Tim Mitchell, P.E., of CEC Monroeville is a rising star in the Solid Waste industry, and colleagues and trade publications have taken notice.
A registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania, Tim recently was named to Waste360’s “40 Under 40” list for 2021. The publication touted his expertise and tireless work on two major issues facing the solid waste industry: landfill stability and industrial and liquid waste management practices.
Tim’s efforts are helping to enhance CEC’s capabilities in serving our clients while also getting increasingly and widely recognized in the solid waste world. Tim has been instrumental in developing CEC’s abilities to characterize non-traditional waste streams and their impact on landfill stability.
“Over the past 10 years, I’ve been helping CEC focus on testing and evaluation of several waste types to help our clients gain a better understanding of their waste masses,” Tim says. “Also, I’ve been focused on evaluating the accumulation of liquids in landfills and the impacts those special wastes and liquids have on the stability of waste slopes.”
Tim’s efforts to address landfill stability garnered him a 2020 CEC Innovation Award. He received the honor for his development of a procedure to extend the depth of Cone Penetrometer Tests (CPTs) used to determine the strength of waste materials at landfills while performing slope stability analysis. CPTs typically have a depth limit of 75 feet. Tim developed a procedure to extend the depth of the test to 150 feet while maintaining accuracy.
On the site that prompted him to come up with a plan to increase the depths, Tim says he and the team had made conservative assumptions about the deeper portions of the waste slopes. In making those assumptions, the site would have required extensive site improvements to enhance the stability of the slope to an acceptable level. However, Tim’s innovation allowed the team to analyze deeper into the waste mass and refine their assumptions.
“This resulted in a significant cost savings to our client because they no longer had to perform the extensive site improvements originally required for the site,” Tim says. “There was a distinct difference in waste materials that were shallower compared to the deeper portions, giving us a better understanding of what the material properties were and the necessary actions to deal with them.”
Past and present
Tim received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, although he didn’t necessarily plan on going into the waste industry. When an internship opportunity in CEC’s waste practice arose when he was a senior in 2006, Tim jumped at the opportunity. Now, 15 years later, Tim is helping drive CEC’s solid waste clients to success with his innovative solutions and laser-focused approach.
“It was my first foray into waste, and it worked out very well,” Tim says. “Waste projects tend to present unique scenarios. No two projects are alike, so it really allows me to use my problem-solving skills. These projects can be massive undertakings with a lot of money being spent, so it’s extremely gratifying to help clients solve these issues in a way that both helps their operations and saves them money. I’m appreciative of CEC and the opportunity that has been presented to help a number of major waste clients across the country.”
Tim is a Past Division Director of the Solid Waste Association of North America’s Landfill Management Technical Division and has been featured in numerous publications as an industry expert. Notably, Tim has been honing in on helping landfill owners recognize the challenges and impacts of liquids within their waste mass, a problem he says is likely more pressing than many realize.
“The accumulation of liquids in the waste mass has serious implications for sites from operational, health and safety, and financial standpoints,” Tim says. “It is in the clients’ best interest to get a good understanding and better handle on what the conditions are regarding liquids in the waste mass. Many sites we work on have existed for more than 20 years and have a history of poor leachate management, so we’re helping get them on the right track to continue operations seamlessly.”
Tim Mitchell in the news
- CEC Innovation Award Winners Announced
- Meet the 2021 Waste360 40 Under 40 Award Recipients
- SWANA says landfill care responsibility doesn’t end when the post-closure care period ends
- Reader Profile: Tim Mitchell