United States
Environmental Protection
Waste Transfer Stations:
A Manual for Decision-Making

       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.
                                              Acknowledgements  i

Introduction	1
   What Are Waste Transfer Stations?	1
   Why Are Waste Transfer Stations Needed?	2
   Why Use Waste Transfer Stations?	3
   Is a Transfer Station Right for Your Community?	4

Planning and Siting a Transfer Station	7
   Types of Waste Accepted	7
   Unacceptable Wastes	7
   Public Versus Commercial Use	8
   Determining Transfer Station Size and Capacity	8
      Number and Sizing of Transfer Stations	10
      Future Expansion	11
   Site Selection	11
      Environmental Justice Considerations	11
   The Siting Process and Public Involvement	11
   Siting Criteria	14
      Exclusionary Siting Criteria	14
      Technical Siting Criteria	15
      Developing Community-Specific Criteria	17
      Applying the Committee's Criteria	18
      Host Community Agreements	18

Transfer  Station Design and Operation	21
   Transfer Station Design	21
      How Will  the Transfer Station Be Used?	21
      Site Design Plan	21
      Main Transfer Area Design	22
      Types of Vehicles That Use a Transfer Station	23
      Transfer Technology	25
   Transfer Station Operations	27
      Operations and Maintenance Plans	27
      Facility Operating Hours	32
      Interacting With the Public	33
      Waste Screening	33
      Emergency Situations	34
      Recordkeeping	35
   Environmental Issues	37
      Traffic	38
      Noise	39
      Odors..                                                            ..40

           Air Emissions	41
           Storm Water Quality	41
           Vectors	43
           Litter	43
       Safety Issues	44
           Exposure to Potentially Hazardous Equipment	45
           Personal Protective Equipment	45
           Exposure to Extreme Temperatures	45
           Traffic	45
           Falls	46
           Noise	47
           Air Quality	47
           Hazardous Wastes and Materials	48
           Ergonomics	48

    Facility Oversight	49
       Applicable Regulations	49
           Federal Regulations	49
           State Regulations	49
           Local Regulations	49
       Common Regulatory Compliance Methods	50
           Compliance Inspections	50
           Reporting	50

    Resources  	 51

    Glossary of Terms and Acronyms	53

    Appendix	A-1
iv   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.
  In 1993, the National Environmental Justice
Advisory Council (NEJAC) was formed to
"provide independent advice, consultation,
and recommendations to EPA on matters relat-
ed to environmental justice." The Waste and
Facility Siting Subcommittee, one of NEJAC's
six subcommittees, received numerous com-
ments from citizens of several major metropol-
itan areas concerning the negative impacts of
waste transfer stations and their dispropor-
tionate siting in low-income communities and
communities of color. The Subcommittee, with
support from EPA,  formed the Waste Transfer
Station Working Group in 1998 to investigate
these comments. The Working Group
arranged two fact-finding sessions in New
York City and Washington, DC,  during
November 1998 and February 1999 respective-
ly. These sessions were each two-day events
consisting of a day  of tours of area waste
transfer stations  and a second day of public
meetings. Based  upon these two fact-finding
sessions, the Working Group in March 2000
published the draft report, A Regulatory
Strategy for Siting and Operating Waste Transfer
Stations. This report made several recommen-
dations to EPA concerning proper and equi-
table siting and operation of transfer stations.
In response in to this report, EPA has devel-
oped this manual and its companion publica-
tion Waste Transfer Stations: Involved Citizens
Make the Difference (EPA530-K-01-003).
  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. It is designed
to assist facility owners and operators; state,
local, and tribal environmental managers; and
the public evaluate and choose protective
practices for siting, designing, and operation
of municipal  solid waste transfer stations. 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-
ter/a/ view of a totally enclosed transfer station.
                                                                          Introduction  1

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
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. While these
sites are not considered transfer stations with-
in the context of this manual, it is important to
note that heavily used  convenience centers can
face similar concerns as transfer stations (e.g.,
litter, road access, vehicle queuing, storm
water run on and run off). Consequently, it
may be appropriate to  consider implementing
some of the concepts and practices advocated
in this manual at these sites. Many communi-
ties 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. Consequently,
the concepts and practices in this manual can
be applied to MRFs as well.
   Aggressive community source reduction
and recycling programs can substantially
reduce the amount of waste destined for long
haul transfer and disposal. If these reductions
are significant enough, a community may find
that fewer or smaller transfer stations can
meet its needs.

Why Are Waste  Transfer Stations
The nationwide trend in solid waste disposal
has been toward construction of larger, more
remote, regional landfills. Economic consid-
erations, 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 land-
fills. These new standards include design,
operating, and monitoring requirements that
significantly add to construction, operating,
closure, and post-closure monitoring costs.
As older landfills near urban centers reach
capacity and begin closing, cities must
decide whether to construct new landfills or
to seek other disposal options. Many com-
munities find the cost of upgrading existing
facilities or  constructing new landfills to be
prohibitively high, and opt to close existing
facilities. For these communities, transferring
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-
         Figure 1.
         Sample Comparison of Hauling Costs With
         and Without a Transfer Station
                                               Haul cost with
                                               transfer station
        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.
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.
   In addition, a transfer station also provides:
•  An opportunity to screen waste prior to dis-
                                                                                  Introduction  3

                     • Flexibility in selecting waste disposal
                     • An opportunity to serve as a convenience
                       center for public use.
                       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.,
                     hazardous wastes or materials, 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 recycling
                     markets,  might generate revenue. Screening for
                     inappropriate wastes is more efficient at the
                     transfer station than the landfill.
                       Waste transfer stations also offer more flexi-
                     bility in terms of disposal options. Decision-
                     makers have the opportunity to select the
                     most cost-effective and/or environmentally
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)
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.

