practical.
• Conducting activities that generate the
  loudest noise during selected hours, such as
  the morning or afternoon commute hours,
  when adjoining properties are unoccupied
  or when offsite background noise is at its

MSW, food waste, and certain yard wastes
such as grass have a high potential for odor
generation. Odors might increase during
warm or wet weather. Thus, transfer stations
handling these wastes need  to address odor
management based on current and projected
adjacent land uses. Odors can be managed
with proper facility design and operating pro-
cedures, including:
• As with noise mitigation, increasing the dis-
  tance between the odor source and the
  receiver effectively reduces the impact of
                  34   Transfer Station Design and Operation

Evaluating the prevailing wind direction to
determine building orientation and setback
to adjacent properties.
Carefully orienting the building and its
doorways with respect to odor-sensitive
neighboring property and closing as many
doors as practical during operating hours.
Designing floors for easy cleanup, includ-
ing a concrete surface with a positive slope
to drainage systems. Eliminating crevices,
corners, and flat surfaces, which are hard to
keep clean and where waste residue can
Sealing concrete and other semiporous sur-
faces to prevent absorption of odor-produc-
ing residues.
Minimizing onsite waste storage, both in
the facility and in the loaded trailers, by
immediately loading odorous or potentially
odorous wastes into transfer trailers and
quickly transferring them to the disposal
Incorporating odor neutralizing systems.
Removing all waste from the tipping floor
or pit at the end of each operating day, then
cleaning those areas to  remove remaining
Using enclosed trailers whenever possible
when loaded trailers must sit on site tem-
porarily before transfer.
Practicing "first-in, first-out" waste han-
dling practices so wastes are not allowed to
sit on site for long periods of time.
Collecting and removing partially full con-
tainers at rural stations where accumulation
of full loads could take several days.
Keeping building catch basins, floor drains
and drainage systems clean so odor-causing
residues  do not build up.
Treating drainage systems periodically with
odor-neutralizing and bacteria-inhibiting
Diverting odorous waste loads to facilities
with less sensitive surroundings during
adverse weather conditions.
•  Refusing to accept certain highly odorous

•  Practicing other "good housekeeping"
   measures, including regularly cleaning and
   disinfecting containers, equipment, and
   other surfaces that come into contact with

Air Emissions
Air emissions at transfer stations result from
dusty wastes delivered to the transfer station,
exhaust (particularly diesel) from mobile
equipment such as trucks and loaders, driving
on unpaved or dusty surfaces, and cleanup
operations such as street sweeping. As with
odor control, proper design and operating
procedures help minimize air emissions,

•  Paving all traffic carrying surfaces.

•  Keeping paved surfaces and tipping floors
   clean, and ensuring any street sweeping
   operations use sufficient water to avoid stir-
   ring up dust.

•  Restricting vehicles from using residential

•  Selecting alternative fuel or low-emission
   equipment or retrofitting equipment with
   oxidation catalysts and particulate traps.

•  Installing misting systems to suppress dust
   inside the building or using a hose to spray
   dusty wastes as they are unloaded and
   moved to the receiving vehicles. (In rural
   areas, small stations might not have a readi-
   ly available water supply, or might have to
   rely on a portable water supply  for house-
   keeping needs.)

•  Maintaining engines in proper operating
   condition by performing routine tune-ups.

•  Considering the purchase of newer genera-
   tion, low-emission diesel engines.

•  Minimizing idling of equipment by turning
   off engines when not in use.

•  Cleaning truck bodies and tires to reduce
   tracking of dirt onto streets.
                                                            Transfer Station Design and Operation   35

Water Quality at Rural  Transfer Stations

    At stations in rural areas where water might not be available for sanitary
    uses, portable toilets might provide a solution. But even at these sta-
tions, there is likely some amount of potentially contaminated runoff that
needs to be managed as sewage. In rural areas and other areas not served
by a piped sanitary sewer system, it is common to connect building drains
to underground holding tanks. The tanks are pumped as needed, and the
leachate is trucked to a sewage treatment plant or other approved process-
ing facility.
                     •  Maintaining building air filtering systems
                       so that they perform effectively.

                     Storm Water Quality
                     Rainfall and wash-down water flows from
                     roofs, roads, parking lots, and landscaped
                     areas at a transfer station, eventually reaching
                     natural or constructed storm water drainage
                     systems. Runoff might also percolate into the
                     ground-water system.  Keeping surface water
                     free of runoff contamination from waste, mud,
                     and fuel and oil that drips from vehicles is
                     important to maintaining the quality of both
                     the surface and ground water systems. The
                     quality and amount of runoff often is regulat-
                     ed by state, tribal, or local water management
                     authorities. Transfer station development typi-
                     cally results in the addition of new impervious
                     surfaces  (i.e., paved surfaces) that increase the
                     total quantity of runoff and can contribute to
                     flooding potential.

                       When runoff contacts waste, it is considered
                     potentially contaminated and is known as
                     "leachate." Transfer station design  and opera-
                     tion should ensure that contaminated water is
                     collected separately, then properly  managed on
                     site or discharged to the sewer.  Most transfer
                     stations send some  amount of waste water to
                     sewer systems. In addition to leachate, waste
                     water from daily cleaning of the waste han-
                     dling areas and the facility's restrooms and
                     support areas typically are discharged to the
                     sewer. Local waste water treatment plants
                     establish guidelines for pretreatment and
                     analysis with which transfer stations must
                     comply when discharging waste water into the
                     sewer. To minimize impacts on sewer systems,
                     transfer stations should consider:
•  Covering waste handling and storage areas
   that drain to the sanitary sewer system.
   This reduces the amount of rainfall con-
   tributing to the total volume of sewer flow.
•  Removing as much debris from the tipping
   floor as possible by mechanical means (e.g.,
   scraping or sweeping) before hosing the
   floor down.
•  Installing low-flow toilets, showers, and
•  Providing appropriate pretreatment of
   water that comes into contact with waste
   (leachate). Pretreatment requirements vary
   depending on the capabilities of the receiv-
   ing sewer, but could include provisions
   allowing solids to settle out of the sewage,
   the use of oil/water separators, or the use
   of other treatment systems.

