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Summer 2012

Bobcat duo packs a two-fold punch at landfill

Two Bobcat M-Series machines — a compact excavator and compact track loader — and Bobcat attachments help officials at an Idaho landfill maintain the facility, as well as perform sorting inspections to keep hazardous waste out of the landfill.

Kurt Hunt

Kurt Hunt

Bobcat® compact equipment is helping to ensure officials at the Ada County landfill in Boise, Idaho, do not place hazardous material in its facility, as well as prepare fire breaks around the perimeter and regularly assist with excavating and grading projects.

Landfill operations coordinator Kurt Hunt oversees the day-to-day operations at the facility, including the use of a Bobcat E45 excavator and a T650 compact track loader — both part of the M-Series line of Bobcat equipment. At the site are two landfills. The old one, called Hidden Hollow, is the original landfill. A newer one opened in 2007, a lined landfill with a life expectancy of approximately 100 years.

Hunt explains that newer landfills have a geo-membrane liner underneath so nothing can escape. The leachate and methane gas is collected and there’s a piping system under it. “The leachate is directed to a pond where it evaporates,” Hunt says. “We send the methane to two generators that produce electricity.”

Screening program

A Bobcat E45 compact excavator
with clamp attachment regularly
sorts through waste in Ada County,
ensuring that no hazardous waste
is disposed in the landfill.

A Bobcat E45 compact excavator with clamp attachment regularly sorts through waste in Ada County, ensuring that no hazardous waste is disposed in the landfill.

On average, Hunt says the landfill receives about 1,300 tons of waste every day. Operators regularly sort through random loads, which is where the Bobcat excavator comes into play. It’s equipped with a bucket and clamp attachment.

“We purchased the Bobcat compact excavator for our screening program,” Hunt says. “It’s a federal regulation, and it’s also in our operating plan that we will screen loads. We’re looking for specific containers, placarding or labeling of hazardous waste. Thankfully, we haven’t found anything hazardous. We occasionally find tires, which we don’t let go into our landfill. We’ll pull them out, as well as cathode ray tubes (CRTs), televisions, computer monitors, and we’ll make sure that they are disposed of properly.

“The Bobcat E45 is just the right size. It’s great on fuel efficiency, too. We use the auto-idle feature regularly, because sometimes we’re waiting between loads. We’ll sort through one, let the engine idle down without shutting off the machine, and then we’re ready go to again to sort the next load.

“We do some excavating on the property, which is 2,600 acres, and the E45 is easy to transport on our trailers with the trucks we have on site. I’ve always been a Bobcat fan because I’ve operated Bobcat machines. That’s how I got my start in the mid ’90s. Knowing the dealer and the kind of service we get from H & E Equipment is important to us. Having reliable service to support the machines is a huge advantage over other equipment.”

The landfill’s
Bobcat T650
compact track
loader and
Brushcat rotary
cutter create fire
breaks around the
facility’s perimeter.

The landfill’s Bobcat T650 compact track loader and Brushcat rotary cutter create fire breaks around the facility’s perimeter.

To help keep operators refreshed throughout the day, Hunt purchased the E45 with an enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning. He says it is a very comfortable machine to sit in and operate all day long. “The visibility in the E45 is great, and the controls are smooth,” Hunt says.

Maintaining the facility

While the Bobcat compact excavator is sorting, Hunt keeps the T650 compact track loader busy, too, helping with a variety of maintenance projects. He mounts the Brushcat rotary cutter to the T650 to mow around the facility. “We mow a big loop for fire protection,” Hunt says. “There are some residents who live west of our property. We mow behind their houses to create a nice fire line for them, and we have some ridge roads where we’ll mow the material that grows in the center. Much of what we mow is really rough terrain and the Brushcat rotary cutter works great.”

In addition to the rotary cutter, Hunt purchased a Bobcat six-way dozer blade, pallet forks and a bucket. “We purchased the dozer blade and we clear ditches for erosion control and other projects,” he says. “We unload pipe with the Bobcat loader and pallet fork for a lot of our piping projects. As far as the bucket, we use it to put up berms for traffic control. We have a dump trailer and we’ll load cobble for some of our storm water ditches; we mix it and patch holes in the roads.

“The rubber track undercarriage works very well here because much of the soil is sand. It’s a smooth ride with good traction. Additionally, the cab-forward design of the loader gives a better view of the material we’re getting in the bucket. We can see right on the edge, or when we’re operating the dozer blade, we can get a good look at the angle and see where we’re cutting material.”

One of the T650 features that stands out to Hunt and his operators is Speed Management, which is available on Bobcat Selectable Joystick Controls. “It comes in handy when we’re using the Brushcat rotary cutter or the dozer blade,” he says. “We can put it in snail mode and operate the machine at 30 percent, so we can run it at full throttle and maintain our forward motion. We can hold the joystick all the way forward yet maintain a constant speed. It helps because we have time to adjust the six-way blade to keep a nice smooth pass.”

A facility that operates more than 300 days a year needs reliable and versatile equipment, and that’s what the Ada County landfill has found with a compact excavator, compact track loader and attachments from Bobcat Company.