Town of Brookhaven, New York., Materials Recovery Facility

Posted on June 21, 2015

Client: Town of Brookhaven, New York
Location: Town of Brookhaven
Project Type: Materials Recovery Facility

Project Description

D&B Project Description

Town of Brookhaven Materials Recovery FacilityThe 300 ton per day (“tpd”) capacity Materials Recovery Facility (“MRF”) processes all of the commingled paper and commingled containers collected within the Town of approximately 450,000 population.  The MRF was constructed at a cost of $8.9 million and began operations in 1991.  Originally, it utilized the highly automated Bezner technology for sorting commingled containers.  In 2003/2004, substantial modifications of the system were made to incorporate a Lubo star screen, Andela glass crusher/screener, and a Marathon two-ram baler.  In 2008 – 2009, an optical sorting system for PET plastics was installed.  Commingled paper sorting continues to be carried out utilizing the original system provided by Van Dyke Baler.  The paper system sorts OCC, ONP, Marcal Mix, and Rejects into live bottom bins, which feed a Bollegraaf baler.

Services by D&B Engineers & Architects, P.C.

D&B Engineers and Architects, P.C. (“D&B”) has provided all of the consulting engineering services associated with the development and operations monitoring for the Town’s MRF since the initiation of the project in the mid 1980s. These services have included all site investigation, SEQRA, permitting, procurement management, negotiations, construction observation, and operations monitoring services required by the Town for the original facility and improvements thereto.

The MRF has been a key element of Brookhaven’s successful program to provide comprehensive and reliable recycling services to its residents. Among the many successful aspects of the project is the fact that 100 percent of the recyclables recovered for marketing at the MRF have been sold. The Town has never had to pay to dispose of the recyclables shipped from the MRF.

D&B also assisted the Town in re-contracting for the operations of the MRF when the original contractor’s term expired at the end of 1996. In order to reduce operations fees paid by the Town, D&B advised the Town to restructure the service agreement to provide for payment by the Town of repair and replacement costs exceeding $2,500. In this process, the Town was able to reduce the annual fee paid for MRF operations by approximately $400,000 from $1,265,532 down to $865,764 per year. The Town has attained a substantial net savings of approximately $1.7 million through this contracting approach. In addition, the Town’s share of revenue has ranged from approximately $850,000 to $2,200,000 per year.

In 2002, Recycle America Alliance, Inc. (“RAA”) proposed substantial modifications to the commingled container processing system. D&B reviewed RAA’s preliminary design and business proposal. D&B’s review of the business proposal indicated it would provide substantial economic benefits to RAA, but leave the Town in a worse position. Therefore, in order for both parties to realize economic benefit from the improvements, D&B recommended to the Town that it seek to have RAA install the system at no charge to the Town and charge RAA $9 per ton to deposit all of the crushed, mixed glass in the Town’s Landfill, in return for a three (3) year extension of the Operating Agreement. These terms were agreed upon by the Town and RAA.
D&B has conducted periodic inspections of MRF operations and reviews of operation, maintenance, and marketing records on behalf of the Town. D&B also prepares an Annual MRF Operations Review Report. The Report reviews all MRF operations, maintenance, and marketing activities, as well as compliance with performance guarantees and permits. This service has ensured that (1) the Town is not overcharged for its share of the repair costs, (2) operations were being conducted in compliance with the Service Agreement, (3) safety hazards have been addressed, and (4) that recyclable materials sales revenues have equaled or exceeded those at comparable facilities in the region.

In 2006 – 2007, D&B assisted the Town in procuring a new operations contractor. The firm had the lead role in preparing the Request For Proposal (“RFP”) and responding to Proposer comments. D&B worked as a member of the Town’s consultant Team to review Proposals and interviewing Proposers. Significant changes to the service agreement include raising the maintenance cost threshold to $15,000 and provision of guaranteed floor prices for major fiber and container commodities. The Town’s projected costs for MRF operations under the new agreement are slightly less than under the previous agreement. In addition, the agreement includes an option for conversion of the MRF to single stream operations.

Evaluation of Conversion to Single Stream Collection and Processing

D&B conducted a comprehensive study of the costs and benefits of converting the Town’s collection and recycling program to single stream, with the potential accompanying conversion of all trash, bulk, and yard waste collections to semi-automated or fully automated service. These options were compared with maintaining the current manual collection service for the collection of single stream recyclables. In addition, the analysis also included the conversion of all collection vehicles to the use of Compressed Natural Gas (“CNG”) and compared that to the cost of operations using diesel fuel. In order to carry out the analysis, D&B constructed a Program Operations and Economic Model (“POEM”) that allowed the preparation of a highly detailed analysis that included all construction and operational costs and revenue impacts of converting and operating the MRF as a single stream facility, as well as all vehicle, labor, and collection productivity aspects of collections using manual, semi-automated, or automated collection, using diesel or CNG fuels. A literature search was conducted as the basis of projections of increases in recyclables collected, and decreases in trash collections, that would arise from a single stream program. The POEM was calibrated by achieving a prediction of current collection and recycling system costs within five (5) percent of actual. It was then utilized to model several different scenarios for collection of trash, recyclables, bulk, and yard waste in a single stream recycling system using manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment. The POEM was completed and the Report presented to the Town prior to the receipt of bids for Town-wide conversion to CNG fuel. Upon receipt of the bids, it was shown that the POEM has also predicted the collection fees within five (5) percent of the bids.

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