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 plan-
ning, siting, designing, and operating costs
against the savings the transfer station might
generate from reduced hauling costs. To assist
in making this determination, public and  pri-
vate decision-makers often employ third-party
solid waste experts. These experts are familiar
with both the technical and regulatory issues
that must be addressed in developing a suc-
cessful waste transfer station. It may be help-
ful 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  transfer station plans be certi-
fied by a professional engineer. Again, this
engineer should be an experienced solid waste
professional. Complex projects might also
require the assistance of architects, geotechni-
cal 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 collection vehicle onto the
transfer vehicle is $10 before the hauling vehi-
cle leaves the transfer station. This is the cost
per ton to build, operate, and maintain 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
  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.
                                                                                 Introduction   5

  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,
  radioactive materials).
  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   7

•  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.
•  They might be so large that they could
   damage trucks or equipment during waste
   loading operations.

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.
Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

•  Expected increases in tonnage delivered
   during the life of the facility. For example,
   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 approach to estimating the
required tipping floor space is to begin with a
base area of 4,000 square feet and add to it 20
square feet for each ton of waste received in a
day (assuming the waste will be temporarily
piled 6 feet high on the tipping floor).1 For
example, if the facility receives 100 tons of
waste per day, a tipping floor space of 6,000
square feet would be required (i.e., 4,000 ft2 +
(100 TPD x 20 ftYton) = 6,000 ft2) "Chapter 4:
Collection and Transfer" in EPA's Decision
Maker's Guide to Solid Waste Management also
provides a series of formulas for helping deter-
mine transfer station capacity These formulas
are presented in the box below.
   Formulas for Determining Transfer Station Capacity

   Stations with Surge Pits
   Based on rate at which wastes can be unloaded from collection vehicles:
     C = Pc x (L / W) x (60 x Hw / Tc) x F

   Based on rate at which transfer trailers are loaded:
     C = (Pt x N x 60 x Ht) / (Tt + B)

   Direct Dump Stations
     C = Nn x Pt x F x 60 x Hw / [(Pt/Pc) x (W/l_n) x Tc] + B

   Hopper  Compaction Stations
     C = (Nn x Pt x F x 60 x Hw) / (Pt/Pc x Tc) + B

   Push Pit Compaction Stations
     C = (Np x Pt x F x 60 x Hw) / [(Pt/Pc) x (W/Lp) x Tc] + BC + B

   C    Station capacity (tons/day)
   PC   Collection vehicle payloads (tons)
   L     Total length of dumping space (feet)
   W   Width of each dumping space (feet)
   Hyy  Hours per day that waste is delivered
   T^   Time to unload each collection vehicle (minutes)
   F     Peaking factor (ratio of  number of collection vehicles received during
        an average 30-minute period to the number received during a peak
        30-minute period)
   Pt    Transfer trailer payload  (tons)
   N    Number of transfer trailers loading simultaneously
   Ht   Hours per day used to  load trailers (empty trailers must be available)
   B     Time to remove and replace each loaded trailer (minutes)
   Tt    Time to load each transfer trailer (minutes)
   Nn   Number of hoppers
   Ln    Length of each hopper
   Lp    Length of each push pit (feet)
   Np   Number of push pits
   Bc    Total cycle time for clearing each push pit and compacting waste into

   Source: Decision-Makers Guide to Solid Waste Management, Secon Edition
   (EPA530-R-95-023), p. 4-23.
1  Solid Waste Association of North America. 2001. Transfer Systems Management Training Course. SWANA. Washington,
                                                                 Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

Queuing 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.
                     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.
                     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.
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.
   In urban or subur-
ban areas, the same
situations exist. A
midsize city (popula-
tion 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 dis-
tances are considered. When deciding which
approach is best for a community, issues to
consider include the impacts the transfer sta-
tion^) will have on the surrounding area, sit-
ing complications, 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 operational
costs. Centralizing waste transfer operations
allows communities to reduce equipment, con-
struction, waste handling, and transportation
costs. The siting of a single facility may often
prove easier than siting multiple facilities.
Large facilities are also conducive to barge or
rail operations that can further decrease traffic-
related impacts on the community. Along relat-
ed lines, however, a major drawback to
building a single large facility is locating a tract
of land that adequately meets facility require-
ments. Large facilities also tend to concentrate
impacts to a single area, which can create the
perception of inequity, especially when one
neighborhood 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 addi-
tional 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
                10   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

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
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.
Environmental Justice Considerations
During the site selection process, steps should
be taken to ensure that siting decisions are not
imposing a disproportionate burden upon
low-income or minority communities.
Overburdening a community with negative
impact facilities can create health, environ-
mental, and quality of living concerns. It can
also have a negative economic impact by low-
ering property values and hindering commu-
nity revitalization plans. These are just a few
of the reasons environmental justice concerns
need to be addressed when selecting a site for
a waste transfer station.

