Lee County, Fla., which comprises the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area, has an award-winning integrated solid waste system that manages 800,000 tons per year of waste for 660,000 residents. Operated under an enterprise fund, the county department administers collection, recycling, processing, waste-to-energy, landfill and hazardous chemicals management.

The department's been well managed and administered since the early 1990s. Now, department managers are looking to see how their extensive array of assets, services, and operations must change to meet need over the next 20 years.

Gershman, Brickner & Bratton Inc. (GBB) is helping this effort as a subcontractor to Tetra Tech Inc.

The Tetra Tech/GBB Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS) Expansion Project project team will perform a waste characterization study, an evaluation of the current system, a review of regional systems and national best practices, an evaluation of available technologies, a needs forecast, and an analysis of options. Once defined and preliminarily analyzed, the team will work with the county to group options into several scenarios that will be fully described and analyzed. Projected costs will also be determined. Internal workshops and meetings with County management and its Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) as well as a public involvement process to both inform and gain input to the direction the county should head in the future are also planned.

The ultimate output for the initial phase of the project will be a Basis of Design Report. Implementation and support assistance for future phases will be determined as the County undertakes the various policy changes, procurement, contracting, and development activities to begin changing its IWMS.

"Planning for the long-term, we will identify an extensive array of alternatives, both policy and infrastructure, and then work with the county to select approaches that will be carefully analyzed," said GBB Senior Vice President John G. Carlton, P.E., BCEE. "The county has historically made improvements that work in concert with existing systems, and this will be an emphasis moving forward as new and improved systems are phased in and impacts on the existing system are evaluated."