Building A Future

The signs are everywhere that those running AVR, Inc.’s Burnsville, Minn., ready mixed plant are prepared for any eventuality. Replacing an old plant

Steven Prokopy

The signs are everywhere that those running AVR, Inc.’s Burnsville, Minn., ready mixed plant are prepared for any eventuality. Replacing an old plant on a nearby, land-locked site, the company’s new workhorse has central mixed equipment and automation making it possible to run with a two-man crew. It’s abundantly clear that when business picks back up in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area, the new operation will be ready for efficient, high-quality production.

Affiliated with founding entity Fisher Sand & Gravel in (Burnsville-bordering) Apple Valley, as well as sister company AME Red-E-Mix, Inc. of Elk River, Minn., AVR also has embarked on an ambitious and anticipatory program that is a response both to 2008 changes in Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) stormwater regulations and additional environmental rules expected in January 2011. In an effort to prevent wash water from entering the storm drainage system and contaminating a nearby waterway, the 2008 rule prohibits water used for washing out truck chutes after unloading from contacting the ground. AVR is tackling compliance on two fronts: the proprietary, mixer-mounted Booster Washout System; and, full pavement of the 11-acre Burnsville property. Yard pavement also anticipates one of the new regulations taking effect in 2011: elimination of commingled process water (truck and plant mixer washout) and storm water runoff.

Although AVR is still waiting for specific 2011 regulations to be announced, Burnsville plant management meets with regulators frequently to determine a future action plan. Compliance measures will center on a Liebherr reclaimer to capture waste water, which will then be sent through an Alar filtration system, resulting in a closed-loop system. The pieces of the new system are all purchased and sitting at Burnsville, waiting for MPCA to tell us exactly what has to happen, says Josh Edwards, AVR’s director of engineering services, adding that the company will build a separate enclosure for the reclaiming station. We want to reuse all of our water, because this is clearly the future Û and we’re not leaving it to the drivers where to dump their wash water any longer.

AVR’s other plants Û in Buffalo and Monticello, Minn. Û also received major overhauls in the last three years and handle their waste water in a different way. We have a Booster Washout System that buys you time for containing washout from site to plant, explains Edwards. [Returning] drivers dump washout into a three-cell weir system that is cleaned monthly.

All three facilities feature a 50-ft.-high plant enclosure, with an adjacent maintenance shop and garage. The buildings have commercial-grade insulating concrete form walls and in-floor radiant heating, which has cut down on energy consumption significantly, according to Edwards. Although not the brand used for the Burnsville, Buffalo and Monticello plant buildings, the company currently is a distributor for Logix brand ICF components.


The Burnsville plant is built for speed and a wide variety of commercial and agency mix specifications. A drive-over hopper charges twin conveyors feeding 10 overhead aggregate bins. Running a small plant in the middle of a farmer’s field isn’t going to cut it in this environment. We have everything from 11/2 in. to fines, says Edwards. There are very few things we can’t do, including lightweight. Cement comes in primarily from Holcim, with some from Lafarge as well, and is stored in six split silos (four for the primary cement and two split in half to house secondary cements, fly ash, silica fume and/or slag. It’s typical that we have five or six powders on hand at any one time, he adds.

Edwards makes it clear that future business is a major reason for investment in these rebuilt plants, especially considering Burnsville’s proximity to Interstate 35W, accessing the nearby I-494 corridor and Twin Cities’ I-494/694 beltway. This is our shot at getting downtown work and bigger jobs, he says. We’ve already starting getting this work when it’s available. In the interim, he adds, AVR has landed a number of wastewater treatment plants Û public work representing one of the market’s few bright spots against a fall off in private construction.

He adds that the only work available now is anything tied to federal funding Û parking garages for park & ride users, bridges, pavements, rehab facilities, curb and gutter work.