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Solid Waste and Recycling Feasibility Analysis


Portage County asked us to assist their solid waste and recycling department to complete a feasibility study of their facility. The county wanted to analyze existing transfer station operations and evaluate alternatives to provide the most safe and efficient method to manage solid waste, recycling, and household hazardous waste at the site. The county also desired to determine if they should install a material recycling facility (MRF) at the site. Portage County participates in a regional waste agreement with Marathon and Shawano Counties.


Our team interviewed Portage County staff and examined the facilities to establish goals, potential options, and desired outcomes. The analysis included a review of facility equipment, operations, and contracts to identify potential improvements and changes. We used existing budget and revenue information and developed cost estimates for each option, including specific features. A five-year economic model of the base case and alternatives was prepared to examine costs per ton for solid waste and recycling operations.


The results of the feasibility study were presented in a report, together with recommendations. The study demonstrated that the county should continue solid waste and recycling transfer station operations and not install a MRF at this time. We recommended that the county invest in solid waste and recycling material compactor units with loading hoppers to improve operator and customer safety and maximize tons per load. The results of our review also suggested that transfer buildings be retrofitted with fire suppression systems to help reduce risks from lithium-ion batteries. Portage County is seeking funding to implement these improvements.

The county is also initiating review and discussion of the existing solid waste agreement with Marathon and Shawano Counties, seeking to identify and implement options to improve waste and recycling within the regional agreement cooperative plan. The Foth team is guiding this effort.



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