Corrosion of equipment is prevalent in coastal locations, yet Camp Lejeune’s container inventory remains resilient under damaging conditions that are induced by the coast’s salty atmosphere.Joe Powers, Camp Lejeune’s Public Works Landfill Manager, reveals his secret to mitigating coastal challenges that has affected his operations in the past.

Selina Lundy


Established in 1941, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune is located within Onslow County, NC, approximately 45 miles south of New Bern and 47 miles north of Wilmington. It covers approximately 246 square miles and is bisected by the New River that flows into the Atlantic Ocean. MCB Camp Lejeune is bordered by the City of Jacksonville, NC and State Route 24 to the north. The Atlantic shoreline is to the south and the east, and U.S. Route 17 is to the west. As of January 2012, MCB Camp Lejeune’s total population is 147,704. The population consists of 46,928 active military personnel, 6,060 civilian employees, 52,585 military family members, and 12,808 reserve/guard personnel.


MCB Camp Lejeune’s Public Works Department, in one form or another, has served the Camp from its inception and is an integral part of the solid waste management system. Its Solid Waste Management Program was developed to ensure that the base successfully satisfies federal, state and Marine Corps solid waste management goals and objectives. The current waste management programs and activities aboard MCB Camp Lejeune have allowed the base to move progressively toward realizing applicable present and future solid waste management requirements. The objective is to provide world-class solid waste services to those marines and sailors who protect our country’s freedom.


Personnel operates the solid waste landfill facility located aboard MCB Camp Lejeune and provides service for more than 1,800 dumpsters comprising of 8 cubic yard front-loaders, 20, 30 and 40 cubic yard roll-offs, and 4,6 and 8 cubic yard drop-bottoms. The Public Works Department is required to operate, maintain, repair and replace the base’s Subtitle D Landfill equipment in a manner that promotes the goals and objectives of the Solid Waste Management Program. The resources used for the collection of solid wastes and recyclables include four piggyback trucks with three drivers, three roll-off trucks with three drivers, and 12 dumpster trucks with 10 drivers.


Corrosion Challenges

Being located on the coast caused extensive corrosion problems with the landfill’s dumpsters. Specifically, the bottoms would fail prematurely. Says Joe Powers, MCB Camp Lejeune’s Public Works Landfill Manager, “We went for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s without funding for purchasing new dumpsters so our inventory of dumpsters got in very bad shape; our bottoms and side walls rusted out, sleeves ripped up, top lids worn off and side/rear doors were not working.” He explains that when the old containers wore out and had to be scrapped, the landfill shared containers with other marine units. “If a unit had three containers and another unit just had one with its bottom rusted out, we would pull a container from the unit that had three and give it to the unit that did not have operative containers. We had to increase frequency of service to that unit causing us to work overtime to keep all of our customers serviced.”

Solving Maintenance Issues

As a result of this ongoing problem, Powers decided that MCB Camp Lejeune had to bring in an outside vendor that specialized in container maintenance. “We had a site visit from Tony Lundy, CEO of Mobile Container Service, for ideas and quotes and found that they could remanufacture our existing fleet at a very reasonable cost,” says Powers.


Mobile Container Service (Danville, VA) is a nationwide maintenance team that paints and repairs containers in 40 states and even Canada. They service front load /rear load dumpsters, roll-off containers, compactors, recycling cans, ship containers and many other types of containers and equipment. Mobile crews will travel directly to the facility to make onsite repairs. Inoperative container inventory will be transformed into more attractive and useable units for a price that will not exceed the customer’s budget.


During the site visit, Mr. Lundy quickly realized that Camp Lejeune was bordering the Atlantic Ocean and that the problems with the dumpster bottoms rusting out were due to the salt in the air. Since the containers purchased in the past were manufactured with light gauge steel, MCS suggested using heavier gauge steel on the replacement bottoms, sidewalls and sleeves. For new containers, they recommended 10 gauge sidewalls with heavier top channels, heavier sleeves, door tracts, and one of the main upgrades COR-TEN bottoms.


Mobile Container Service’s connection with Camp Lejeune has not only enabled them to identify specific needs and develop a plan for meeting those needs, but it has facilitated the whole repairing process as well. Cory Lollis, a Corporate Representative of Mobile Container Service, explains the importance of building relationships with the customers. He states, “Building a relationship with the customer allows us to get a better idea of what their needs are and determine how to meet those needs in a manner that ensures customer satisfaction.” Not only has MCS been able to identify and address Camp Lejeune’s needs, but their connection has ultimately facilitated the repairing process. Lollis clarifies, “Camp Lejeune has provided us with necessary equipment that is required for carrying out the tasks that are involved. With Camp Lejeune’s cooperation, we are able to work together and meet our goals.”


MCS has provided outstanding repair services with prompt, top quality work. They were given 90 days to complete the initial contract requirements but met and exceeded the requirements in less than 20 days. “Since we’ve adopted the new container specs, we haven’t had any bottoms rust out in the last eight years, and we have saved numerous funding dollars by not having to replace them.”


Now, the money that MCS saved them by rebuilding containers versus purchasing new containers is noticed base-wide. “The new containers we purchased from MCS are built with COR-TEN bottoms and last two to three times longer than regular built containers saving us thousands in hard to come by maintenance dollars,” says Powers. “Also, the cost savings of the new heavier gauge container bottoms—which lasts twice as long as the older containers— have been tremendous. The refurbished dumpsters were less than half the cost of new ones. When MCS rebuilds a dumpster, you have a ‘new’ dumpster at a rebuilt dumpster cost.”


Above and Beyond

Instead of purchasing thin gauge new containers every three to four years only to scrap them and buy more, MCS showed MCB Camp Lejeune how they could refurbish those old containers with heavier gauge bottoms and side walls while making them look new. “For a fraction of what we spent on new containers, we are getting a better product. Moreover, we have found substantial savings using MCS services rather than our own in-house maintenance,” expresses Powers. “Thanks to MCS, our containers are lasting much longer and require less maintenance. We have saved taxpayers’ dollars and have been given a world-class fleet of containers for our base.

They went above and beyond normal contractual requirements to ensure that our needs were met in a timely manner.”


Selina Lundy is a freelance writer for Mobile Container Service. For more information, call (800) 448-3785, e-mail or visit