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
   Maximizing Public Committee  Participation

      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.
                                                                Planning and Siting a Transfer Station    11

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.
                     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. Two other EPA documents, Sites
                     for Our Solid Waste: A Guidebook for Effective
                     Public Involvement (EPA 530-SW-90-019) and
                     RCRA Public Participation Manual (EPA530-R-
                     96-007), provide further information and
examples of how to integrate public participa-
tion into the waste management facility siting
and development process. Following are some
general guidelines for developing and imple-
menting a siting process that is open to and
integrates meaningful public input.
   For publicly developed transfer stations, a
good first step by public officials in the site
selection process is establishing a siting com-
mittee. The committee's main responsibility
includes developing criteria to identify and
evaluate potential sites. The committee should
consist of key individuals who represent vari-
ous stakeholder interests. 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 trans-
fer station. In addition, committee  representa-
tion 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
                        McMaster Institute of Environment and Health, "Psychological Impacts of the Landfill Siting Process in Two
                        Southern Ontario Communities."
                12   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 necessi-
   ty in transfer stations. Sloped floors with  posi-
   tive drainage are also important. 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.

                Transfer station structures can experience substantial vibra-
                tions from heavy equipment used to compact and load
                waste into the transfer vehicles. Concrete and steel floors, pil-
                lars, and other building reinforcements must be designed  to
                accommodate these high levels of vibration. Older buildings
                not designed for this heavy  use often can not meet these

                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
                                                                     Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

Community Involvement in Privately Developed Facilities
 In the past, privately developed facilities have not generally
Iformed 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 credibility, 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.
                     potential for certain individuals or interest
                     groups to dominate the process, and to
                     encourage active participation by all stake-
                     holders throughout the process.
                        During the siting committee's first meeting,
                     individual duties, group responsibilities, and
                     process issues need to be addressed.
                     Expectations and limitations of the committee
                     need to be clearly communicated and might
                     be summarized in mission statements. Rules
                     for discourse, and a schedule and procedures
                     for final decision-making, should be deter-
                     mined 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-
                                                                    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
                                                                    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 incorpo-
                                                                    rate special engineering design and construc-
                                                                    tion techniques. Even when siting in excluded
                14   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

zones is allowed, the added engineering
designs or strong public opposition can signifi-
cantly increase construction costs. In general, it
is best to avoid siting in these areas. Exclusion-
ary 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 con-
   venient access to truck routes, major arteri-
   als,  and highways (or rail or barge access,
   if appropriate). For large metropolitan
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.
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 prefer-
able to avoid rout-
ing traffic through
residential areas
because traffic
generated by
transfer stations
contributes to con-
gestion; increased
risk to pedestrians;
increased air emis-
sions, noise, and
Requiring Minimum Distance
Between Transfer  Stations
Iommunities with a waste transfer station
clustering problem might consider requiring
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.
                                                                   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station   15

                         wear on roads; and might contribute to lit-
                         ter 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
Many transfer stations are multi-level facilities that allow vehicle access at several
  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 capabilities for recycling
  and diversion. It is  frequently less expen-
  sive to expand an existing transfer station
  than to develop a new site due to the ability
  to use existing 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.
• 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
                  16   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

from the lower parts. Sites with steep
slopes might require extra costs associated
with earthmoving and retaining walls.
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 off site treatment.
Zoning Designations and Requirements:
Zoning ordinances frequently classify trans-
fer stations as industrial uses, which limits
their siting to areas  zoned for industry  usu-
ally in conjunction with a special use per-
mit. Exclusive use of predetermined land
use criteria, how-
ever, might result
in locating transfer
stations in areas
already overbur-
dened with indus-
tries or clustering
of these types of
facilities in areas
adjacent to poor
and minority com-
munities. If local
zoning ordinances
are so restrictive
that they disallow
facility siting out-
side pre-estab-
lished  industrial
zones, substantial
engineering and
design must be
incorporated into
the facility to mini-
mize impacts on
the surrounding
                     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 air
                     •  Impact on the local infrastructure.
                     •  Adjacent land uses, including other envi-
                        ronmental stressors that might already
                     •  Proximity to schools, churches, recreation
                        sites, and residences.
Using CIS to Narrow the  Search

A    geographic information system (CIS) is a com-
    puter system capable of assembling, storing,
manipulating, and displaying geographically refer-
enced information (data identified according to
location). After the data are entered, each positive
  Wetland Resource Map
     Tampa Bay Florida

     Marine and Estuarine Deepwater Habitats
     Deepwater Lakes and Rivers
     Estuarine Marshes and Aquatic Beds
     Tidal Flats
     Estuarine Forested Wetlands
     Palustrine Forested Wetlands
     Inland Marshes and Aquatic Beds
   H Palustrine Scrub/Shrub
   13 Open Water
   — Major Roads
attribute or exclusionary criteria for siting transfer
stations 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.
                                                                Planning and Siting a Transfer Station   17

     • Prevailing winds.
     • Number of residences impacted.
     • Presence of natural buffers.
     • Impacts on existing businesses.
     • Expansion
     • Buffer zones and screening measures.
     • Traffic compatibility.
     • Impact on historic or cultural features.
     • Impact on neighborhood character.

     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 plot-
     ted  on maps, which helps the committee visu-
     alize where the facility cannot be sited due to
     local, state, and federal regulations. Once
     unsuitable areas  are eliminated, the commit-
     tee's technical criteria and community-specific
     criteria are applied to all remaining options.
     Information for each potential site should be
     developed so the committee can rank the sites.
     Based on the committee's ranking, the top two
     to four sites should undergo more rigorous
     analysis to determine technical feasibility and
     compliance with the environmental and com-
     munity objectives.
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
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, oversight provisions,  and other
services and benefits that the immediate com-
munity will receive. Provisions might include
the following:
•  Steps to reduce negative environmental
   impacts in the immediate area, such as
   committing to the use of low emission or
   alternative fueled vehicles, or retrofitting
   vehicles with particulate filters.
•  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
   facilities, or the use of video monitoring.
•  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.
18   Planning and Siting a Transfer Station

•  Funding for road or utility improvements.
•  Provisions for an environmental education
•  Financial support for other community
   based activities.

