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Tips to Help Prepare for a Better Winter and Spring

Winter solstice is less than 2 months away, but facilities across the Midwest are already feeling dropping temps and seeing more than just leaves falling!

Explore the below tips and tricks for things to do NOW- this fall- to prepare for a better winter and spring at your open or closed landfill.

Featured Tips

WINTER IS COMING – TAKE COVER!

Wet soils with high silt and clay content can be difficult to work with in cold weather. Work to keep your winter cover stockpile well drained. If you have access to regulatory-approved alternative cover soils, consider stockpiling them appropriately for use during the winter months.

STAY FUELED THROUGH COLD MONTHS

Whether your aboveground storage tank system is newly installed or has been in service for many years, performing seasonal preventative maintenance can reduce annual repair costs, avoid downtime and further damage to your equipment. Now is the time to inspect hoses and nozzles for leaks and cracks. Remember, a small leak now will be a big leak when it’s 0 degrees out! Changing your filters is also a good idea. Over time, filters will trap small amounts of water and dirt particles resulting in slow flowing fuel. Diesel fuel especially needs clean fuel filters when it gets cold and the fuel begins to gel.

PROTECTING YOUR LINES

Do you have any shallow lines that may be prone to freezing? Lines related to gas or leachate collection systems, (i.e., condensate lines, extraction system drain lines, lower flow gas lines), leachate recirculation lines, and riser pipes are prone to freezing problems during the winter months. 

  • Drain lines prior to the onset of cold/freezing weather to ensure they don’t freeze or crack.
  • If lines cannot be drained/turned off during the winter months, head off freezing problems by placing wood chips or additional dirt on top of them to add protection. 
  • For gas wells that have water issues and are low flowing, consider covering the wells to help retain heat or create a wellhead exchange program to thaw them out as needed to avoid issues with monitoring requirements.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE?

Think about where you will be working over the winter and where you want to be come spring.

  • Build berms now that will help direct snow melt and spring rain run-off away from the working face, roadways, etc.
  • Stockpile cover soils close to your working face for use over the winter to avoid a long haul during freeze/thaw conditions.
  • Stockpile roadway and wet weather pad materials (i.e., aggregate alternatives like bricks, concrete, rubble, as well as wood chips) where you will need them.

PREVENTING EROSION

Do you have any areas where you can place seed/mulch yet this fall to get some vegetation started to assist with erosion control in the spring during snow melt and spring rains?  Doing a little fine grading now and placing a cover crop along with some mulch can help reduce erosion repairs in the spring. 

CAPTURING LITTER

Remember to move your portable fencing to catch litter from winter’s northerly winds.  Also, consider installing additional rows of short fencing to trap litter that does escape the working face.  If installed now, it can help reduce the amount of time necessary during spring clean-up (as litter will be concentrated along fencing, instead of everywhere). 

ATTACK OF THE CREATURE FROM THE LEACHATE LAGOON!

Leachate management is one of the most costly items in a facility’s operational budget. Further operational, compliance, and financial complications can arise when POTW’s cut-off acceptance from industrial users during peak events (i.e., severe rains, flooding, etc.).

  • Lower the leachate level in your lagoon now to create storage capacity for snow melt and spring rains.
  • Continue to haul leachate during the winter months to maintain desired lagoon levels as conditions allow.
  • Consider establishing additional leachate treatment agreements with other POTW’s as a backup.

COLD DAYS ARE TOUGH ON EQUIPMENT TOO

Cold weather may create problems in starting and operating heavy equipment, now is the time to make winter preparations. 

  • Do you have electrical outlets available to plug in your equipment? 
  • Would the installation of an outlet (i.e., at a pump panel or light post) save you time and costs associated with driving equipment back and forth from a maintenance building?
  • Be sure to review your equipment manufacturers recommended winterization guidelines and complete necessary maintenance.

HOW DIRTY IS YOUR SCALE?

Cleaning your scales now can help avoid them freezing up in cold weather. There is no guarantee that things won’t still freeze, but cleaning them is an easier job in the fall than during the winter months.

  • Having a paved or well rocked entrance to your scale can help keep the scale cleaner. 
  • Consider installing rumble strips or another traffic control mechanism that may help knock off mud prior to reaching your scale.