Municipal Solid Waste Management in Berlin, MD

This is a story about the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management in The Town of Berlin, Maryland (MD) which includes the MSW generation, collection, and treatment. We start from the MSW generation. The estimated daily MSW generation in Berlin, MD is about 4,608 people (Berlin’s population) x 6.11 pounds/person.day (Average MSW generation in Maryland) = 28,154.88 pounds/day or 14 tons/day. The generated MSW, should be sorted starting from the source, into 2 types, which are recyclable and refuse. Some households have their own recycling bin and some households don’t. The households that have recycling bin can just put their recyclable in the recycling bin then put it outside when they have the schedule for recyclable pick up. For the households that don’t have recycling bin or forgot to put the recycling bin outside their house when it is the pick up schedule, they can go to “Recyclable Drop Off Site” to put their recyclable according to the types.

The MSW collection is a responsibility of Sanitation Department of Berlin,MD. They have 3 trucks for the MSW collection. One truck for the commercial refuse MSW collection, which is scheduled twice a week for every spot. One truck for the residential refuse MSW collection, which is scheduled once a week for every spot. One truck for the recycle MSW collection, which is scheduled once a week for every spot. The Recycle Truck has a different model than the refuse truck, because it has three compartments, which are for paper, plastic, and metal.

Recycle Truck

After the MSW is all collected by the trucks, the truck will go to the nearest landfill for the treatment. The nearest landfill to The Town of Berlin is the Worcester County Landfill, which is operated by the Worcester County. All truck that goes in to the landfill area are scaled through the weigh bridge and on their way back they scaled again to get the weight of the empty truck and pay the tipping fee. The tipping fee for trucks that bring refuse MSW, they are charged 70$/ton. For trucks that bring recyclable waste, they are not charged for tipping fee.

weigh bridge
Truck Weigh Bridge

The Worcester County Landfill receives MSW from all town in Worcester County and has an area of 725 Acres which consist of one Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and 5 landfill pits. The MRF is used to receive any recyclable items and the landfills are used to pile all the refuse MSW.

One Landfill Pit has an area of 20 acres. Every day after the landfill is filled with refuse MSW, it will be covered with 6 inches of dirt to avoid bad odor coming out from the refuse MSW. The 5 landfill pits has pipe below that collect all the leachate from the MSW and send it to the leachate tank. The leachate tank can store leachate up to  120 days. The leachate then will be transported by trucks to the nearest Waste Water Treatment Plant to be treated.

The MRF are basically an area to sort and compressed the recyclable MSW based on their types. The recyclable MSW that are processed in this MRF are PET plastic, LDPE plastic, cardboard, paper, and aluminium. The recyclable MSW that are already sorted and compressed is then sold to some plastic, metal, and paper recycling factories.

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