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
proactive response to evolving issues. The pro-
visions or amenities in a host community
agreement generally are in addition to what
state and local standards or regulations require,
and thus should not be thought of as substi-
tutes for adequate facility design and opera-
tion. The same is true  for state, tribal or local
government compliance enforcement. The gov-
ernment agency responsible for  transfer station
compliance also should make a  commitment  to
the community concerning its role in actively
and effectively enforcing all requirements.
                                                                Planning and Siting a Transfer Station   19

  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? If access will not be limited,
  how will citizen traffic be separated from
  commercial traffic to ensure safe and effi-
  cient unloading?
• 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
Two other factors to consider when develop-
ing a transfer station's design include:
• How will environmental impacts to the sur-
  rounding area be minimized? (Ways to min-
  imize environmental impacts on the
  community are discussed in the
  Environmental Issues section beginning on
  page 33.)
• How will employee health and safety be
  ensured? (The Safety Issues section begin-
  ning on page 40 discusses several design
  features, technologies, and operational
  practices to help protect the health and
  safety protection of facility employees.)

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
  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  21

Figure 2
Transfer Station Site Plan (500 TPD)
                      • 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.
                      • 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.
                 22   Transfer Station Design and Operation

   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
   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
   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
Figure 3
Main Transfer Building Floor Plan
      ^ TRANSFER" 1   I    1 ~ ,
      f TRAILER  II
    a     :J]L:|::i-:|
 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
                                                   -UNLOADING STALL
                                                               Transfer Station Design and Operation   23

 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. Another alternative is hosing down dirt areas dur-
 ing operating hours. The use of drop boxes requires a concrete or
 asphalt pad. Ideally, the facility is surrounded by a fence and gated.
                                          The gate should
                                          be locked during
                                          hours to keep out
                                          large vectors, tres-
                                          passers, 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 arrangements ideal  for unmanned or remote
transfer stations. If desired, or required by state, tribal, or local
regulations, leachate collection tanks also can be installed onsite.
Partially covered rural facility.
An example of a modular, self-contained waste transfer sys-
tem. Source: Haul-All Equipment Systems. 1999. Reprinted by
permission of Haul-All Equipment Systems.
                          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.
                  24   Transfer Station Design and Operation

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.
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
A collection vehicle dumps its load onto the tipping floor.
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
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   25

 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
                                                                                                                TRANSFER TRAILER

                                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 FLOOR
                                                                                             TRANSFER TRAILER
                 PRECOMPACTOR SYSTEM
                                 WASTE T.OQ-
                             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).
                                                             TIPPING FLOOR
                             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
                    26    Transfer Station Design and Operation

advantages and disadvantages of each method.
Figure 4 shows simple diagrams of the various
transfer methods described in this manual.
   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
   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 station's abili-
ty to handle peak waste delivery periods.
   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 summa-
rizes the advantages
and disadvantages of
the various transfer
technologies. Some
transfer stations use a
combination of tech-
nologies to mitigate
some of the disadvan-
tages of a particular
design. For example,
large transfer stations
might have a top-
loading system as a backup in case the pre-
load 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 opera-
tions issues and suggests operational practices
intended to minimize the facility's impact on
its host community. Issues covered include:
•  Operations and maintenance plans.
•  Facility operating hours.
•  Interacting with the public.
•  Waste screening.
•  Emergency situations.
•  Recordkeeping.

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
A trailer tipper emptying a transfer trailer at a waste
disposal facility.
                                                              Transfer Station Design and Operation   27

       Table 1
       Advantages and Disadvantages of  Different Transfer Technologies
       Waste Storage Alternatives

       Technology          Advantages
       Direct dump into
       transfer vehicle or
       storage container
Simple arrangement; little potential for
equipment breakdown.

Low capital cost.

Potentially less housekeeping: no tipping floor,
pit, or compaction equipment to clean and

Much smaller building footprint possible,  but
advantage might be decreased by need for
large yard space for queuing.
Transfer station cannot accept waste unless
a trailer is positioned to receive waste. (Short-
age of empty trailers shuts down facility.)

No short-term storage (surge capacity) to accom-
modate peak inflow periods. Unless many unload-
ing stalls are provided, long customer queuing
can be expected during peak inflow periods.

Relatively low payloads in trailers.

Fall hazard.

Limited ability to screen and remove
unacceptable wastes.

No opportunity for waste diversion or materials

Generally not suitable for receiving loads from
large roll-offs or large packer trucks.

Trailers can be damaged by direct dumping of
heavy materials.
Most suitable for small transfer
stations in rural and tribal settings
with a relatively short haul distance
to the waste disposal site.

Frequently used in conjunction with
bins for source-separated recyclables.
       Tipping floor          Simple arrangement; little potential for
       waste storage         equipment breakdown.

                            Generally  less expensive and provides
                            more operational flexibility than pits.

                            Storage provides "disconnect" between waste
                            receipts and waste loading. (Shortage of
                            empty trailers does not shut down facility.)

                            Allows for easy screening and removal of
                            unacceptable wastes.
                                               Garbage on tipping floor can be messy and
                                               slippery (fall hazard).

                                               Potential for accidents between customers
                                               and transfer station mobile equipment
                                               (e.g., wheel loader) that moves/stacks
                                               waste (safety issue).

                                               Requires roll-out space for trucks to pull
                                               forward when discharging their loads.

