Geosyntec was retained by Cecil County, Maryland to provide guidance on updating the county's existing Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), which called for future development of alternative solid waste management facilities and recycling as well as increasing disposal capacity at their Central Landfill.
The county needed to comprehensively update their SWMP and assess several hard-to-predict factors potentially affecting long-term development of their solid waste assets, including demographics (e.g., quantities and types of waste generated in the facility's wasteshed), economics (e.g., markets for recyclables and renewable energy), and policy (e.g., mandates for recycling and diversion of organics) to meet the State of Maryland's proposed Zero Waste objectives of phasing out disposal of "unprocessed" solid waste to landfill and increasing overall recycling rates to 85%.
Geosyntec's Scope of Services
Geosyntec developed an interactive lifecycle assessment planning tool to evaluate lifecycle effects on costs and revenues associated with developing the facility over a 50-year period. Built on a user-friendly MS Excel Visual Basic platform, the planning tool allows interactive comparison between different facility development scenarios and predicts future cash flows associated with modifying certain sequences of landfill disposal capacity, installation of a waste processing and materials recovery facility (MRF), and other waste acceptance and operational factors. The tool comprises several modules, including a Landfill Development Model (LDM), Facility Revenue Model (FRM), and Facility Cost Model (FCM). The LDM predicts the timing of new landfill cell construction and the total service life of the landfill, allowing users to change key input parameters (e.g., annual waste intake and growth rate, waste composition and diversion rates, and airspace consumption factor) while providing graphical output depicting necessary site development milestones. The modeled timing of cell development and waste placement serves as primary input control to the FCM and FRM and establishes their boundary conditions. Costs in the FCM (construction, operation and maintenance, administration, financing and bonding, post-closure care, and/or decommissioning) are computed based on this timeline. The FRM includes a comprehensive approach to estimating waste tipping fees and potential revenues from recyclables and renewable energy sales based on market projections and waste compositions.
Geosyntec's tool provides a cash flow sensitivity analysis to ensure that revenues will be sufficient over the facility lifetime. The tool provides the county with a timeline and anticipated costs for major Capital Investment Project (CIP) events, allowing timely forecasting of major capital outlays. Based on this, the county can establish contingencies for waste handling, disposal capacity, and financial measures. In the latter regard, the county can reduce bonding by optimizing the timing of construction events, in particular closure construction of completed landfill cells.