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Managing Fill



Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

The problem is to ensure the quality of materials delivered to a building site. Large quantities of fill material must be transported. The cost of the clean fill is high. The cost of disposing of contaminated materials is also high, so there is profit to be made if contaminated fill is used to replace the clean fill.

A double bonus

The cost of disposing of the contaminated fill is eliminated, and the substitute clean fill can be resold. But the risk to the developer is high. If a site is subsequently found to be contaminated, the value of the property is dramatically reduced, and high clean up costs may be incurred.

So how to avoid this?

There are measures in place to guarantee the quality of the clean fill. Testing and certification. The loading can be monitored. But the transport is unsupervised, and offers the opportunity for a diversion and substitution. Given that several hundred truckloads of fill may be required, management and protection becomes a challenge.

Current process

The situation is currently managed by employing security personnel to oversee the load and unload process. Security personnel can vet the load, check the test certification, and time the departure and arrival of each truck. But this is time consuming, manual, and prone to error.

A better way

Computers have solved many problems in business, but here we are talking about an outdoor activity in a potentially harsh environment. SageData have experience of tracking truck loading and unloading activities in remote locations. This is just a slight variation on an existing theme.

Rugged Handheld Computers

Zebra TC77

Handheld computers can be deployed at the load and unload sites. They can be connected by a WAN network (aka "mobile phone network"). The software simplifies data collection and decision making, which is important, as staff on the ground may change, which means the system must operate with minimal training.

The key issue is to identify each vehicle, and track the time of departure and arrival. By imposing a time limit for the journey, we deny the driver the opportunity for load substitution, as there will be no time for detour, unload and load.

How to identify the truck and or driver?

Many ways. Enter the licence plate by hand. Take a photo of the truck, driver, and licence place. Perhaps the easiest is to hand the driver a "PASS" that he must present at the destination. The pass can be a small plastic card the size of a credit card. A unique barcode on the card can be read by the handheld computers at each end. The computer tracks the time, and can be set to make a go / nogo decision for acceptance of each load. The system can be sophisticated enough to allow for variations due to traffic conditions.


Apart from reporting time for each load to be transported, the system can provided detailed activity reports. Report by truckload, obviously. But tracking the result of local traffic congestion, and comparing driver performance are all options. And of course, analysing the data for suspicious activity.

Set up and configuration

The system would permit unlimited handheld computers to be used. Management would be able to track deliveries in real time through a simple web application. All data would be hosted on servers in Canada. Set up is simple, as the system is accessed from any machine with a browswer and internet connection. User names and password protect the system from unauthorised access.


SageData is based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

We design, supply and support systems built around RFID, Barcodes and Handheld computers.

For further information, or for advice and assistance with your application, contact Doreen Garvin or Trinity Joseph.

Click here to reach SageData by email.

To reach us by phone:
from outside Ottawa, dial 1-888-838-1067
from Ottawa, dial 613-225-4404

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