Other design and operation measures to con-
sider in managing surface water quality
•  Complying with all surface water manage-
   ment regulations applicable in the jurisdic-
   tion where the station is located. In
   jurisdictions with well-developed regula-
   tions, design and operation measures usual-
   ly include development of surface water
   detention facilities (ponds, tanks, or large
   holding pipes) that limit the runoff rate to
   the predeveloped rate. In addition,  water
   quality requirements might involve desilt-
   ing facilities and applying various forms of
   biofiltration to remove contaminants. Some
   jurisdictions might require pH adjustment
   and other forms of pretreatment.
•  Locating stations outside local flood zones.
•  Minimizing impervious areas and maximiz-
   ing landscape and vegetative cover areas to
   reduce total runoff.
•  Limiting outside parking of loaded contain-
   ers or alternatively using rain-tight, leak-
   tight containers. If loaded containers or
   transfer vehicles are parked or stored out-
   side, providing catch basins connected to
   the sanitary sewer system might be neces-
                     Transfer Station Design and Operation

•  Maintaining all surface water management
   facilities in good operating condition. This
   includes periodic cleaning and removal of
   silt and debris from drainage structures and
   ponds, as well as removing collected oil
   from oil-water separators.
•  Responding promptly to exterior spills to
   prevent waste materials from entering the
   surface water system.
•  Cleaning up liquid spills such as oils, paints,
   and pesticides with absorbent material rather
   than hosing them into drains. Although
   transfer stations generally do not accept
   these liquids, they might find their way into
   the waste stream in small quantities.
•  Using secondary containment around tem-
   porary storage areas for HHW, batteries,
   and suspect materials.

Vectors are organisms that have the potential
to transmit disease. Vectors of concern at
transfer stations can include rodents, insects,
and scavenging birds. Seagulls are particularly
troublesome birds in coastal zones and certain
inland areas. Much of the concern surround-
ing vectors is associated with general nuisance
factors, but this issue justifies diligent atten-
tion. A few basic design elements and opera-
tional practices can greatly reduce the
presence of vectors,  including:
•  Eliminating or screening cracks or openings
   in and around building foundations, waste
   containers, and holding areas at enclosed-
   type stations. This reduces opportunities for
   entry by terrestrial vectors (especially
•  Installing bird-deterrent measures, such as
   suspended or hanging wires to keep birds
   out  of structures,  and eliminating horizon-
   tal surfaces where birds can congregate.
•  Removing all waste delivered to the facility
   by the end of each day.
•  Cleaning the tipping floor daily.
•  Routinely inspecting the facility for poten-
   tial vector habitat, and  taking corrective
   action when needed.
•  Using commercial vector control specialists
   as necessary.

In the normal course of facility operations,
stray pieces of waste are likely to become litter
in and around the facility. In jurisdictions that
do not have or do not enforce regulations to
cover customer vehicles, the litter problem is
often most prevalent on routes leading to the
station. Dry, light materials such as plastic
grocery bags can be  blown from the backs or
tops of vehicles, or from the tipping area to
the facility's outside areas.
   Design and operation considerations that
can reduce the litter problem include:
•  Conducting all waste handling and process-
   ing activities in enclosed areas, if possible.
•  Orienting the main transfer building with
   respect to the pre-
   dominant wind
   direction so it is
   less likely to blow
   through the build-
   ing (or tunnel) and
   carry litter out.
   Generally the
   "blank" side of the
Vector Control at Rural Transfer
 In less densely populated areas, other vectors
   building should
   face into the pre-
   vailing wind.
   Strictly enforcing
   the load covering
   or tarping require-
   ments will reduce
   litter from waste
   trucks. Some transfer station operators have
   the authority to decline uncovered loads
   and have instituted surcharges to provide
   incentives for customers to cover their
   Providing windbreaks to deflect wind away
   from waste handling areas.
   Locating doors in areas that are less likely
   to have potentially litter-producing materi-
   als stored near them, regardless of building
 of concern could include bears, raccoons, and
dogs, especially if waste is not tightly enclosed.
The best way to keep large vectors out of the
facility is to totally enclose the waste storage
area or to fence and gate the site. Bird-scare
devices, such as recordings of predatory birds
or plastic decoys, can help alleviate scavenging.
Baited traps can be used to control rodents,
and humane traps can capture larger mammals
such as raccoons and weasels.
                                                               Transfer Station Design and Operation   37

                        At small rural stations, providing contain-
                        ers with lifting lids that are normally
                        Minimizing horizontal ledges where litter
                        can accumulate.
                        Providing skirts (usually wide rubber belt-
                        ing or strip brushes) that close the gap
                        between the bottom of the chute and the
                        top of the receiving container at stations
                        that employ chutes and hoppers to contain
                        waste as it is deposited in trailers and drop
                        Installing fencing and netting systems to
                        keep blowing litter from escaping the sta-
                        tion site. This is particularly necessary at
                        small rural facilities that are likely open-
                        sided or that lack an enclosing building.
                        Conducting routine litter patrols to collect
                        trash on site, around the perimeter, on
                        immediately adjacent properties, and on
                        approach roads and the hauling route (s).
                        Litter patrols, especially at unattended sites,
Facility Operating Plans

     Many states (as well as some tribes and local governments) require
     waste transfer stations to prepare and maintain facility operating plans.
Often, these plans must be submitted with the permit application. The
operating plan format and the specific information it must contain can vary
greatly. Some states may also require operating plans prepared or certified
by a licensed or certified professional engineer. Operating plans might
require the following information:

•   Facility-specific information such as location and ownership. Some states
   require maps and diagrams of the site and facility as well.

•   Facility capacity and expected operating life.

•   Description of  the type of waste the facility will handle, including waste
   origination, composition, and weight or volume.

•   A list or description of unacceptable wastes, including procedures for
   storing and handling these materials if they do arrive at the facility.

