Eight producers serving six states were recognized as industry leaders in environmental stewardship by judges for the 12th annual Commitment to Environmental
Eight producers serving six states were recognized as industry leaders in environmental stewardship by judges for the 12th annual Commitment to Environmental Excellence Awards. Program cosponsors Concrete Products magazine and the Environmental Task Group of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Operations, Environment and Safety Committee further commend all of this year’s contestants for their dedication to environmental initiatives. The recently introduced Comeback Kid award honors those companies that have invested significant capital and effort to upgrade an old plant to the level of a model facility.
The Environmental Excellence Awards program is open to any NRMCA member company owning a fixed plant in the U.S. or Canada. To be eligible, facilities must have operated in full compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations for a minimum of two years. Criteria weighed by the judges include compliance, site aesthetics, written plant procedures, training and employee involvement, water/solid waste management, air quality management, community relations, operating challenges, overall management commitment, and environmental delivery awareness. Thus, written overviews of each criterion are submitted by contestants with photos illustrating air- and water-pollution control methods, noise abatement measures, and landscaping.
Entries for the Environmental Excellence program are split into three categories based on the plant’s annual production volume: A for plants producing less than 50,000 yd.; B for plants producing between 50,000 and 100,000 yd.; and C for plants producing more than 100,000 yd.
Serving as judges in this year’s competition were four industry professionals:
- Thomas Carter, Portland Cement Association, Washington, D.C., office
- Becky Morris, Aggregate Industries Inc., Mid Atlantic Region, Washington, D.C.
- John Hayden, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, Alexandria, Va.
- Doug Ruhlin, Resource Management Associates, Forked River, N.J.
As the Environmental Excellence Awards program is sustained by contestants’ participation, eligible producers are encouraged to enter their plants later this year for the 2007 competition. Entry forms are available at www.nrmca.org.
TRANSIT MIX CONCRETE & MATERIALS CO. CORSICANA PLANT CORSICANA, TEXAS
Transit Mix’s Corsicana Plant acquisition brought multiple environmental challenges, as the facility had been operating since the ’50s with minimal paving and faulty process water discharge. A leaking fuel tank was also part of the package. Dramatic improvements upon relocation to the present site in 2001 included paving for all operational areas, a central dust collector to reduce fugitive emissions, a functional washout pit, a large retention pond with recycling pumps to promote water conservation, and a grass berm inside the perimeter fence to help ensure a zero-discharge plant.
A HONORABLE MENTION
CHANDLER CONCRETE CO. EDEN PLANT EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA
For the 1.7-acre Eden Plant, bordered by residences and commercial operations in the town’s old Draper sector, accommodating truck traffic and controlling fugitive dust and noise are chief priorities. During a daily visual inspection of the plant’s property, close attention is given to the bag houses and water run-off areas. As modified, the plant layout includes two potential discharge points: one for storm water and one for process water. Accordingly, facility improvements required constructing a series of settling basins along the south edge of the property and a containment basin for chemical admixtures; closing the underground tank; installing two aboveground insulated water tanks; building a retaining wall along the north property; and, erecting a chain-link fence around the plant perimeter.
A HONORABLE MENTION
CENTRAL WASHINGTON CONCRETE BAKER FLATS PLANT EAST WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON
While the 7.5-acre Baker Flats Plant Û located in an industrial zone Û faces no zoning, noise volume, or traffic issues, high winds present a significant operating challenge. Some days, controlling fugitive emissions can be a full-time job for the site-dedicated water truck. Additionally, three baghouses capture dust from truck loading, cement unloading, and the weigh hopper. A dust collector also checks emissions from cement silo loading as well as the weigh hopper/batcher; and, the truck charging station is equipped with a fitted shroud Super Sucker. Paved surfaces contribute to both air quality and water/solid waste management. Implementing a closed-loop mixer-truck washout system, the plant layout incorporates four concrete bays that allow cement, sand, and gravel to settle. After a front-end loader removes settled material for drying and crushing to produce road base, the water is recycled for truck washout.
MASCHMEYER CONCRETE CO. MARTIN COUNTY PLANT STUART, FLORIDA
In recruiting, training, and retaining high-quality team members Û undeterred by occasional hurricane squalls Û Maschmeyer’s Martin County Plant aims to build a first-rate work force fully vested in the operation. To that end, a Team Member Handbook outlines employee procedures; Drum Beat magazine communicates company news to both employees and customers; bonus load, yearly safety bonus, and delivery professional referral bonus programs reward initiative and extra effort; and, an annual truck and operator rodeo provides entertainment, plus cash prizes for winners. Further enhancing employment at the facility is a site layout optimized for ease and efficiency. Basic procedures save hours of maintenance time and prevent contamination, e.g., aggregate trucks never cross mixer truck paths, and water/solid waste is captured immediately through source point collection. Maximum water recycling is achieved by multiple settlings of all contaminated water prior to discharge into the pond system; automation of all settling pits and ponds; and, regular inspection of all systems to insure proper functioning.
