Credit: Photo: Waste Management Inc.

A well-trained and properly educated staff can help ensure your transfer station runs efficiently and effectively.

Credit: Photo: Solid Waste Association of North America

When designing a transfer station, ensure capacity is sufficient to meet demands placed upon it by ongoing and future expansion of the community it serves.
Glossary of terms

Buffer zone (or setback): The distance between the transfer station or roadways and adjacent properties; often used for screening.

Convenience center (also citizen's drop-off or green box): Small transfer facilities used in low-volume or rural settings. These low-technology options often use rolloff boxes with an inclined ramp for cars and pickups. Bins can be included for recyclables that are source-separated.

Direct haul: The practice of sending collection vehicles (mostly garbage trucks) directly to the landfill without using transfer stations. When landfills were close to the waste sources, a residential collection vehicle customarily made two trips per day to the landfill.

Host community benefits: Specific benefits to the community selected for a proposed facility are listed in a Host Community Agreement. Benefits can include cash, free tipping, highway improvements, and tax reductions.

Household hazardous waste: Originating from residences, it consists of common discards such as paints, solvents, herbicides, pesticides, and batteries.

Loadout: The process of loading outbound transfer trailers with waste; loading trucks with recyclables destined for the market.

Queuing distance: The space provided for incoming trucks to wait in line.

Source-separated: Recyclables discarded and collected in containers separate from non-recyclable waste. Bins or blue bags are used to separate residential recyclables; separate boxes or containers are used for commercial/industrial discards (e.g., corrugated cardboard packaging, wood pallets). Source-separated wastes usually are delivered to a material recovery facility.

Surge pit: A pit usually made of concrete that receives waste from the tipping floor. Surge pits provide more space for temporary storage at peak times and allow for additional compaction of waste before loadout.

Tipping fee: The unit price charged at the disposal site or transfer station to accept waste, usually expressed as dollars per ton or dollars per cubic yard.

Tipping floor: The floor of the transfer station where waste is unloaded for inspection, sorting, and loading.

Walking floor: A technology built in to lightweight transfer trailers and used to unload waste at the disposal site. Moving panels “walk” the waste out of the trailer bed.

Waste diversion: The process of separating certain materials at the transfer station to avoid the cost of hauling and the tipping fee at the landfill.

Waste screening: Inspecting incoming wastes to preclude transport of hazardous wastes, dangerous substances, or materials that are incompatible with transfer station or landfill operations.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency