FIRST PLACE – DOLESE BROS. CO.
SOUTH NORMAN BATCH PLANT, NORMAN, OKLAHOMA
Committed to pollution prevention and maintaining the highest standards of compliance, management supports the use of staff time, equipment, and materials necessary to uphold environmental integrity at South Norman and all sister concrete and aggregate plants. Compliance accountability is spread across individual site personnel, Dolese Bros. corporate environmental staff and management.
Construction and maintenance records attest to the producer’s concern for the preservation of nature’s bounties and future generations. Current stewardship efforts include a) participation in the study and development of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, which will assure water supplies in the decades ahead; b) promoting the use of supplemental cementitious materials; and, c) implementing significant energy-reduction measures across the enterprise.
Concern for future customers and community residents is part of a cycle that has shaped the South Norman Plant. Established in 1963, the original site was in a rural location and had intermittent concrete operations through the early 2000s. By then, the population of Norman had more than tripled, and the city’s footprint had grown from 16 to 190 square miles. The exponential expansion owed to proximity to the Oklahoma City metro area, and growth of primary economic driver in Norman: the University of Oklahoma and related research activities.
In 2008, CNN’s Money magazine ranked Norman as the Sixth Best Small City in the United States to live. That year saw Dolese Bros. initiate a complete plant overhaul. The site was cleared and rebuilt from scratch, and the new facility configured for efficient traffic flow, concrete production, water management, plus material delivery, storage and transfer. Although no residential neighborhoods abut the property, work included construction of a 2-ft. thick concrete perimeter wall up to 18 ft. high—known internally as the Great Wall of Norman—to provide visual screening as well as noise abatement to future neighbors.
South Norman features a central-mixed plant, concrete stave silos, plus newer buildings or enclosures for control and boiler rooms, compressor, drum storage shop and admixture tanks. A large, grassy swale in the plant area provides natural filtering media for runoff to a stormwater pond, bordered by mature cattails. A paved parking area easily accommodates two dozen or more trucks. The display of clean and symmetrically aligned mixers—flanking a fueling station with an 8,000-gal. aboveground tank—underscores South Norman employees’ commitment to an orderly workplace for ready mixed concrete production.
RUNNER-UP – PREFERRED MATERIALS, INC.
ODESSA CONCRETE PLANT, ODESSA, FLORIDA
A web-based Environmental Management System (EMS), Intelex, assists Odessa plant management and staff in tracking permit expiration dates; sends email reminders for monthly inspections or other programmed environmental tasks; and, flags instances where tasks or inspections are not completed on time.
Preferred Materials keeps all permits and records electronically on a company share drive, eliminating the need for paper copies and making all records easily accessible to staff responsible for environmental management matters. An inspection and audit regimen charges the plant manager with monthly baghouse, dust maintenance log, fuel tank and oil storage checks.
Improvements to the Intelex EMS stem partly from staff-wide email messages; dubbed Green Alerts, they spotlight or solicit feedback on spill prevention, storm water management, regulatory inspections, record retention, environmental policy, endangered species awareness, fluorescent bulb, and battery management or recycling.
New this year has been the Star Program, which recognizes on a quarterly basis those team members who best demonstrate to customers how Preferred Materials represents or adheres to principles of Good People, Smart Proactive Partners, and Community-Mindedness. The program builds on community outreach efforts from Odessa staff such as a Wildlife Habitat Team. In 2014, it partnered with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) to develop a plan to enhance wildlife at the site and encourage employee and community environmental stewardship.
A walkway was poured to showcase pervious concrete, one of Preferred Materials’ environmentally friendly products. A kickoff event, in partnership with the Native Plant Society, saw Odessa staff and peers from sister Oldcastle businesses plant hundreds of Florida species across two acres abutting the ready mixed operation. The goal was to attract pollinators and other wildlife; special emphasis was made on milkweed plantings to promote the threatened Monarch butterfly. Wildlife Habitat Team members anticipate WHC certification of the project by year’s end.