                                               Equipment is needed to reload the waste
                                               into the transfer trailer.
                                                Suitable for small and large transfer
                                                stations; can manage nearly all waste

                             Allows for the breaking up of bulky items and
                             the compacting of waste to increase density
                             for more economical shipping.
                                                                     Requires additional fire control equipment (e.g.,
                                                                     fire hoses, water cannon) to control fires in waste
                                                                     piles on tipping floor
       Surge pit
                      Storage provides "disconnect" between waste
                      receipts and waste loading. (Shortage of empty
                      trailers does not shut down facility.)

                      Allows for the breaking up of bulky items and
                      the compacting of waste to increase density
                      for more economical shipping.

                      No roll-out space required for unloading vehicles;
                      waste falls from back of truck into pit.

                      Eliminates potential for  collision between
                      transfer station equipment and customers.
                                                Expensive to construct.

                                                Fall hazard for people and vehicles.

                                                Hazards to equipment operator working in pit
                                                when waste is being unloaded by customers.

                                                Can be difficult to remove unacceptable waste
                                                found in the pit.

                                                Extra building level (three stories instead of two)
                                                might increase overall height of building above
                                                grade, increasing building profile.

                                                Equipment is needed to reload the waste
                                                into the transfer trailer.

                                                Requires additional fire control equipment (e.g.,
                                                fire hoses, water cannon) to control fires in waste
                                                piles in surge pit.
                                                Most suitable for large transfer
                                                stations with high peak flows.
       Transfer Container and Vehicle Loading Alternatives

       Technology           Advantages
Top-loading trailers
and containers
Simple, gravity-loaded method.

Might be supplemented with compaction by
using equipment that reaches into the top of
the trailer to tamp down and level the load.

Suitable for a wide range of waste types,
including construction debris and bulky
Generally involves imperfect, permeable
closure (screen or tarp) on top of trailer. Odors
and litter can escape, and precipitation can
make the load heavier.

Trailers can be damaged when dense or sharp
materials fall into an empty trailer.

Sound of waste falling into trailers can be noisy.
Suitable for small and large transfer

       Transfer Container and Vehicle Loading Alternatives (cont.)

       Technology          Advantages
       Compaction into      A trailer or container can be completely
       trailer and            closed to prevent rainwater entry and odor
       container             and liquid from escaping.

                            Compaction usually achieves high densities.
                                               A heavy trailer or container decreases
                                               effective payload. (Trailer must be structurally
                                               reinforced to withstand the pressure of the

                                               Capital cost of trailer fleet is greater.

                                               Tail end of trailer or container (near compactor)
                                               tends to become overloaded. Front end of
                                               trailer tends to be light. Rear axle loading tends
                                               to limit effective payload.

                                               Hydraulic power equipment for compactor can
                                               be noisy.
                                                Not commonly used for new transfer
       Preload compaction   Allows use of lightweight trailer or container
       into rear-loading
       trailer or container
to increase effective payload.

Trailer or container can be completely closed
to prevent rainwater entry and odor and
liquid from escaping.

Payload can be measured as it is compacted,
with ability to optimize each payload.
High capital costs (but can be offset by
reduced transportation costs).

Relatively complex equipment; when it breaks
down, can shut down transfer station after
short-term storage capacity is full.

Redundancy (i.e., two compactor units)
increases costs.

Totally dependent on availability of electrical
power. Large motor sizes generally preclude
the use of a standby electrical generator to handle
power outage.

Less suitable for certain types of waste
(oversize materials, concrete,  wire, cable).

Hydraulic power equipment for compactor
can be noisy.

A heavy electrical power consumption system.
Most suitable for high-volume
transfer stations, particularly those
that need to haul waste long

Container alternative ideally suited for
intermodal transfer to rail system.

Allows for efficient transportation due to
density of waste and ability to use light-
weight trailers.

Trailer can be completely closed to prevent
rainwater entry, and odor and liquid from

Compatible with balefills, which can landfill a
large amount of waste in a small space;  might
be best in difficult (extreme weather or
windy) environments.

Baler can also be used to prepare recyclables
for transport and sale.
High capital cost.

Relatively complex equipment; when it breaks
down, it can shut down transfer station after
short-term storage capacity is full.

Hydraulic power equipment for baler can be

Special equipment needed at landfill.
Suitable for large transfer stations,
particularly those that need to haul
waste long distances. Required for
delivering waste to a balefill.
Transfer Container and Vehicle Unloading Alternatives

Technology           Advantages
Push-out blade         Allows for unloading anywhere (not just at a
transfer trailer          landfill with a trailer tipper).
                                                Some trailer capacity (both volume and
                                                weight) used for the push-out blade, which
                                                reduces effective waste payload.

                                                Material can become stuck behind push-out

                                                Blade can bind during extension or retraction.
                                                 Most suitable for short-distance,
                                                 low-volume hauling.
Walking floor          Allows for unloading anywhere (not just at a
transfer trailer          landfill with a trailer tipper).
                                                More prone to leak liquids from the bottom
                                                of the trailer.

                                                More prone to damage from dense or sharp
                                                objects that fall into an empty trailer.
                                                 Suitable for a range of volumes and
Trailer tipper for
transfers trailers
and trailer-
Allows use of lightweight trailers to
maximize payloads.

Ideal for rail-based container intermodal
High reliability or redundancy required—no
way to unload trailers at the landfill if the
tipper fails.

