What is in this article?:
The Shoreway Environmental Center rethinks how to design and build a material recovery facility.
Beginning in 2007 and culminating in the start-up of operations in April 2011, RethinkWaste embarked on an innovative procurement process to partner with private sector recycling and solid waste facility operators and recycling equipment manufacturers to deliver a best in class single-stream material recovery facility (MRF). After the first year of operations, the MRF processes more than 250 tons per day (see sidebar) with a total throughput of more than 51 tons per hour and plant residue under 7 percent.
For RethinkWaste, a public joint powers agency (JPA) for a service area of nearly 500,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area, these results came from a sustained focus on innovation through active engagement with private sector contractors and vendors, healthy and intense competition, shared ideas, and contractual incentives for suc- cess. “We approached our work with an underlying belief that ongoing, open and trusting dialogue with the private sector would produce the best result,” remarked Hilary Gans, facility operations contract manager for RethinkWaste.
Facility Master Plan
The MRF is part of the Shoreway Environmental Center, a 16-acre transfer station, MRF and corporation yard complex in San Carlos, Calif. The facility was purchased from Allied Waste (now.) in 1999 for $20 million. In 2009, the JPA initiated a $47 million master plan to update the com- plex, including a new 70,000-square-foot MRF with highly automated single-stream processing equipment, an expansion of the transfer station to service public customers, traffic improvements includ- ing a new scale house complex, a public recycling center, an education center and other environmental enhancements.
The MRF portion of the master plan project cost about $30 million, composed of $17 million in single-stream system design, fabrication and installation and $13 million in building improvements, including the education center and public recycling center.
The actual master plan conceptual design was developed in 2007 and facility-permitting work was initiated in 2008. The plan of finance and issuance of new debt was done in 2009.
The motivations behind the master plan project were twofold: To correct traffic and customer service shortcomings associated with the old facility and to upgrade the processing infrastructure required to handle the single-stream materials due to be delivered from new franchised collection programs set to begin on Jan. 1, 2011. The new collection programs included a switch from a biweekly dual-stream program to a weekly cart-based single-stream collection program.
This master plan construction was conducted concurrently with the JPA’s requests for proposal (RFP) process to select 1) a contractor to operate the newly upgraded Shoreway Environmental Center and 2) for a collection contractor to service the franchised residential and commercial solid waste, recycling and organic collection for 12 separate jurisdictions. Together, the contracts awarded would total nearly $1 billion over 10 years.
“This was an immensely complex undertaking requiring a high degree of integration of collection and processing operations and careful consideration as to how one RFP process might influence the other,” says Joe Sloan, principal at SloanVazquez, which assisted with the facility operations RFP evaluation and selection process.