Grinding technology to extend life of Alabama landfill

The Shoals Solid Waste Authority in Tuscumbia, AL has bought a $645,000 Doppstadt DW 3060k grinder to reduce almost all of its increasing waste volume at the Colbert County landfill.

On a daily basis, 626 tons of paper sludge was topping 140 tons of yard debris, construction and demolition material, and other municipal waste that was cutting into its landfill’s capacity. The grinder breaks waste down into small pieces that mix well with the paper sludge to make it compactable, according to landfill manager Howard Keeton.

The technology — which can grind six truckloads of debris into one truckload, and pulverize the landfill’s daily 140-ton intake — will add four or five years to Colbert County landfill’s life. But it cannot handle large pieces of concrete, stone, or aluminum.

Still, the landfill will eventually be expanded to meet the area’s growing needs. The county’s contract to accept compactable paper sludge ends in 2024.

From data software to manage trash, to smart waste and recycling collection systems, new technology is coming on line to reduce the nation’s mounting trash. The grinding technology not only saves landfill space but, with its automated features, can perform intensive labor to handle masses of waste.

Trash is loaded into the grinder; fed into a rotating drum with metal teeth that shred it; transferred by a conveyor belt; and dumped on top of the trash mound by a bulldozer. The machine can be operated remotely by the loader operator, who can shift its position.

The waste-devouring equipment is one way Colbert County is being proactive as its landfill slowly reaches capacity. Officials also have their eye on property adjacent to the landfill, 42 acres of which can be permitted for an inert landfill.

As they look into the future, county officials will also continue to operate a recycling program to buy more landfill time.

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