Lycoming County Resource Management Services (LCRMS) uses Volvo wheel loaders and articulated haulers to maintain a 500-acre municipal landfill, transfer station, and recycling site in Lycoming County, PA.
Today’s landfills use greener methods to safely cover waste, generate energy from underground methane gases, and give a second life as nature preserves, golf courses, and amphitheaters.
When the Lycoming County Landfill opened in 1978, it averaged 16,689 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually. In 2017, it received 1,100 tons daily of MSW: food scraps, product packaging, clothing, bottles, newspapers and other common household items consumers do not recycle.
"We have a very hard vein of blue shale at our pit, and since we are in close proximity to populated areas, we cannot blast," said LCRMS Assistant Operations Manager David Strayer. "Instead, we use an excavator with a hammer or single shank ripper to break it into slabs that we can run through our crusher and screen to the right size."
"We are particular. We want a loader that will last a long time with good fuel efficiency."
To get the job done, LCRMS uses a 2017 Volvo L350F wheel loader as the landfill's flagship machine to shuttle shale from the pit to the two on-site crushers or load its fleet of five Volvo articulated haulers. "That size of machine is crucial to us," said Strayer. "At a landfill this large, you need to move material quickly, and this size of loader paired with the Volvo 40-ton haul trucks allow us to do that with less wear and tear on the equipment, less waiting to time to load, and ultimately less stress on your operator."
When LCRMS needs to supplement its fleet, they turn to Territory Sales Manager Brian Hoffman in Lock Haven. Hoffman has guided the department through multiple machine purchases using governmental buying contracts.
"We are particular. We want a loader that will last a long time with good fuel efficiency," said LCRMS Director Jason Yorks. "That is why we used the COSTARS cooperative purchasing program to buy the L350. Through COSTARS, we can select from a list of equipment with pre-negotiated pricing through a state contracting system.”
COSTARS, while specific to Pennsylvania, is one of numerous state and federal buying contracts that are becoming an attractive alternative to the traditional bid process for governmental customers.
“Most municipalities our dealership works with are using COSTARS, HGACBuy and NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance®). It makes it much more efficient for equipment selection, and the taxpayers have the satisfaction of knowing their money is being used responsibly,” said Hoffman.
According to Volvo State/Provincial Government Sales Manager Tom Schanz, municipal customers should consider the benefits of buying state contracts. "COSTARS is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s state contract or ‘cooperative purchasing’ program. The Department of General Services administers the contract with the intention of providing a channel for procurement that can be swift while also making it simple to seek out approved vendors with vetted best pricing."
Volvo Governmental Buying Specialist Kathy Tedone added, “Volvo is seeing a significant and consistent increase in the trend by our municipal partners to purchase from cooperative contracts. These contracts offer the flexibility to purchase equipment that meets their specific needs at the most competitive pricing available while saving time and money.”
The savings go beyond hard dollars. Lycoming County Landfill is a gas-to-energy plant, repurposing the methane gas created from decomposing waste. Wells are sunk into the cells to siphon off gases and pumped to an on-site facility where the methane powers four generators that produce approximately 50 million kilowatt-hours per year and prevent the equivalent of 34,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
The Lycoming landfill has sufficient capacity to accept waste through at least 2030. “People are changing their habits; you no longer see burning barrels in backyards,” said York. “Still, over 70 percent of the total volume of material we receive is MSW. While every facility across Pennsylvania and the United States is seeing a drop in total waste produced, the reality is there will always be a need for a landfill.”
In turn, there will always be a need for dependable equipment to maintain those landfills.