Guidelines for Establishing Transfer Stations for Municipal Solid Waste
Section 4: Operational Guidelines
The following wastes should not be accepted at a transfer station unless special arrangements have been made and appropriate containers provided.
- Hazardous wastes other than those specifically authorized in the Hazardous Waste Regulation.
- Bulk liquids and semi-solid sludges that contain free liquid.
- Liquid or semi-solid wastes including septage, black water, and sewage treatment sludge.
- Biomedical waste as defined in Guidelines for the Management of Biomedical Waste in Canada, CCME, February 1992.
- Dead animals and slaughterhouse, fish hatchery, and farming wastes or cannery wastes and byproducts.
Recyclables designated in the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan should be prohibited from disposal in bins or on a tipping floor intended for wastes.
A difficult issue to deal with is the enforcement of prohibitions at an unmanned site. All sanitary landfills are now required to have staff on site during operating hours, although landfills serving fewer than 5,000 people may be exempt, and all landfills are allowed to have waste bins outside the gates for after hours use. Only small transfer stations, accepting less than 1,000 tonnes/year, should be allowed to operate without staff during operating hours, a privilege that should be rescinded if problems develop.
The allowable maximum storage time depends on the type of waste, facility size, presence and type of wildlife, and season. Inert waste, such as demolition debris, may be stored for up to two months, given sufficient space. Small rural stations should not store municipal garbage for more than a week in the winter, or more than two days in the summer, unless it can be shown that longer storage will not cause problems. Transfer stations accepting more than 5,000 tonnes/year should transport all garbage off the premises at the end of every working day. Storage of municipal garbage outside of waste containers should be prohibited.
It is difficult to set firm rules for storage, because of widely varying circumstances throughout the province. In northern areas, where waste may stay frozen for months, long term storage may not be a problem. In some areas, the presence of bears that are accustomed to eating garbage may indicate a need for daily removal.
Operating staff should inspect every transfer station at least once per week. Stations receiving 1,000 tonnes/year or more of waste should provide an operator on site during operating hours. Facilities receiving 5,000 tonnes/year or more should employ staff at the scale house and on the tipping floor or in the bin area at all times during operating hours.
Even at the smallest stations, staff are required on at least an intermittent basis to ensure that prohibited wastes are not being dumped, that the facility is functioning properly, and that the site is being kept clean.
Allowable measures for the resolution of wildlife problems at transfer stations will depend on the wildlife species and the severity of the problem. In most cases involving large predators and extreme measures such as poisoning rodents and other small mammals, it is necessary to involve ministry staff or specially trained personnel for the protection of human health and the environment. For large predators such as bears, wolves and coyotes that are or become conditioned to the site, alternatives include trapping and translocation of protected species and shooting of dangerous animals. The local ministry Conservation Officer Service should be consulted for problems related to bears and other large predators. The Conservation Officer will assess whether to attempt translocation or shooting in the case of persistent problems with individual animals. For problems related to rodents and other small mammals, physical methods such as trapping or snaring and poisoning are among the most common options. Physical methods (i.e.: traps, snares, etc.) may be used without ministry control. However, poisoned bait should be used only by personnel licensed and certified under the ministry's Pesticide Management protocols. Fish and Wildlife staff in local ministry offices should be consulted to provide guidance on protected species of birds and animals to prevent unauthorized or illegal poisoning or trapping.
The first priority is to prevent problems with wildlife by designing the station so that animal access is difficult, and by operating the station so that it is not attractive to animals and birds. The important elements are fencing, bin covers, site tidiness, and the prompt removal of wastes. Even with all these elements in place, wildlife may be a problem at transfer stations, particularly those stations that replace small landfills, or stations that have been poorly run, and have provided food for wildlife in the past. Bears that have become accustomed to feeding on garbage can be a particularly difficult problem. As indicated in the design features section, internal measures (bin covers, site tidiness, prompt removal of waste) should not be sacrificed or compromised in favour of external measures (fences) as it is important that wildlife breaching the external measures are not rewarded by gaining easy access to the waste.
Transfer station staff should be familiar with procedures involving fire prevention and control. A "FIRE HAZARD - NO SMOKING" sign should be posted at the entrance or at the weigh scales. Fire extinguishers should be available inside all buildings and vehicles. Stations receiving 5,000 tonnes/year or more, or with permanent staff, should have telephone communications available to enable the fire department, police, or medical services to be contacted. Staff serving small stations should have a cellular telephone in their vehicle.
Staff should be trained in first-aid procedures. At stations where staff are present during operating hours, a standard BC #2 First Aid Kit should be available. Smaller first aid kits should be available in staff vehicles.
Litter at small unstaffed stations should be cleaned up at least once per week. Cleanup at stations with permanent staff should be done every operating day, or as required. Staffed stations with weigh scales should consider charging users an additional fee if they arrive with improperly secured or improperly covered loads.
The generation of dust can cause unsightly conditions, and may be irritating to transfer station staff and users. Dust may arise from roads, and from some refuse, such as concrete, demolition waste, ashes, and plaster. Consideration should be given to paving, watering, or brine-sealing unsurfaced roads, and sweeping surfaced roads. If dust problems arise from the handling of waste, consideration should be given to wetting the waste, or if within a building, to installing proper ventilation and dust collection.
Operational practices for reducing odours are the prompt removal of waste and the regular washing of floors, equipment and bins.
If noise is a cause for complaint by neighbours, it may be necessary to limit the operating hours of the station, and/or to provide better noise suppression on equipment and vehicles.
Scavenging at transfer stations should be prohibited. However, if special arrangements have been made to set aside an area for the dropoff and safe storage of goods and materials, then controlled salvaging should be encouraged.