Future goals for this project center on community involvement. Presentations at local schools will allow staff members to explain what Preferred Materials does as a company and how the Odessa Plant habitat project is consistent with a broader Oldcastle philosophy. Visitors young and old can tour the operation and experience native Florida plants and fauna. The Wildlife Habitat Team’s community outreach parallels efforts of Preferred Materials’ Green Teams, which engage in projects throughout the year, among them a Ronald McDonald House meal preparation (shown here).
HONORABLE MENTION – MASCHMEYER CONCRETE COMPANY OF FLORIDA, INC.
|Maschmeyer Concrete is Palm Beach County’s primary front discharge mixer operator. Through Mentor Driver Training and NRMCA driver environmental awareness series, it continues to educate and train ready mixed delivery professional on industry policies and procedures at the plant and job site.|
LAKE PARK PLANT, LAKE PARK, FLORIDA
Lake Park is the flagship of one of the Sunshine State’s key independent ready mixed producers, marking 30 years in operation this year. The business makes the most of two acres, combining concrete production, reinforcing steel fabrication and building supply sales. It is located in an industrial area, populated by businesses that count on their concrete neighbor to operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
Maschmeyer Concrete’s sensitivity to neighbors is evident at the Lake Park property’s north, west and south elevations, which are landscaped with palm trees, hedges and sod. They do much to conceal a transit mixed plant and alley; truck staging area; office building for administrative, central dispatch and customer service functions; plus, areas for steel and building supply sales.
Land limitations and environmental concerns compel Maschmeyer Concrete’s attention to minimizing returned-mix volume. The producer maintains a proactive education program for customers and quality control staff on ready mixed quantity estimating and ordering, and—where specs and delivery windows permit—reusing returned concrete in new orders. Material too old to reuse becomes part of Lake Park Plant’s closed loop system, oriented around Florida Department of Environmental Protection parameters. The FDEP generic permit for Concrete Batch Plants defines the drum washing process and handling of material that has been in contact with the inside of the mixer drum. The Lake Park operation uses an FDEP-approved Type II facility system, combining reclaiming methods for coarse and fine aggregate; block making; and, ribboning mixes so hardened material is easily processed as fill or base.
Maschmeyer Concrete opens the Lake Park Plant and office to the FDEP as a training facility. The arrangement helps new or experienced agency field inspectors have a practical understanding of air and water permits for concrete plants; most, if not all, visitors leave Lake Park with new perspective on compliance-driven, best management practices in ready mixed production.
Company officials respect how such practices evolve to shape a plant’s environmental profile. To that end, Maschmeyer Concrete has worked with Florida Power & Light Energy Division to identify a number of Lake Park Plant areas with room for energy efficiency improvement. FPL audits have spurred changes or upgrades to electrical supply boxes, lines to the plant, compressors, hydraulic systems, conveyors, and steel fabrication tools.
HONORABLE MENTION – MARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS
VALMONT CONCRETE PLANT, BOULDER, COLORADO
Plant staff strive to exceed the high environmental standards that attend an industrial business operating in a city known for outdoor enthusiasts and Rocky Mountain scenery. The site spans a concrete plant, office building and truck repair facility, and surrounds a rock formation that is part of the Valmont Butte. The plant forms a U shape around the base of the butte; that configuration, coupled with stone pattern concrete wall on the north side of the property, facing a highway, and a wood fence minimize the impact on the surroundings. Such abatement measures and aesthetic treatments suit an area that has considerable historic significance, owing to previous mining operations and Native American rituals.