•   A description of daily operations, including waste handling techniques,
   vector controls, and hours of operation.

•   Emergency or contingency plans and procedures.
   can also detect any illegal dumping that has
   occurred along the site perimeter.
•  Cleaning the tipping floor regularly and
   maintaining good housekeeping practices.
   This will minimize the amount of loose
   material that can be blown outside.

Safety Issues
Thoughtful facility design coupled with good
operating practices help ensure transfer sta-
tions are safe places. Transfer stations should
be designed and operated for the safety of
employees,  customers, and even persons ille-
gally trespassing when the facility is closed.
Designers need to consider that people might
trespass on  facility grounds during operating
hours or after the facility is closed for the
night. Most state regulations require security
and access control measures such as fences
and gates that can be closed and locked after
hours. Signs should be posted around the
perimeter, with warnings about potential risks
due to falls  and contact with waste. Signs
should be posted in multiple languages in
jurisdictions with high percentages of non-
English-speaking residents.
   Federal Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) regulations require
facilities to provide safe working conditions
for all employees. Although regulations spe-
cific to waste transfer stations  do not currently
exist, general OSHA regulations apply as they
would to any other constructed facility. State,
tribal, and local workplace safety regulations,
which can be more stringent than federal reg-
ulations, also might apply.
   Some state, tribal, or local governments
might require a facility's development permit
to directly address employee and customer
safety. State and tribal solid waste regulations,
for instance, often require  development of
operating plans and contingency plans to
address basic health and safety issues.
Transfer station safety issues are the facility
operator's responsibility.
   This section describes general safety con-
cerns associated with solid waste transfer sta-
tions. A facility must take steps to eliminate or
                38   Transfer Station Design and Operation

reduce risk of injury from many sources,

Improper body position, repetitive motion,
and repeated or continuous exertion of force
contribute to injuries. Both employers and
employees should receive ergonomics training
to reduce the likelihood of injury. Such train-
ing provides guidance on minimizing repeti-
tive motions and heavy lifting and using
proper body positions to perform tasks. At
this time there are no federal ergonomic stan-
dards. A few states, however, do have such
standards under their job safety and health
programs. The Occupational Safety and
Health Administration's Web site  includes a list of states
with such programs and provides links to a
number of these states' Web sites.
Exposure to Potentially Hazardous Equipment
Transfer station employees work in close  prox-
imity to a variety of hazards, including equip-
ment with moving parts, such as conveyor
belts, push blades, balers, and compactors.
Facility operators should develop an employ-
ee equipment orientation program  and estab-
lish safety programs to minimize the risk of
injury from station equipment. Lock-out/tag-
out programs, for example, effectively mini-
mize hazards associated with transfer station
equipment. Staffing the tipping floor with a
"spotter," who directs traffic into and out of
unloading stalls can effectively help members
of the general public avoid dangerous loca-
tions. Transfer station operators might also
require that  children and pets remain inside
vehicles. Posting signs and applying brightly
colored paint or tape to hazards can alert cus-
tomers to potential dangers.

Exposure to Extreme Temperatures
Facilities located in areas of extreme weather
must account for potential impacts  to employ-
ees from prolonged exposure to heat or cold.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are addressed
with proper facility operations, including  good
ventilation inside buildings, access  to water
and shade, and periodic work breaks. Cold
weather is addressed
by proper clothing,
protection from wind
and precipitation, and
access to warming
areas. Extreme tem-
peratures typically
should not pose prob-
lems for customers
because their expo-
sure times are much
less than those of
facility workers.

Controlled, safe traf-
fic flows in and
around the facility
are critical to ensur-
ing employee and
customer safety.
Ideally, a transfer sta-
tion is designed so
traffic from large
collecting vehicles is
kept separate from
self-haulers, who typ-
ically use cars and
pickup trucks. Facility designers should con-
•  Directing traffic flow in a one-way loop
   through the main transfer building and
   around the entire site. Facilities with one-
   way traffic flow have buildings (and some-
   times entire sites) with separate entrances
   and exits. The transfer trailers, in particular,
   are difficult to maneuver and require gentle
   slopes and sufficient turning radii. Ideally,
   these trailers should not have to back up.
•  Arranging buildings and roads on the site
   to eliminate or minimize intersections, the
   need to back up vehicles, and sharp turns.
•  Providing space for vehicles to queue when
   the incoming traffic flow is greater than the
   facility's tipping area can accommodate.
   Sufficient queuing areas should be located
   after the scale house and before the tipping
   area. This is in addition to and separate
           All DfWH
           YARD MAS
Well marked traffic routes can help minimize contact
between commercial and public vehicles.
                                                              Transfer Station Design and Operation

       from any queuing area required before the
       scale house to prevent traffic from backing
       up onto public roads.

     • Providing easily understood and highly
       visible signs, pavement markings, and
       directions from transfer station staff to indi-
       cate proper traffic flow.

     • Providing bright lighting, both artificial
       and natural, inside buildings. Using light-
       colored interior finishes that are easy to
       keep clean is also very helpful. When enter-
       ing a building on a bright day, drivers' eyes
       need time to adjust to the building's darker
       interior. This adjustment period can be dan-
       gerous. Good interior lighting and light-
       colored surfaces can reduce the contrast
       and shorten adjustment time.

     • Providing an area for self-haulers to unload
       separately from large trucks. Typically, self-
       haulers must manually unload the back of
       a pickup truck, car, or trailer. This process
       takes longer than the automated dumping
       of commercial waste collection vehicles and
       potentially exposes the driver to other traf-
       fic. It is often a good idea to provide staff to
       assist the public with safe unloading prac-

     • Requiring facility staff to wear bright or
       conspicuous clothing.

     • Installing backup alarms or cameras and
       monitors on all moving facility equipment,
       and training all vehicle operators in proper
       equipment operations safety.