Tippers can be unstable if placed over
waste at landfill.
Most suitable for long-distance, high-
volume hauls. Most suitable for hauls
to large landfills (small to medium
landfills not likely to have a tipper).
Open-top railcar
Extremely rapid, large-volume unloading.
Fixed unloading point requires reloading and
some other form of transport from unloading
point to final destination.
Most suitable for a fixed-disposal
method such as at a solid waste

5o//cf waste baler compacts waste into dense, self-contained bales.

                      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.
                       •  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
 depending on individual circumstances.
 Many large facilities located in urban indus-
 trial zones operate 24 hours, 7 days per week.
 Urban, suburban, and rural transfer stations
 of various sizes commonly open early in the
 morning (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
                  32   Transfer Station Design and Operation

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
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 unacceptable 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 operators
should screen for unacceptable materials
before, during, and after customers unload,
and should tell customers where they can  dis-
pose of wastes inappropriate for that transfer
   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
   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

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-
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
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
                       unacceptable 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 pro-
                       vide overhead cam-
                       eras or walkways to
                       facilitate a view of
                       the top of uncovered
                       loads(or loads that
                       can easily be uncov-
                       ered at the scale
                       house). Walking
                       around the truck to
                       examine its contents
                       and checking for
                       smoke or suspicious
  Telephone numbers and Web sites of
  appropriate regulatory agencies that can
  provide more information.
                       odors might be
                       appropriate. Sensors
                       for detecting radioac-
                       tive materials can be
                       used at the scale
house or at a point along the incoming truck
route to the tipping area.
   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
                34   Transfer Station Design and Operation

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
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-
ments. Ceiling sprinkler systems by them-
selves might not be completely effective in
preventing small fires from spreading. Due
to the high ceilings common in transfer sta-
tions, a  fire could spread substantially
before it gets hot enough at the ceiling level
to activate sprinkler systems. Consequently,
facilities should have fire hoses or other fire
fighting equipment in the area, in addition
to ceiling mounted sprinklers. A water can-
non on a washer truck can also be used to
contain small fires until the fire department
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,
A transfer station scale house.

  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:
• Incoming loads: date, time, company, driv-
  er name, truck number (i.e., company fleet
  number), weight (loaded), weight (empty),4
  origin of load, fee charged.
• Outgoing loads (typically transfer trucks):
  date, time, company, driver name, truck
  number (i.e., company fleet number),
  weight (loaded), weight (empty), type of
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   35

Urban Transfer Station Design and Operations
    All transfer stations must address issues such as noise, odors,
    dust, vectors, traffic, and litter. Urban transfer stations, how-
ever, frequently lack the key component that suburban and rural
facilities use to mitigate these problems: space. Where a subur-
ban or rural facility can simply use large buffer zones between
operations and receptor populations, urban sites are frequently
unable to do so due to severe site size limitations. Urban transfer
stations must employ a combination of planning, design, and
operating practices to help minimize impacts upon the surround-
ing community. Listed below are several engineering designs,       •
technologies, and operating practices that  an urban transfer sta-
tion should consider employing to mitigate facility impacts upon
the neighboring community.
Structural and  Site Layout Approaches
•  Totally enclose all  waste-handling operations to contain noise.
•  Use concrete walls and structures, which absorb sound bet-
   ter than metal structures.
•  Install double-glazed windows which contain noise better
   than single-glazed windows.
•  Install shielding or barriers, such as trees, berms, or walls,
   around the  facility to block and absorb noise. Size of the
   shielding, distance to receptors, and shielding materials all
   determine effectiveness. Walls can be made from concrete,
   stone, brick, wood, plastic, metal, or earth. Vegetate berms
   with grasses, shrubs, or trees to further mitigate noise and
   increase aesthetics. Barriers should be continuous, with no
   breaks, and long enough to protect the intended receptors.
•  Wing walls, usually constructed of concrete, on transfer build-
   ings can also block noise from trucks entering and exiting the
   building and noise from interior operations.
•  Insulate transfer building walls with sound-absorbing materials.
•  Locate administrative buildings between sources of noise and
•  Orient transfer building openings (i.e., doors) away from

Operational Practices
•  Keep doors closed during operating hours, except when
   vehicles are entering or exiting.
•  Use the lowest allowable setting on vehicle backup alarms, or
   use visual warning devices if state and local regulations allow.
•  Establish operating hours that avoid early morning or late-
   night operations.
•  Set facility noise level limits (e.g.,  55 decibels at the site
   boundary) and adhere to them.
•  Remove all waste at the end of each operating day. Do not
   allow any waste to remain on site overnight.
•  Frequently clean/wash down the tipping floor or surge pit.
•  Install misting systems with deodorants to mask or neutralize
   odors. Be prepared to make seasonal adjustments as needed
   to control odors.
•  Install ventilation systems with air filters or scrubbers.
•  Plant vegetative barriers, such as trees,  to absorb and dis-
   perse odors.
•  Use odor vestibules on  truck entrances and exits. Odor
   vestibules are 2-door systems in which the outer door closes
   before inner door opens to prevent odors from escaping.
•  Install plastic curtains on entrances and exits to contain odors
   when doors are opened to allow vehicles to enter or exit.
•  Use biofilters - which pass malodorous air through organic
   matter, such as wood chips, mulch, or soil - to capture odor
   molecules. Bacteria in biofilters consume and neutralize odor
•  Set up a community "odor complaint" phone line, and
   respond to community  complaints.
Dust from Vehicles
•  Pave all roads on site, or lay gravel as a  less expensive option.
•  Clean facility roads frequently with street-sweeping equip-
•  Wash waste collection vehicles before  they leave the transfer
   station to remove dust-generating dirt and debris.