Valmont Plant managers have a variety of tools and procedures to augment regulatory compliance and document performance. An inspector-ready environmental binder contains all permits, documentation and monthly reports required for the operation. A checklist is posted to apprise staff on a daily, monthly or yearly basis what checks or inspections are required. Permits are located in an electronic land and environmental data management system that allows personnel to pull files and track paperwork, and notify the environmental manager of upcoming renewals. Plant staff members assist corporate environmental managers during semiannual site visits, in addition to routine paperwork and environmental policy reviews. Every three years, a thorough internal audit is done on all permits, housekeeping, vendors, and zoning to verify existing site conditions.
Recent changes in project scheduling for Boulder area contractors and developers have necessitated an earlier start at the Valmont Plant. To allay neighbors’ concerns with noise from cement unloading, Martin Marietta installed barrier walls to lower pneumatic equipment decibel levels. Additional community goodwill was realized after a recent flood, which destroyed a dam and surrounding bank on a nearby lake (shown here) that supplies area businesses. Martin Marietta designed and managed the installation of a new dam to ensure proper water supply.
Environmental stewardship plays an increasing role in day-to-day Valmont operation, from concrete mix designs to equipment maintenance to water usage. Management has committed to promoting mixes with higher recycled material and byproducts content. An annual infrared and vibration analysis spotlights electrical or mechanical equipment repair or replacement needs, in turn eliminating potential plant downtime and site pollution or contamination stemming from machine failure. Additional measures to capture and manage storm and process water have lowered overall water consumption, and curtailed the potential for site run off.
HONORABLE MENTION – READY MIX CONCRETE
LINCOLN COLLEGE VIEW PLANT, LINCOLN, NEBRASKA
The College View Plant returns to the Environmental Excellence program. Since recognition in 2013, Ready Mix Concrete has seen its environmental coordinator receive the Nebraska Industrial Council on the Environment’s Environmental Leadership Excellence Award for innovation, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 staff conclude an inspection by observing how the plant’s SWPPP performance exceeds permit requirements.
Strong management practices across environmental, safety and fleet operations have also seen Ready Mix Concrete staff provide site tours for agency representatives from Lincoln and Omaha, plus peers in ready mixed and precast concrete. The Nebraska Concrete & Aggregates Association has enlisted the producer for presentations on best stormwater management practices and spill prevention measures.
College View Plant visitors and neighbors can quickly note the attention to site aesthetics: green belts between plant and street; paved roads and yard; grass berm, plants, and trees blocking outside views of water pits and aggregate bunkers; greenery-concealed truck parking; and, concrete enclosures for aggregate storage and all material handling and production phases. A decorative block wall frames the south property line in lieu of a much lesser, but more common industrial site element: a chain link fence.
Ready Mix Concrete management tasks a SWPP Team with such duties as dry day test to assess surface drainage; ensuring oversight for transfer of all materials; preventing surface fuel storage and electronically monitoring underground fuel tanks; maintaining sorbent at pump station; monthly plan & permit compliance checks; and, annual facility review with the corporate environmental coordinator. All managers attend monthly safety and environmental meetings. All plant staff members attend an annual review and training session focused on safety & environmental programs. The producer’s environmental coordinator is a Department of Roads-certified Sediment & Erosion Inspector, and holds NRMCA Environmental Professional Certification.
Management of returned concrete, settled solids and slurry water at College View aligns with a state of Nebraska zero waste target for industry. Ready Mix Concrete estimates that in 2014, the College View Plant diverted nearly 10,000 tons of waste concrete and rubble from landfills and did not discharge any treated process water. That benchmark was attained through established, zero waste-minded procedures: Returned concrete is repurposed into bunker or decorative blocks for sale; bottom slurry from settling ponds is dried, screened and sold as fill. Any rubble is crushed and sold as rip-rap, crushed concrete and road rock. Staff recycles all pit wash water in truck wash out or new concrete orders. A BFK reclaimer removes aggregates from wash water, solids from which are captured by a Grabber filter press; dry cakes, in turn, are sent to a crushing and screening station yielding fill material. Surface collector drains in the truck staging area are equipped with Flex-Storm inserts that capture aggregates—preventing drain system entry.