     Accidental falls are another concern for facility
     employees and customers, especially in facili-
     ties with pits or direct dump designs where
     the drop at the edge of the tipping area might
     be 5 to 15  feet  deep. Facilities with flat tipping
     areas  offer greater safety in terms of reducing
     the height of falls, but they present their own
     hazards. These include standing and walking
     on floor surfaces that could be slick from
     recent waste material and being close to sta-
     tion operating equipment that removes waste
     after each load is dumped. Depending on the
     station design (pit or flat floor), a number of
safety measures should be considered to
reduce the risk of falls.
•  For direct gravity loading of containers by
   citizens, a moderate grade separation will
   reduce the fall distance. For example, some
   facilities place rolloff boxes 8 feet below
   grade to facilitate easy loading of waste
   into the container (so the top of the rolloff
   box is even with the surrounding ground).
   This approach, however, creates an 8-foot
   fall hazard into an empty rolloff box.
   Alternatively, the rolloff box can be set
   about 5 feet below grade, with the sides
   extending about 3 feet above the floor. This
   height allows for relatively easy lifting over
   the box's edge, yet is high enough to reduce
   the chance of accidental falls.
•  For pit-type operations, the pit depth can
   be tapered to accommodate commercial
   unloading at the deep end (typically 8 to 12
   feet) and public unloading at the shallow
   end (3 to 6 feet).
•  Safety barriers such as chains or ropes can
   be installed around the pit edges to prevent
   falls. These barriers might get in the way of
   unloading waste, but they are an essential
   protective measure. The height of these
   restraint systems must allow for the fact
   that many self-haul vehicles (pickup trucks)
   are unloaded by the customer standing in
   the truck bed.
•  Substantial wheel stops can be installed on
   the facility floor to prevent vehicles from
   backing into a pit or bin. Some curbs are
   removable to facilitate cleaning.
•  Locating wheel stops a good distance from
   the edge of the unloading zone ensures that
   self-haul customers will not find them-
   selves dangerously close to a ledge or the
   operating zone for station equipment.
•  To prevent falls due to slipping, the  floor
   should be cleaned regularly and designed
   with a skid-resistant surface. Designers
   need to provide sufficient slope in floors
   and pavements so that they drain readily
   and eliminate standing water. This is espe-
   cially crucial in cold climate areas where
   icing can cause an additional fall hazard.
40   Transfer Station Design and Operation

   Because of transfer stations' large size and
   volume and the constant flow of vehicles, it
   is impractical to design and operate them
   as heated facilities.
•  Use of colored floor coatings (such as bright
   red or yellow) in special hazard zones
   (including the area immediately next to a
   pit) can give customers a strong visual cue.
•  Designing unloading stalls for self-haul
   customers with a generous width (at least
   12 feet) maximizes the separation between
   adjacent unloading operations and reduces
   the likelihood of injury from activity in the
   next stall. For commercial customers, stall
   widths of at least 15 feet are needed to pro-
   vide a similar safety cushion. This is partic-
   ularly necessary where self-haul and
   commercial stalls are located side-by-side.
•  If backing movements are required, design
   the facility so vehicles  back in from the dri-
   ver's side (i.e., left to right) to increase visi-

Unloading areas can have high noise levels
due to the station's operating equipment, the
unloading operation and waste movement,
and customer vehicles. Backup safety alarms
and beepers required on most commercial
vehicles and operating equipment also can be
particularly loud. The noise level also might
cause customers not to hear instructions or
warnings or the noise from an unseen
approaching hazard.
   Designers have limited options for dealing
with the noise problem. The principal way to
reduce the effects of high-decibel noise in
enclosed tipping areas is  to apply a sound-
absorbing finish over some ceiling and wall
surface areas. Typically, spray-on acoustical
coatings are used. These finishes have a draw-
back, however.  They tend to collect dirt and
grime and are hard to keep clean and bright.
Using a rubber shoe on the bottom of waste-
moving equipment buckets and blades and
avoiding use of track-type equipment that
produce high mechanical noise also limits
noise. These approaches,  however, can affect
the transfer system's operational efficiency.
Regardless of which approaches are
employed, transfer station employees exposed
to high levels of noise for prolonged periods
of time should use earplugs or other protec-
tive devices to guard against hearing damage.

Air Quality
Tipping areas often have localized air quality
problems  (dust and odor) that constitute a
safety and health hazard. Dust in particular
can be troublesome, especially where dusty,
dry commercial loads (e.g., C&D wastes) are
tipped. Prolonged exposure to air emissions
from waste and motorized vehicles operating
inside the building provides another potential
health threat to facility employees. Facility air
quality issues can be addressed through a
number of design and operational practices.
These include:
•  Water-based dust suppression (misting or
   spray) systems used to "knock down" dust.
   Different types of systems are available.
   They typically involve a piping system
   with an array of nozzles aimed to deliver a
   fine spray to the area  where dust is likely to
   be generated (e.g., over the surge pit). They
   typically are actuated by station staff "on
   demand" when dust is generated. Dust
   suppression systems can operate using
   water only or can have an injection system
   that mixes odor-neutralizing  compounds
   (usually naturally occurring organic
   extracts) with the water. These dual pur-
   pose systems effectively control both dust
   and odors.
•  Use of handheld hoses to wet down the
   waste where it is being moved or
   processed, typically in a pit. Designers need
   to consider using convenient reel-mount
   hoses for this purpose.
•  Ventilation systems can provide some
   measure of air quality control on a limited
   basis inside enclosed transfer buildings.
   Because these structures generally require
   high roofs and large floor areas, it is usually
   impractical to develop the air velocities
   needed to entrain dust particles. The most
   practical approach is to concentrate the fans
                                                             Transfer Station Design and Operation    41

       and air removal equipment above the
       dustiest and most odor-prone area to create
       a positive flow of air from cleaner areas.
       This approach usually gives the customer
       area some measure of protection. Often, the
       air-handling equipment is designed with
       multiple speed fans and separate fan units
       that can be activated during high dust or
       odor events. Filtering and scrubbing
       exhaust air from transfer stations has so far
       proven difficult and expensive, again due
       to the very large volumes of air that must
       be handled.

