Oak Ridge upgrades waste shipment tracking system

November 8, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A truck loaded with waste crosses the scale at the East Tennessee Technology Park at Oak Ridge. Each truck used by Oak Ridge contractor UCOR is equipped with a unique radio frequency identification card that logs its movements and weight and registers the data in a database.

UCOR, the primary contractor for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OEM), recently transitioned to a new waste tracking system that improves how shipments are tracked from work sites to disposal locations.

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

The technology: RFID technology is the linchpin of this modernization effort, according to OEM. Each truck is equipped with a card that identifies it in a database. As a vehicle moves between locations, the card logs those moves and registers the data in 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.

Phased approach: The RFID technology is being rolled out in phases, and the entire fleet of vehicles will be upgraded by the end of the year, according to OEM.

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

In detail: 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.

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

UCOR has completed more than 120,000 on-site and off-site shipments that account for 1.7 million cubic yards of waste and has logged 7.6 million miles safely since it began work in Oak Ridge in 2011.

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