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N.J.’s Warren County District Landfill Recycles More Than Just Garbage

Fri June 19, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Lori Lovely

Landfills and recycling don’t usually go hand in hand, but the Warren County District Landfill is working on several fronts to reduce waste. At the Gas to Energy Plant, two internal combustion engines burn landfill gas to generate electricity. Some of that electricity powers buildings on site, reducing energy costs and the rest is sold to general public utilities; enough electricity to power 2,300 homes, said Operations Manager Jim Williams. Ash produced by the incineration is disposed of in the landfill.

The Pollution Control Financing Authority encourages recycling of plastics, metals, glass and paper products through the opening of an onsite recycling center and management is leading by example. According to Williams, when the facility’s Cat 826G landfill compactor developed transmission trouble, options were evaluated. Rather than retiring and replacing the six-year-old machine, Foley Inc.’s customer support representative, Dan Scaramella, suggested rebuilding it.

Rebuild, Recycle, Return on Investment

In addition to all critical engineering updates, Caterpillar’s Certified Powertrain (CPT) rebuilds include the reconditioning of the radiator, engine, transmission, torque converter, transfer gear box, drive shafts, differentials, final drives and brakes. Replaced are the powertrain electrical switches, sensors and wire harnesses and electric control modules (ECM).

The rebuild restores the powertrain to like-new performance. Paul Kirchberger in Foley’s service department oversaw the CPT-Plus rebuild. In addition to the standard rebuild, the compactor’s steel wheels were reconditioned, and new tips were added, its hydraulic and steering hoses, lights and glass were replaced and its steering cylinder was resealed, along with machine work on its blade push arms and new paint.

“Garbage never stops,” Kirchberger said. “They put a lot of hours on that compactor.”

The landfill took in 1,500 to 2,000 tons (1,361 to 1,814 t) of refuse daily during its initial five to six years, Williams estimated.

Williams was faced with the decision of rebuilding the transmission only, the CPT-Plus or buying a new machine. Since removing the cab and dismantling almost two-thirds of the machine is necessary to access the transmission, Williams felt only two choices were realistic. The rebuild cost around $170,000, while prices for new compactors started at $450,000. Restricted by a tight budget, Williams said it didn’t take long to decide.

The 45-acre Warren County District Landfill in Oxford, N.J., opened in September 1990. Owned by the Pollution Control Financing Authority, it relies on tipping fees rather than tax money. Municipal solid waste from Warren and surrounding counties accounts for approximately 20 percent of its revenue, with 25 percent from garbage incineration and the remainder from construction and demolition. Tonnage in 2008 surpassed 2007 levels and residential customers increased.

“We believe that was due to more people doing renovations themselves instead of hiring contractors,” Williams said.

The cost of rebuild versus purchase wasn’t the only financial factor considered. Turn-around time also was critical. During the rebuild downtime, the landfill relied on its two dozers to do the work.

“If it had been longer,” Williams pointed out, “we would have had to rent a compactor.”

Had he purchased a new compactor, Williams estimates the wait at six months, compared to six weeks for the rebuild.


The warranty also heavily influenced Williams’ decision.

“Basically, we get like-new equipment with a three-year warranty for one-third the cost [of new]. The warranty was the most impressive aspect,” he said.

Cat CPT rebuilds offer customers a choice of warranties, which, according to Kirchberger, is typically application-driven: three-year/5,000-hour or three year/ 6,000-hour, with either parts only, or parts and labor.

Pleased with the result of the rebuild, Williams said he will consider rebuilding again. In addition to the compactor, the landfill’s fleet includes two track-type tractors; a D6 and D7R, along with a 938 wheel loader and a 730 articulated truck, purchased from Foley around 2001 when the landfill took over operation of the facility, eliminating use of subcontractors.

Williams now believes in CPT strongly, and he is talking to affiliate landfills about the benefits of rebuilding.

“We put out a large capital expense with the purchase of the compactor. With the certified rebuild, we can continue to get good service from it as long as the frame is good.”

Anticipating keeping the landfill open until 2020 or beyond, he envisions two more rebuilds on his 826 compactor.

This article was reprinted from Foley PayDirt magazine, Spring 2009.

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