     • If employees' direct exposure to harmful
       emissions from vehicles and waste at the
       facility is not sufficiently minimized, respi-
       ratory aids such as  masks might be neces-

     Hazardous Wastes and Materials
     While MSW is generally nonhazardous, some
     potentially hazardous materials such  as pesti-
     cides, bleach, and solvents could be delivered
     to a transfer station. Facility operators should
     ensure that employees are properly trained to
     identify and handle such materials. Some sta-
     tions have a separate household hazardous
waste (HHW) receiving and handling area. If
the transfer station operates a program that
manages HHW, the material is often collected
by appointment only, during designated
hours, or during special single or multiple day
   All transfer stations need to be equipped to
handle the occasional occurrence of hazardous
waste, real or suspected, mixed with other
wastes. Personal protective equipment such as
goggles, gloves, body suits, and respirators
should be on hand and easily accessible to
employees. Because staff or customers might
inadvertently come in contact with a haz-
ardous substance, it is also good practice, and
often required by code, to have special eye-
wash and shower units in the operating areas.
Typically,  the transfer station's operating plan
will outline detailed procedures to guide sta-
tion personnel in identifying and managing
these kinds of wastes. Many stations have a
secure area with primary and secondary con-
tainment barriers near the main tipping area
where suspect wastes can be placed pending
evaluation and analysis. Public education
efforts can reduce the likelihood of hazardous
materials showing up in solid waste.
42   Transfer Station Design and Operation

  Facility    Oversight
his section describes the types of
regulations that generally apply to
transfer stations and addresses typi-
cal regulatory compliance methods.
Applicable Regulations
Transfer stations are affected by a variety of
federal, state, tribal, and local regulations,
including those related to noise, traffic impact
mitigation, land use, workplace safety, taxes,
employee right-to-know, and equal employ-
ment opportunity that are applicable to any
other business  or public operation. Many
jurisdictions also have regulations specifically
applicable to transfer stations. These regula-
tions typically  emphasize the protection of
public health and the environment.
while others require certification of key per-
sonnel. Some states also require compliance
with regional solid waste planning efforts or
demonstrations of "need."
  Appendix A provides a state-by-state
checklist of major transfer station regulatory
issues. Appendix A shows that:
• All but five states require waste transfer
  stations to have some type of permit, per-
  mit-by-rule, or state license to operate.
• All 50 states have at least minimal operat-
  ing standards for waste transfer stations
  either through regulations, statutes, operat-
  ing plans, or construction permits.
• Some states require analysis of transfer sta-
  tion impacts under general environmental
  review procedures.
Federal Regulations
No federal regulations exist that are specifical-
ly applicable to transfer stations. EPA, howev-
er, initiated a rulemaking process exclusively
for marine waste transfer stations under
authority of the Shore Protection Act in 1994.
These rules would regulate vessels  and
marine transfer stations in the U.S.  coastal
waters. EPA is currently working with the U.S.
Coast Guard on finalizing these rules.

State Regulations
State solid waste regulatory programs usually
take primacy in transfer station permitting,
although local zoning and land use require-
ments apply as well. State regulations vary
widely. Some have no regulations specific to
transfer stations; others mention them as a
minor part of regulations that generally apply
to solid waste management; and others have
regulations specifically addressing transfer
station issues such as design standards, oper-
ating standards, and the maximum amount of
time that waste can be left on site. A few states
also require transfer stations to have closure
plans and to demonstrate financial  assurance,
                                  Local Regulations
                                  Local regulation of transfer stations can take
                                  many forms. Typical regulatory bodies include
                                  counties, cities, regional solid waste manage-
                                                     The New Mexico Environment Department
                                                             hereby issues this

                                                    SOLID WASTE FACILITY PERMIT
                                      Facility Type: Transfer Station
                                               and Recycling Facility
                                      Facility Name & Location:
                                      ACME Solid Waste
                                      Transfer & Recycling
                                      Albuquerque, NM
                                      Permit Expiration Date: No vemher 2, 2015
                                   Facility ID No: SWM-071307

                                   Owner's Name & Address:
                                   ACME Solid Waste Authority
                                   180 Yosemite lane
                                   Albuquerque, New Mexico 88001
                                        This permit is issued pursuant to Section 74-9-2O of the Solid
                                        Waste Act and is subject to the condition!! of the Order of the
                                        Secretary, datetl     November 2.	  19  95 .
                                     Given this
                                                day of
                                                                  , 1 9
                                                                          „ 3-Doe^
                                                                         Secretary of Environment
                                  Example of a state issued transfer station facility permit.
                                                                         Facility Oversight   43

     ment authorities, health departments, and air
     pollution control authorities.
       Counties, cities, and regional authorities
     often are required to prepare comprehensive
     solid waste management plans describing
     long-range plans for waste prevention, recy-
     cling, collection, processing (including transfer
     stations), and disposal. Other local regulations
     likely to apply to transfer stations include
     zoning ordinances, noise ordinances, and traf-
     fic impact analysis.
       Public health departments are involved
     with transfer stations because of the potential
     health concerns if solid waste is improperly
     managed. In some states, the state environ-
     mental protection agency delegates authority
     to local health departments to oversee solid
     waste management facilities, including trans-
     fer stations. This typically includes overseeing
     general compliance with a facility's operating
     permit; regular cleaning of the tipping floor;
     limits on the amount of waste the facility can
     accept; and employment of adequate meas-
     ures to prevent vectors such as rats, birds, and
     flies from contacting waste.
       Local or regional air pollution control
     authorities often regulate odor, dust, and vehi-
     cle exhaust emissions at transfer stations. Air
     pollution control agencies might regulate
     chemicals used to control odor, exhaust from
     vents on the facility's roof or walls, and
     whether dusty loads can be delivered to the
     transfer station. The local sanitary district often
     establishes waste water standards and might
     be involved in storm water management and

     Common Regulatory Compliance

     Compliance Inspections
     Many transfer stations are inspected periodi-
     cally for compliance with the transfer station's
     operating permit and other applicable regula-
tions. The entity responsible for performing
inspections and the frequency and level of
detail of inspections vary widely around the
country. Some inspections are complaint driv-
en, some occur on a regular frequency, and
some occur on a random basis. A typical
inspection involves a representative of the
local health department or state or tribal solid
waste regulatory program walking  through
the facility, looking for improper waste stor-
age or handling methods and writing up a
short notice of compliance or noncompliance.