Dust from Waste Handling Operations
•  Align building  openings  to minimize exposure to prevailing
•  Install plastic curtains over building  openings.
•  Keep station doors closed during operating hours, except
   when trucks are entering or exiting.
•  Install misting systems over tipping  areas to "knock down"
   dust particles. Misting system operations should be adjusted
   seasonally or as the dryness of the waste dictates.
Vectors (e.g.,  rats, mice, cockroaches, and other
•  Hire a professional licensed pest control company with
   expertise and experience in controlling specific vector popu-
•  Seal or screen openings that allow rodents and insects to
   enter the building, such  as door and window frames, vents,
   and masonry  cracks. Also check for and repair chewed insu-
   lation at points where utility structures, such as wires and
   pipes, enter the transfer building.
•  Treat insect breading areas and eliminate as  many of these
   breading areas as possible. Implement practices that do not
   create new  breeding areas.
•  Implement practices that reduce the likeliness of attracting
   vectors (e.g., remove all waste at the end of the operating

                                             (continued next page)
                  36   Transfer Station Design and Operation

   (continued from previous page)
     day wash tipping areas daily, pick up litter and other debris
   •  Some municipalities require transfer stations to pay neighbors'
     extermination/pest control costs if it can be proven that the
     facility is the source of the problem. Consider this policy
     even if it is not required by law.
   •  Create acceleration, deceleration, or turning lanes at site
     entrances and exits as needed to maintain steady traffic
     flows around facility. This may require widening roads.
   •  Fund road improvements and upgrades around the facility to
     reduce congestion and prevent damage from additional truck
   •  Work with the community to designate inbound and out-
     bound truck traffic routes and ensure that drivers follow
     these routes.
               Do not allow incoming trucks to queue on public streets. If
               inadequate space is available on site to accommodate waiting
               trucks, use a remote site as a waiting area for the trucks. Use
               radios to dispatch trucks from the waiting area to the transfer
               Where possible, schedule incoming traffic so that it does not
               coincide with local rush hours.
               Require all incoming and outgoing loads to be covered.
               Ensure that all incoming and outgoing trucks are leak-proof
               to avoid leachate spills on public streets.
               Implement daily litter inspections and pickup at the facility
               and on surrounding streets.
               Install a perimeter fence to prevent windblown litter from
               leaving the site.
   material (e.g., waste, compostables, recy-
   clables), destination 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.

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
                                                                Transfer Station Design and Operation   37

Depositing incoming waste on a tipping floor facilitates waste screening.

                       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 off site 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 off-
 set improvements needed for traffic
    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
for  heavy vehicles. Exhaust from idling truck
engines queuing on public streets can also cre-
ate  air quality and health concerns.  (See the
Air Emissions section on page 37 for discus-
sion of air emission issues.) If space on the site
is insufficient, alternatives should be consid-
ered. These could include providing a sepa-
rate tipping 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
provisions that require transfer stations to pro-
vide 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
                  38   Transfer Station Design and Operation

relieve some traffic conflicts. If off site 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 off site directional signs, pavement
   markings, and intersection signals.
•  Providing acceleration and deceleration
   lanes that allow vehicles to enter and leave
   the flow of off site 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 trucks.)

Transfer stations can be a significant source of
noise, which might be a nuisance to neigh-
bors.5 Heavy truck traffic and the operation of
heavy-duty facility equipment are the primary
sources of noise from a transfer station. Offsite
traffic noise in the station's vicinity will be
perceived as noise
from the station itself.
Equipment noise
includes engines,
backup alarms (beep-
ers), hydraulic power
units, and equipment
buckets and blades
banging and scraping
on concrete and steel
surfaces. The unload-
ing of waste or recy-
clables (particularly
glass) onto a 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 sta-
tionary solid waste
compactors or engine-driven tamping equip-
ment have additional sources of mechanical
equipment noise with which to contend. Good
facility 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.
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).
5  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

                         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
Surge pit separating public and commercial vehicles. Water sprays along the walls
of the pit are used to suppress dust.
                         Avoiding traffic flows adjacent to noise-
                         sensitive property.
                         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 (if state and local
                         regulations allow).
                         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
• 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.
                  40   Transfer Station Design and Operation

  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 facility equipment
  with oxidation catalysts and particulate
• Working with truck fleet operators to
  reduce exhaust emissions through the retro-
  fit of emission control devices, use of clean-
  er fuels, and use of alternative fuel vehicles
  (e.g., compressed natural gas)
• 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. Truck stop
  electrification technology can be installed at
  designated queuing areas to provide truck
  cabs with comforts such as climate con-
  trolled air, electricity, and phone lines while
  engines are shut off.
• Cleaning truck bodies and tires to reduce
  tracking of dirt onto streets.
• 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
                                                              Transfer Station Design and Operation   41

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.
                    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 drain covers on floor drains.
  During normal operations, floor drains
  should be covered to prevent spilled liquid
  wastes from entering the sewer system.
  Covers can be opened or removed during
  floor cleaning.
• 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
               42   Transfer Station Design and Operation

   the sanitary sewer system might be neces-
•  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 predominant 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 building
   should face into the prevailing wind.
•  Strictly enforcing the load covering or tarp-
   ing requirements will reduce litter from
   waste trucks. Some transfer station opera-
   tors have the authority to decline uncov-
   ered loads and
   have instituted        	
   surcharges to pro-
   vide incentives  for
   customers to cover
   their loads.
   Providing wind-
   breaks to deflect
   wind away from
   waste handling
   Locating doors in
   areas that are less
   likely to have
   potentially litter-
   producing materi-
Vector Control at Rural Transfer

