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Wayne Township Landfill focuses on three core values

PHOTO PROVIDED In this picture is the wood recycling operation at WTL. In 2019, WTL recycled 17,000 tons of wood waste and turned it into three kinds of landscape mulch — colored black, brown and natural. We also create sawdust for erosion control and animal bedding and compost material for soil enrichment. Material is also blended for filler material for silt socks and bio-retention ponds. Dried/kiln wood is used for the colored mulches. All other products go through heat cycles that exceed 140 degrees are turned to allow oxygen back in and this happens at least 4 times to insure no spores, fungus or insects are in our product.

By JAY ALEXANDER

Wayne Township

Landfill Manager

McELHATTAN — Wayne Township Landfill’s core values are safety, compliance, profitability and in that order.

SAFETY

PHOTOS PROVIDED In this picture, on the left, the old landfill that was open from the 1970’s through the early 1990’s is shown. On the right is the new landfill which opened in 2012 and in the middle is the new Field 4 that opened over the winter. The blue tarps are to collect rain water and pump it off the top as rain water versus letting clean water enter the leachate collection system.

As we wrap up 2019, our biggest success for the year actually started in 2018 and that was as the end of 2019 we were at 630 days without a lost time accident.

The waste management and recycling industry is surrounded by danger in all directions, we can never let our guard down and need 100 percent buy in and focus on our surroundings and be vigilant on being a partner to help our coworkers stay safe and be productive.

Our team puts great pride in safe practices and it shows with the stats above. Being able to retain and recruit high caliber employees has a lot to do with how safe they feel an employer is or will be.

COMPLIANCE

Our compliance record has been really impressive and the efforts that we invest into the compliance of our facility, its operations and our customer’s compliance is exactly the reason we are able to achieve things our competition can’t even think about. This is a true challenge that takes years of forward thinking to make today’s efforts reap fruit a couple years down the road.

It will not be easy to keep producing these kind of results, but we are not afraid of hard work and keeping open dialogue on how to do it right with our staff will creating the chance to extend and build on this success. Our commitment to doing it right isn’t always the fastest way, but it is the right way and we’ll keep those priorities in front of us.

We hosted the DEP Secretary McDonnell and his Regional staff in 2019. They were here for an informational discussion about the waste and recycling business and a tour of how we do things at WTL. Multiple times during the tour he asked, “why don’t other facilities do it like this?”

Our answer was usually the same, “we aren’t afraid of hard work, keeping our employee’s minds engaged in problem solving and taking responsibility.”

Once that can be addressed, success follows quickly.

PROFITABILITY

Our management team reflects on the challenges and successes we dealt with throughout the past year. We dig deep into both and make changes to improve on weakness and challenge the positives to see if there are improvements on success.

We saw $16,700,000 in sales which was $1.5 Million more than 2018 and 305,000 tons of waste which was 30,000 more than 2018.

We also invested over $5,000,000 in capital expenses (new field for disposal, new maintenance shop and several equipment updates) to prepare for the future.

We recognized a nice profit for the year as well. All of these things usually don’t go together, but we made it happen in 2019 via hard work and great planning by all involved at WTL and finding a way to make struggles turn into opportunities.

We do a lot of work and put serious efforts in keeping and recruiting talented employees and board members. All of the factors above help bring that together.

We explain to our staff that being an employee at WTL is about you providing your individual talents to a team 70+ employees and 9 board members. It’s about WTL providing them with the resources to out produce normal expectations and bringing this all together to create an enjoyable career and be successful and proud of what we can accomplish.

We are well positioned for 2020 and the future. We’ll build Field 5 in the landfill expansion plan, continue to mine old trash out of the unlined landfill and place it over on the new fields. Then start the process all over again of building new fields.

We will be building a new scale house and scales this year as the expansion moves closer to the existing scale house, it will have to be taken down. The new scale house will be more user friendly and should help keep traffic moving quicker and minimize wait time in lines for all customers. We understand time is money burnt for our customers and we want to keep getting better at turn around times at WTL.

We service 3 transfer stations with our tractor trailers which amounts to about 500 tons per day. Hauling long distances with 20 tons per load makes it economical to move large volumes of waste. Our railyard is busy with 125 tons per day coming in via the railroad. The daily trash that comes in from the local haulers which is the residential household trash is about 350 tons per day and industrial waste makes up another 200 tons per day. All of this sounds like a lot of volume and the concerns always exist about filling the landfill up to quick. Rest assured, we have 45 years of permitted disposal capacity remaining at WTL.

The recycling industry is in some serious reality confrontations and we stay on top of providing recycling services that work environmentally and economically. The example of reality is glass recycling.

It costs $80 per ton to collect, process and deliver glass to its markets, the markets pay $10 per ton. There are several national studies showing the environmental negatives of glass recycling and they are real. Facts are facts and hurt some feelings, but as we continue to bring facts to our customers, we hope they’ll make changes to what they recycle and trust that we’ll provide the services to recycle what works.

Back to glass, if all of the glass we used to recycle is landfilled, we’d lose 21 days of landfill capacity over the next 45 years. Our wood recycling operation saw 20,000 tons of wood waste recycled and turned into several products for reuse. We create high grade landscape mulch, compost, silt sock filler material and bio retention pound blended soils. All of these products go through several steps that include watering piles, allowing them to reach 140 degrees, then turning to let heat out and oxygen back in. Then start the process all over again. This happens at least four times before a final product is made and ready for sale.

All of this work ensures our product leaves our facility free of insects, spores, fungus and bacteria, making it safe to put around your house.

The Clinton County Solid Waste Authority – which owns the Wayne Township Landfill – is a dynamic company that utilizes the strengths of our team to achieve great things. As mentioned above, most of this is based on never being satisfied with status quo, hard work, being responsible for our actions and commitment by all to be good at what we do.

We offer tours to any sized group, don’t hesitate to get ahold of us to schedule a tour and let us show you what goes on with that bag of garbage or bucket of recyclables that you set out by the curb.

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