   Other inspections for specific issues are also
conducted. Special inspections might target
workplace safety, proper storm-water runoff
management, and compliance with applicable
roadway weight limits for transport vehicles.

Some transfer station operators are  required to
compile monthly, quarterly, or  annual reports
for submission to regulatory agencies and host
communities. These reports typically include
the following information:

•  Weight (tons) and loads (number of cus-
   tomers) received at the transfer station each
   month. This sometimes includes  details
   such as day of the week, time of  day, type
   of waste, name of hauler, and origin of

•  Weight (tons) and loads (number of transfer
   truck shipments) shipped from the transfer
   station each month. This sometimes
   includes a breakdown by time shipped,
   type of waste, and the final destination of
   the waste.

•  A description of any unusual events that
   took place  at the transfer station, including
   accidents and discoveries of unacceptable

•  A summary of complaints received and the
   actions taken to respond to the complaints.
44   Facility Oversight

Leon County, Florida. Leon County Solid Waste Transfer Station: Noise Study Report. February 2000
Lund, Herbert F. 1992. Solid Waste Handbook. McGraw-Hill Companies.
National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. 2000. A Regulatory Strategy for Siting and
  Operating Waste Transfer Stations, (EPA500-R-00-001). Washington, DC.
Solid Waste Association of North America. 2000. Certification Course Manual: Managing Transfer
  Station Systems. SWANA. Washington, DC.
Tchobauoglous, George, Hilary Theisen, and Samuel A. Vigil. 1993. Integrated Solid Waste
  Management: Engineering Principles and Management Issues. McGraw-Hill Companies.
U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. 2000. Waster Transfer Stations: Involved
  Citizens Make the Difference, (EPA530-K-01-003). Washington, DC.
U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. 1995. Decision-Maker's Guide to Solid
  Waste Management, Second Edition (EPA 530-R-95-023). Washington, DC.
DuPage County Solid Waste Department. 1998. Solid Waste Transfer in Illinois: A Citizen's
  Handbook on Planning, Siting and Technology. Weaver Boos & Gordon, Inc. (For information on
  ordering copies of the DuPage County publication entitled Solid Waste Transfer in Illinois: A
  Citizen's Handbook on Planning, Siting and Technology contact Kevin T. Dixon, Director, Solid
  Waste Department, DuPage County Center, 421 N. Country Farm Road, Wheaton, Illinois
  60187, telephone (630)682-7373.)
                                                                         Resources   45


  Glossary    of   Terms    and
Baler: This technology compresses waste into
high-density, self-contained units (bales) of
either waste or recyclables. Baled waste is
transported on flatbed trailers (as opposed to
transfer trailers) and is most often sent to a
"balefill" that has special equipment (e.g.,
Host community benefits: A transfer station
or landfill operator can offer specific benefits
to the community selected for a proposed
facility. The benefits are listed in a Host
Community Agreement. Benefits can include
cash, free tipping, highway improvements,
and tax reductions.
Buffer zone (also setback): The distance
between the transfer station or roadways and
adjacent properties; often used for screening.

Collection vehicle: Residential collection vehi-
cles include front-loading and rear-loading
garbage trucks, as well as special trucks with
compartments used to pickup source-separat-
ed recyclables. Commercial (businesses), insti-
tutional (hospitals and schools), and industrial
(plants) waste, as well as C&D waste, is often
discarded in rolloff boxes, which are dropped
at the facility and then collected on schedule.

Construction and demolition debris (C&D):
Includes broken concrete, wood waste,
asphalt, rubble. This material can often be sep-
arated for beneficial use.

Convenience center (also citizen's dropoff or
green box): Small transfer facilities used in
low-volume or rural settings. These low-tech-
nology options often use rolloff boxes with an
inclined ramp for cars and pickups. Bins can
be included for recyclables that are source-

Direct haul: The historic practice of sending
collection vehicles (mostly garbage trucks)
directly to the landfill without using transfer
stations. When landfills were close to the
waste sources, a residential collection vehicle
customarily made two trips per day to the
Household hazardous wastes (HHW): HHW
come from residences, are generally produced
in small quantities, and consist of common
household discards such as paints, solvents,
herbicides, pesticides, and batteries.

Loadout: The process of loading outbound
transfer trailers with waste; or loading trucks
with recyclables destined for the market.

Municipal solid waste (MSW): Generally
defined as discards routinely collected from
homes, businesses, and institutions, and the
nonhazardous discards from industries.

Queuing distance: The space provided for
incoming trucks to wait in line.

Source-separated: Recyclables discarded and
collected in containers separate from non-recy-
clable waste. Bins or blue bags are used to
separate residential recyclables; separate boxes
or containers are used for commercial/indus-
trial discards (e.g., corrugated cardboard pack-
aging, wood pallets). Source-separated wastes
usually are delivered to a material recovery

Surge pit: A pit usually made of concrete that
receives waste from the tipping floor. Surge
pits provide more space for temporary storage
at peak times and allow for additional com-
paction of waste before loadout.
                                                        Glossary of Terms and Acronyms   47

     Tipping fee: The unit price charged at the dis-
     posal site or transfer station to accept waste,
     usually expressed as dollars per ton or dollars
     per cubic yard.
Walking floor: A technology built in to light-
weight transfer trailers and used to unload
waste at the disposal site. Moving panels
"walk" the waste out of the trailer bed.
     Tipping floor: The floor of the transfer station
     where waste is unloaded (tipped) for inspec-
     tion, sorting, and loading.