 In less densely populated areas, other vectors
 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   43

                        als stored near them, regardless of building
                        At small rural stations, providing contain-
                        ers with lifting lids that are normally
                        Minimizing horizontal ledges where litter
                        can accumulate.
   approach roads and the hauling route(s).
   Litter patrols, especially at unattended
   sites, 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.
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.
                        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
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.
                44   Transfer Station Design and Operation

   This section describes general safety con-
cerns associated with solid waste transfer sta-
tions. A facility must take steps to eliminate or
reduce risk of injury from many sources,

Exposure to Potentially Hazardous Equipment
Transfer station employees work in close
proximity to a variety of hazards, including
equipment with moving parts, such as con-
veyor belts, push blades, balers, and com-
pactors. Facility operators should develop an
employee equipment orientation program
and establish safety programs to minimize
the risk of injury from station equipment.
Utilizing locks or tags that prevent equipment
from operating until they are removed (lock-
out/tagout systems), for example, effectively
minimize hazards associated with transfer
station equipment. Transfer stations operators
must implement and strictly enforce rules
requiring children and pets to remain in the
vehicle at all times. Posting signs and apply-
ing brightly colored paint or tape to hazards
can alert customers to potential dangers.

Personal  Protective Equipment
Transfer station employees coming in close
contact with waste and heavy machinery
should wear appropriate personal protective
equipment. Common pieces of protective gear
include hard hats, protective eye goggles, dust
masks, steel tipped boots, and protective
gloves. If working in close proximity to loud
machinery, hearing protection should be used
as well. Check state and local codes and regu-
lations to see if any personal protective equip-
ment standards exist. Ensure that all facility
employees are using the appropriate equip-
ment and are properly maintaining it.

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, pro-
tection from wind and precipitation, and
access to warming areas. Extreme tempera-
tures typically should not pose problems for
customers because their exposure times are
much less than those of facility workers.

Controlled, safe traffic flows in and around
the facility are critical to ensuring employee
and customer safety. Ideally, a transfer station
is designed so traffic
from large waste-
collecting vehicles is
kept separate from
self-haulers, who typ-
ically use cars and
pickup trucks.
Facility designers
should consider:
•  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 build-
   ings (and some-
   times entire sites)
   with separate
   entrances and
   exits. The transfer
   trailers, in particu-
   lar, are difficult to
   maneuver and
   require gentle
   slopes and suffi-
   cient turning radii.
   Ideally, these trail-
   ers 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
           ALL QFrlLR
             NK i'A!  *•'••  •
Well marked, color-coded traffic routes can help
minimize contact between commercial and public
                                                              Transfer Station Design and Operation   45

        after the scale house and before the tipping
        area. This is in addition to and separate
        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. Personnel working in
        the tipping area especially must wear high
        visibility clothing at all times.
     •  Installing backup alarms on all moving
        facility equipment and training all vehicle
        operators in proper equipment operations
        safety. Backup  alarms must be maintained
        in proper working condition at all times.
        Cameras and monitors can also be installed
        as an additional precaution.

     Accidental falls are another concern for facili-
     ty employees and customers, especially in
     facilities 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 station 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 placed around the pit edges at the end
  of the day or during cleaning periods to
  prevent falls. These barriers, however,
  should be removed during normal operat-
  ing hours as they are a trip hazard and can
  interfere with the unloading of waste.
• 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
46   Transfer Station Design and Operation

  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.
  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
• Designing unloading stalls for self-haul
  customers with a generous width (at least
  12 feet when possible) maximizes the sepa-
  ration between adjacent unloading opera-
  tions and reduces the likelihood of injury
  from activity in the next stall. For commer-
  cial customers, stall widths of at least 15
  feet are needed to provide a similar safety
  cushion. This is particularly 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. Water-based dust suppression
  systems, however, can have adverse eco-
  nomic impacts. The additional moisture
  added to the waste increases the weight of
  outbound loads, potentially reducing truck
  capacity and increasing costs.
                                                             Transfer Station Design and Operation   47

     • 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 control air quality
       inside enclosed transfer buildings. While
       the high roofs and large floor areas com-
       mon in transfer stations  put unique
       demands upon ventilation systems, it is still
       possible through engineering techniques to
       create the air velocities needed to entrain
       dust particles. One approach is to concen-
       trate system fans and air removal equip-
       ment above the dustiest and most
       odor-prone area to create a positive air flow
       from cleaner areas. Often, the air-handling
       equipment is designed with multiple speed
       fans and separate fan units that can be acti-
       vated during high dust or odor events.
       Filtering and scrubbing exhaust air from
       transfer stations is also possible.
     • 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 HFIW, 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.

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.
48   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, IVM
                                      Permit Expiration Date: November 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 conditions of the Order of the
                                        Secretary, dated	November 2.	 19  95 .
                                     Given this
                                                .. day of _y*&W &***--_  ,19
                                                                         Jojfji Q. Doe^-
                                                                         Secretary of Environment
                                  Example of a state issued transfer station facility permit.
                                                                         Facility Oversight  49

     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.
50   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  51

  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.,

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
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.

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  53

     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
54   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 - Quarterly


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


Possible - As part
of nuisance control

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

Transfer Stations: State
Regulations URLs (as of
Alabama:  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 12/3/01).


   — Idaho has
  proposed new solid waste management
  rules, which will include additional require-
  ments for transfer stations. See  - Select Bulletin 99-8, Vol. 1.










Mississippi:  Look under
  Office of Pollution Control.


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

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Solid Waste and Emergency Response (5306W)
June 2002