Oak Ridge Upgrades Waste Shipment Tracking System

Source: EM Update | Vol. 13, Issue 43 | Nov. 2, 2021

Crews installed a new truck scale at the Oak Ridge Reservation Landfill earlier this year as part of upgrades to waste management operations at Oak Ridge.

Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) contractor UCOR recently transitioned to a new waste tracking system that improves how shipments are tracked from work sites to disposal locations.

The new system includes an upgraded radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking system for trucks and new hardware and software, allowing for a seamless, automated tracking operation that delivers up-to-the-minute waste disposal data.

“The new system reduces manual processes through automation considerably,” said John Wrapp, UCOR waste management manager.

Waste management is a major element of UCOR’s cleanup operations. The contractor has completed more than 120,000 on-site and off-site shipments that account for 1.7 million cubic yards of waste, and UCOR has logged 7.6 million miles safely since it began work in Oak Ridge in 2011.

Watch this video about Oak Ridge’s waste management and disposal operations.

RFID technology is the linchpin of this modernization effort. Each truck is equipped with a unique card that identifies it in a database. As a vehicle moves between locations, the card logs those moves and registers data within the database. These unique identifiers streamline the process and save time at disposal sites by eliminating the need for manual identification and data input by waste management personnel.

The RFID technology is being rolled out in phases, and the entire fleet of vehicles will be upgraded by the end of the year.

The most significant physical upgrade was the installation of a truck scale at the Oak Ridge Reservation Landfill. It can accommodate full-size semi-trucks and complements the two existing scales at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility and the transportation hub at the East Tennessee Technology Park.

When linked with RFID technology, the scales deliver information directly to the database. The database accepts weight data collected at the scales and uses the associated RFID information to track trucks from empty to loaded as they cross the scale at a disposal location.

The database was the final piece of the upgrade. The custom-designed software consolidates eight legacy database and tracking functions, delivering a standardized data format that eliminates incompatibilities between systems. The new database also reduces the need for data to be transmitted manually, decreasing the potential for input error.

-Contributor: David Branton