     Tons per day (TPD): The most common unit
     of measurement for waste generation, trans-
     fer, and disposal. Accurate TPD measure-
     ments require  a scale; conversion from "cubic
     yards" without a scale involves estimated
     density factors.
Waste diversion: The process of separating
certain materials at the transfer station to
avoid the cost of hauling and the tipping fee
at the landfill.

Waste screening: Inspecting incoming wastes
to preclude transport of hazardous wastes,
dangerous substances, or materials that are
incompatible with transfer station or landfill
48   Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

  Appendix   A:    State   Transfer
  Station   Regulations
         The table starting on page A-2 is
         designed to serve as a quick refer-
         ence guide and comparative index
         of all state transfer station regula-
         tions. Almost all of these regula-
tions are available over the Internet, and the
URLs are provided at the end of this section.
Permit Requirements. Nearly all states require
transfer facilities to obtain a permit before
beginning operations. The vast majority of
states issue standard permits after a transfer sta-
tion's application has been reviewed and
approved. A few states have permit-by-rule pro-
visions, which allow transfer stations to forego
the application process by demonstrating com-
pliance with a set of designated standards. Of
the states not requiring permits for transfer sta-
tions, about half require the facility to register
with the state prior to beginning operation.
Siting Requirements. Siting requirements
refer to any additional regulatory require-
ments beyond relevant and applicable state or
local zoning requirements or conditions. Siting
requirements could include prohibitions
against siting in or near wetlands, flood
plains, endangered species habitats, airports,
or other protected sites.
Design Standards. Nearly all states have at
least minimal design criteria for transfer sta-
tions. These requirements typically set stan-
dards for waste receiving areas and
waste-storage areas that include building
structural features, access control, vector con-
trol, and dust and odor controls.
Operational Standards. These standards estab
lish how the transfer station will be run and
how wastes will be handled. Standards often
include hours of operation, safety issues, litter
control, dust and odor control, disease vector
control, facility cleaning/sanitation practices,
waste removal, traffic control, and contingencies.
Operator Certification. Only five states have
mandatory operator certification for transfer
station operators (Arkansas, New Hampshire,
New Mexico, New York, and Ohio). Other
state regulations stipulate that a transfer sta-
tion operator must be a "qualified solid waste
manager" but do not have requirements for
any specific type of certification.
Storage Restrictions. Many states have estab-
lished time limits on how long waste may
remain in a transfer station. Storage time
restrictions vary from state to state, and some-
times even within a state, depending upon the
size of the transfer station.
Recordkeeping Requirements. The majority
of states require a transfer station to maintain
onsite records of all incoming and outgoing
waste as well as copies of the facility permit,
operating plan, contingency plan, and proof of
financial assurance, when such things are
Reporting Requirements. Many states require
transfer stations to submit reports at least
annually to the state environmental agency.
These reports often include information such as
the name and location of the transfer station,
the amounts and types of waste accepted, and
the source and final destination of this waste.
Monitoring Requirements. Monitoring refers
to any surface water, soil, or air compliance
monitoring that a transfer station may be
required to perform by its state.
Closure Requirements. Closure requirements
include standards or timetables for removing
wastes and cleaning the transfer station site
after the facility stops receiving waste and per-
manently ends operations. Most states with
closure requirements require transfer stations
to remove all wastes and close the facility in a
manner that eliminates any threats to human
health and the environment and minimizes
the need for further maintenance.
Financial Assurance Requirements. Some states
require transfer stations to demonstrate that they
have sufficient funds to properly close the facili-
ty when it ceases operation. Financial assurance
mechanisms often include trust funds, insurance
policies, letters of credit, or other financial tests.
                                                 Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations   A-1

State Transfer Station Regulations

State            Regulation
Permit           Siting           Design
Requirements    Requirements    Standards
Operational      Operator
Standards       Certification






Idaho (current
Idaho (proposed



Reg. 22,
Chapter 9
Title 14
Article 6
6 CCR 1007-2
22a-209 RCSA
Delaware S.W.
Regs., Section 1 0
Rule 62-701-
Chapter 391-

Title II,
Chapt. 58.1
IDAPA 58.0 1.06

IAC Title 35,
Subtitle G,
Chapter I,
Subchapter I,
Part 807,
Subparts A&B
329 IAC 1 1
IAC 567
Chapter 100
KAR 28-29
No - But must
self -certify or
notify state2




Yes - Permit-by-
rule, must notify
Yes - Conditional
use permit


















No (Yes)6









No (Yes)











                 A-2   Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations

Yes - 24 hours
Yes - No extended
storage of
Yes - 48 hours for
facilities; within 7
days for operations3
Yes - No overnight
storage on tipping
Yes - 48 hours
Yes - 72 hours, all
overnight storage in

No (Yes)
Yes - Remove next
day (except on
weekends and
Yes - 72 hours
Yes - Loaded into
transfer vehicle
next day



No (Yes)

Yes - periodic


Yes - Annual,
by June 30
No (Yes)
Yes - Annual, by
January 31 and
quarterly tonnage
Yes - Annual, by
March 1



Possible - State may
require post-closure

Possible - At state's





Yes - At state




Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations    A-3

Regulation       Permit            Siting            Design
                 Requirements     Requirements     Standards
                                                    Operational       Operator
                                                    Standards        Certification
401 KAR47
Yes - Registered    Yes



New Hampshire

New Jersey
New Mexico
New York

LAC 33: VII Yes
Subpart I
ME SW Mgt. Yes
Rules Chapter
Title 26 Yes
Chapter 07
310 CMR 16.00 Yes
& 19.00
MAC R299, Yes
Chapter 7035 Yes
Section V Yes
10CSR80-5 Yes
ARM Title 1 7 Yes
Chapter 50,
Sub-Chapters 4
and 5
Title 132 Yes
MAC 444.666 No7
NHCAR Env- Yes
Wm Chapters
RSA 149M
NJAC 7:26 Yes
20 NMAC 9.1 Yes
Part 360




Yes - Must
perform an EHIS
















North Carolina
NCAC Title 15A,  Yes
Subchapter 13B
                   A-4    Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations

Yes - Annual,
by August 1
Yes - Annual,
by October 3 1
                                                              Monitoring          Closure
                                                              Requirements       Requirements
                                                              Possible - At state's   Yes



Yes - No overnight     No
storage, unless in

Yes - no              Yes
accumulation of
odor-causing wastes

Yes - No overnight,    No
unless in closed

Yes - 1 week if in      Yes
leak-and vector-
proof container or

Yes - Waste           Yes
removed at least
once per week

Yes - No              Yes
putrescibles longer
than 24 hours

Yes - waste           No
containers emptied
at least once a
1 week or before
producing an odor

Yes - No              Yes
overnight storage

Yes - <250 yards3,     Yes
every other day;
>250 yards3, no
overnight storage

Yes - When all         Yes
containers full or
7 days

No                  No
Yes - Annual
Yes - Annual,
by February 1
Yes - Annual,          No
by April 1
Possible - At state's    Yes
Yes - Monthly

Yes - Annual,
within 45 days of
end of calendar

No                  No

No - But must         Yes
groundwater will
be protected

Yes                  Yes
Possible - At state's    No
Possible - At state's

Yes - 72 hours
after acceptance
Yes - Remove
putrescibles within
Yes - Annual,
by March 3 1

                     Possible - At state's

                                                              Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations   A-5

North Dakota

Rhode Island

South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia
Article 33-20
OAC 252:520
OAR Chapter
340, Division 96
25 PA Code
Chapt. 271,279
Solid Waste
Regulation No.1
Chapter 61,
Part 8 (61-1 07.7)
Article 74:27
1200- 1-7
30 TAC,
Chapter 330
Chapter 6
Title 9 VAC
WAC 1 73-304
33 CSR 1


Possible8 -
Yes - Permit-



Possible - at
state's discretion





NR 502.07        Yes
3292 Chapter 6    Yes
 A-6   Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations


Yes - Must be in
covered container
or building if stored
longer than 12 hours

Yes - 24 hours
(48 hours with

Yes - 24 hours
(up to 72 over

Yes - Remove
combustible SW
within 48 hours

Yes - Remove
putrescibles w/in
24 hours



Yes - 7 days

Yes - Remove
waste from tipping
floor by end of
operating day

Yes - Remove
waste at end of
work day


Yes - Remove
waste at end of
day/not more than
24 hours

Yes - 24 hours
(with some



Possible - At state's














Yes - Annual, by
April 1
Yes - Monthly,
by the 10th of
each month

Possible - At state's

Yes - Annual,
by June 30



Yes - Annual,
by March 1

Yes - Monthly
tonnage reports;
and annual by
January 31



Possible - At state's

Possible - At state's

Possible - At state's












Yes - Annual,
by March 1
Yes - Quarterly




Possible - At state's   Yes

Possible - At state's   Yes


Yes - Though state
may wave if


Yes - If facility has
storage capacity of





                    Possible - At state's

                                                             Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations   A-7


1. Arizona currently does not have regulations gov-
   erning waste transfer stations, but the Arizona
   Revised Statutes (ARS) have requirements that
   govern these facilities. The information in this
   matrix reflects these statutory requirements found
   at ARS 49-762.
2. In Arizona transfer stations that receive greater
   than 180 cubic yards/day must self-certify and
   demonstrate that the facility is in compliance with
   state rules. Transfer stations receiving less than
   180 cubic yards/day must notify the state prior to
   commencement of operations and operate in
   accordance with state BMPs.
3. California classifies a transfer station as a facility if
   it receives greater than 60 cubic yards or 15 tons
   of waste per day or as an operation if it receives
   less than 60 cubic yards or 15 tons of waste  per
4. While Colorado  does not require a permit for
   transfer stations, the local governing body  (county
   or municipal government) may.
5. Idaho has proposed a three-tiered system based
   upon the type of waste handled at a facility. This
   matrix assumes a solid waste transfer station
   would be considered a Tier II facility.
6. Illinois does not have explicit design, operating,
   storage, recordkeeping, or reporting requirements
   in its regulations. The state establishes these stan-
   dards for each facility by requiring a facility to
   demonstrate in its permit application that it will
   meet specific standards. The Illinois regulations
   require a facility to provide to the state all the
   information requested in its permit application and
   once the permit is approved to comply with the
   terms of its permit.
7. While no permit is required in Nevada, a facility
   must submit and have approved by the state an
   application to build or modify a transfer station
   prior to any action being taken.
8. In Tennessee transfer stations that compact or
   otherwise process waste are considered "process-
   ing facilities" and are subject to the permit-by-rule
   requirements. If no processing occurs at a transfer
   station, then the facility is not subject to permit-
   ting.  Tennessee currently has rule amendments
   under review which would make all transfer sta-
   tions subject to the permit-by-rule standards. The
   responses in this appendix apply  to permit-by-rule
9. While Utah does not require a transfer station to
   obtain a permit, it does require a transfer station
   to get a plan approval. In a plan approval, the
   operator states how the facility will meet the
   transfer station guidelines found in the solid waste
Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations

Web  Addresses for  State Transfer
Station Regulations
  Note: Chapter 420-3-5: Solid Waste
  Collection and Transportation Rules contain
  regulations governing transfer stations but
  are not available on Alabama Public Health
  Web site .
Arizona: Arizona Administrative Code
  . Applicable statutes are
  located at 
Connecticut: Regulations are not yet available
  on the Internet (as of 11/3/00).
Delaware:  (See
  Division of Air and  Waste Management
  /Solid Waste Management Program/ Solid
  Waste  Regulations.)
Idaho:   or
   - Idaho has proposed new
  solid waste management rules, which will
  include additional requirements for transfer
  stations. See  - Select
  Bulletin 99-8, Vol. 1.
Maryland: <
Montana: .
New Hampshire: 
New Jersey: 
New Mexico: 
New York: 
North Carolina: 
North Dakota: 
                                                       Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations   A-9

       Rhode Island: 
       South Carolina: 
       South Dakota: 
West Virginia: 
A-10   Appendix A: State Transfer Station Regulations