Optimising landfill operations

Optimising landfill operations

GPS machine guidance may be the future of landfill management, according to Andrew Granger, Business Manager for mining, solar and landfill solutions at Position Partners.

As the population grows, so too does the demand for waste management facilities and the need for landfill management to be as efficient and productive as possible.

Andrew Granger, Business Manager for mining, solar and landfill solutions at Position Partners says accurate and optimised compaction throughout landfill sites is critical to maximise savings on space, time, and resources.

“Poor compaction exposes a landfill site to numerous risks, including inefficient airspace use, greater settlement and shortened cell life, all leading to lost time and money,” Andrew says.

“Relying solely on an operator’s experience, no matter how skilled they are, is simply not accurate enough to ensure these risks are adequately managed.”

Andrew says introducing GPS-based machine guidance is a simple and effective way to empower operators with the information they need to accurately work to the landfill design.

Software, such as the Landfill Grade system from Carlson, can be installed on any age, make or model of machine.

The Landfill Grade system has been specifically designed for landfill compaction and includes a GPS antenna mounted to the roof of a machine, sensors fitted to the body and an in-cab display that give the operator a clear, visual representation of their position and distance to the compaction grade.

Andrew says that airspace optimisation and longer cell life are also major factors in achieving landfill optimisation.

“The costliest aspect of running a landfill over time is daily waste placement activities,” he says.

“GPS machine guidance enables operators and managers to use every cubic metre of space as efficiently as possible, optimising airspace while saving on machine wear and fuel usage.”

Andrew says exactly how much compaction can be increased differs from site to site.

He says some operators report a five per cent increase over a year, while others have seen a 20 per cent jump in compaction in as little as three months.

To track the benefits further, a dollar amount can be applied to each cubic metre of airspace, so that the results of implementing machine guidance can be measured in cost savings.

Andrew says optimising airspace and accurate compaction also extends the life of a landfill cell because it is not filled before its projected date. That, in turn, delays the time, costs, and environmental impact of creating a new cell.

Andrew says that increased compaction can also help landfill sites and managers decrease their own environmental and health impacts.

“In addition to the cost benefits, landfill managers have an environmental and safety responsibility as well,” he says.

“Better compaction means fewer air pockets where methane gas can build up and lead to combustion, which helps reduce waste gas production and associated dangers to staff on site.”

Stormwater management and leachate reduction are other critical health and environmental factors for many landfill sites.

GPS machine guidance fitted to landfill compactors enables operators to accurately design and eliminate build-ups which can create leachate.

“Effective leachate management has cost upside in addition to environmental and safety benefits,” Andrew says. “Reduced leachate production saves on treatment costs that can add up quickly.”

It can be difficult to gauge if operators are meeting daily compaction targets without accurate data and reporting from GPS machine guidance.

Intermittent checks and landfill surveys can also mean issues aren’t identified as they occur and lead to significant rework and additional costs.

Carlson’s Landfill Grade system helps reduce or eliminate rework because operators, managers and engineers have live information available throughout their working day.

Measuring results on an ongoing basis with GPS machine guidance helps keep compaction targets on track.

Andrew says the transition to a new system is not only seamless, but an important step toward increased collaboration between stakeholders.

“With all parties – engineer, landfill manager, operators – working to the same plan with the same information, GPS machine guidance keeps all key stakeholders up to date and able to measure results,” he says.   

For more information, visit: www.positionpartners.com.au