B HONORABLE MENTION
S & W READY MIX CONCRETE CO. CASTLE HAYNE PLANT CASTLE HAYNE, NORTH CAROLINA
Besides best management practices used to perform routine daily tasks in an environmentally responsible manner, a plant design emphasizing ÎgreenÌ principles makes the Castle Hayne facility an outstanding example of environmental stewardship. A three-stage, sediment pit system collects water used at the truck wash-down area; water thus obtained is recycled for use in the batching process, creating a closed-loop system that conserves fresh water while eliminating the need to dispose of process water. Minimizing the amount of truck rinse water needed, moreover, is a central dust control system Û approved and permitted by the NCDENR Air Quality Section Û that captures emissions from cement and fly ash silos, plus a shroud lowered around the rear of vehicles at the truck loadout station to channel fugitive dust into the fly ash silo for reuse. Sediment removed periodically from the pits is incorporated into returned concrete and stockpiled for processing by a company-owned portable crusher to produce road base and fill material for sale. Storm water management is accomplished by means of grassy, pervious areas and a two-stage retaining pond system.
GLACIER NORTHWEST, INC. HILLSBORO PLANT HILLSBORO, OREGON
Maintaining a 400-yd./hour production rate on a 5.03-acre footprint requires a tight operation. In addition to running central mixed and dry batch simultaneously, the facility employs sophisticated environmental controls to regulate process- and storm water quality, air emissions, and solids recycling. The process-water handling system comprises a 7,000-gal. agitated cell followed by two 10,000-gal. treatment cells, divided by a weir and sloped to aid in solids removal during maintenance. Water collected in the second 10,000-gal. cell is delivered to a vertical 20,000-gal. treatment tank, where water is circulated from bottom to top, monitored and adjusted for pH levels (by the addition of muratic acid), and permitted to settle before delivery to a 20,000-gal. freshwater tank that feeds dust-control, process-area cleaning, and batching functions. Eliminating the need for spray bars Û thereby further minimizing water consumption Û is an 8,000-cfm dust collector connected to a hood with skirts at the truck-loading stations.
C HONORABLE MENTION
CEMEX, INC. NAVIGATION PLANT HOUSTON, TEXAS
The Navigation Plant’s location presents its greatest challenge: situated in an industrial sector bordering residential areas and heavily traveled highways, the facility is also surrounded on three sides by Buffalo Bayou. Accordingly, clean trucks and fugitive dust control are given top priority. Each batch plant is equipped with baghouse dust-collector systems to capture airborne dust during loading and unloading operations. Effective water management is achieved with a closed-loop system incorporating a four-basin, concrete weir structure to collect and clarify all process water. Included in the system are fibrous filters installed in basin weir cuts to trap solids and clarify water for the next basin; wire baskets containing flocculent gel logs in weir cuts to settle solids and promote purification; and, a recycling system that directs clarified water from the last basin to batching and truck-rinsing stations. A 60,000-gal. holding tank is used to collect and recycle remaining output. Process waters are directed to the weir structure by contoured concrete paving and swales, plus large drive-over berms segregating the process area to eliminate storm water run-on from other locales.
C HONORABLE MENTION
CATALINA PACIFIC IRVINE PLANT IRVINE, CALIFORNIA
Built in the mid-1970s as a satellite facility, the Irvine Plant was eventually upgraded to meet growing demand in Orange County. Though an impressive production rate of 180 yd./hour and annual shipping volumes exceeding 150,000 yd. were attained with operational improvements, the facility’s environmental measures failed to keep pace with increasingly stringent regulations. Grading specifications for mid-’70s concrete plants called for highest elevations at the yard’s center to ensure off-site water flow; thus, environmental reconstruction required concrete curbing and V-ditches to help contain and redirect process water into concrete-lined settling ponds. Today, clarified process water pumped from the settling ponds into a 10,000-gal. holding tank is recycled for use in the production stream. To handle 200-plus yd. of excess/return concrete, on average, plus an additional 100 yd. of waste solids from the washout ponds, cast-in-place walls and berms were constructed to replace bunkers built of stack and stagger block. All excess concrete and washout are hauled to a designated crushing site for processing into base material.