FIRST PLACE – DOLESE BROS. CO. EDMOND BATCH PLANT, EDMOND, OKLA.
The plant is located in a light-industrial and residential area one block west of historic downtown Edmond. West Main Street bisects the facility’s operational areas, dividing it into halves: the parking and returned-mix scatter area and wash rack facility on the north side; batch plant, two-story office building and material storage silos on the south side.
Because this facility is located in a highly visible area with close proximity to businesses, residents, and daily traffic, site appearance and cleanliness are continually monitored and maintained by plant personnel. When they were not batching or delivering concrete, team members built a block retaining wall planter on the street side of a refinished wooden privacy fence as well as planted bushes and seasonal color-spot flowers.
Areas between the plant entrances and exits are grass-planted and meticulously manicured. Large, mature trees have been left on site for both appearance and as part of the landscape. One catalpa tree was planted approximately 115 years ago, and is about 40 feet tall with a base close to 22 feet in circumference. Dolese Bros. points to the specimen as symbol of sustainability and proof that the industry and nature can co-exist on a common location.
Environmental documentation and delineation of responsibility for compliance measures is the order of the day at Edmond and sister operations. Job descriptions are divided into five main categories for managers and team members charged with compliance, monitoring or inspection duties:
- Management Coordinator—Management level personnel ultimately responsible for the approval and implementation of the facility’s environmental program;
- SWP3 or SPCC Coordinator—Company Environmental Manager, who oversees all stages of environmental implementation, planning, recordkeeping, reporting to local, state, and federal agencies, annual inspections, and is the emergency spill commander;
- Implementation Coordinator—General Superintendent of Concrete Operations, who directly oversees adoption and maintenance of best management practices, coordinates environmental activities with plant managers, and partners with the SWP3/SPCC Coordinator on all pollution prevention activities;
- SWP3 or SPCC Officer—Batch Plant Manager, who ensures implementation and maintenance of all best management practices, oversees facility inspections, conducts training, identifies deficiencies and necessary modifications; and,
- Team Member—All on-site plant personnel who normally conduct plant inspections, implement housekeeping procedures and respond to emergency calls and spills.
Environmental performance measurements are evaluated in the company-wide Chinstrap Awards programs. Facilities are assessed and ranked quarterly with criteria that include environmental compliance, best practices implementation, plus proper and timely submittal of paperwork and record-keeping. The Edmond plant consistently ranks within the top 95 percent of in-house environmental evaluations.
SECOND PLACE – JACK B. PARSON COS. SPANISH FORK READY MIX, SPANISH FORK, UTAH
JBP recognizes the impact a ready mixed operation can have on a Utah County community and the impression it has on the many passing Interstate 15 motorists. Consequently, the Spanish Fork plant entrances and exits are paved and swept regularly, and the frontage is landscaped with drought-resistant, native vegetation plus Staker Parson-mined rock products.
Oldcastle Materials’ 5S (Sort, Simplify, Sweep, Standardize, and Self Discipline) program has been followed since the plant opened, tasking individuals with “Sweep Sheets” to document all housekeeping and beautification efforts. Prior to the Spanish Fork construction, special care was given to community concerns. The producer worked with city officials to find a site where a concrete plant would have limited impacts on traffic, environmentally sensitive areas, and local residences.
The facility’s environmental performance is measured against goals in a yearly Corporate Sustainability Report. Greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint and many other important factors are available for community consumption. Along with reporting impacts, JBP has also developed sustainable initiatives and targets, including performance teams to evaluate the use of alternative fuel vehicles, plus practices promoting supplementary cementitious materials use and water conservation. The latter entail process water recycling and stormwater capture.
THIRD PLACE – LAFARGE CANADA INC., VANCOUVER HARBOUR READY-MIX BATCH PLANT, VANCOUVER, B.C.
Lafarge prioritizes plant housekeeping, maintenance, and appearance, knowing a well-managed site equals an effective concrete operation. The overall appearance of the Vancouver Harbour Plant has been significantly improved over the past couple years, thanks especially to a $40,000 investment lining the perimeter with Thuja trees.
Monthly plant inspections log housekeeping, equipment conditions, landscaping, entrance area, signage, parking areas and building condition. In addition, an environmental compliance audit is performed every two years, with separate routine to ensure proper maintenance of the green areas. An Environmental Policy applicable to all Lafarge operations outlines management expectations surrounding compliance, pollution prevention, and sustainable development, plus continuous improvement measures.
The Vancouver Harbour Plant is part of the Lafarge Western Canada Environmental Management System developed to provide employees with information and training regarding environmental policies, procedures, standards, forms and record-keeping. A site-specific EMS manual contains all relevant environmental information for the operation, all environmental reporting, record-keeping, policy, and standards forms. A web-based platform stores and tracks all EMS documents.
HONORABLE MENTION – EASTERN CONCRETE MATERIALS BOGOTA PLANT, BOGOTA, N.J.
With their strong links to safety and environmental compliance, site aesthetics and housekeeping were principle goals for a Bogota plant upgrade the Eastern Concrete Materials team undertook in 2013. The producer additionally sought to improve its reputation in the market, changing how it appeared to customers, neighbors and competitors.
The plant was broken down into functional areas covering every aspect of the facility. Specific goals were assigned to enhance aesthetics, housekeeping, safety, and environmental compliance. The undertaking netted a host of procedures and standards, starting with an Environmental Management System, followed by SWPPP (Quarterly Site, Outfall, and Storm Water Discharge Inspection) and SPCCC (Monthly AST Inspection Checklist) documents; Emergency Response Plan; Daily Driver and Operator Reports; Fleet Maintenance Work Orders; and, Daily and Monthly Plant Inspection Checklists. Maintenance and tidying of trucks, plant iron and the yard rounded out the effort.
True to Eastern Concrete goals, the Bogota plant and six sister facilities attained NRMCA Green-Star certification in 2013—becoming the only metro New Jersey/New York operations to carry such designation. Upgrades and documentation procedures went hand in hand with Green-Star audit preparation and team members left nothing to chance. The Green- Star EMS program demands continuous improvement through documentation and inspection.
Bogota team members have noted the program’s effect on environmental issues, plus operational efficiency. All aspects of fleet and plant operation are associated with some form of environmental impact. Hence, through ensuring plants and equipment were environmentally sound, the Bogota team experienced the residual benefit of enhanced efficiency and profits, the latter growing four fold over the prior year.
HONORABLE MENTION – DOLESE BROS. CO. MIDTOWN BATCH PLANT, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA.
Midtown Plant employees uphold the show-place image of their NRMCA Green-Star certified facility, respecting its high visibility in the heart of Oklahoma City and proximity to an expanding redevelopment area known as historic Bricktown. The site is observable from an elevated perspective to more than 100,000 vehicles that travel the nearby Interstate-40 and Interstate-235 junction daily.
A large Bermuda-grassed earthen berm with an integral sprinkler system has been constructed around the property, while block retaining walls have been constructed to protect trees. A large cattail garden is strategically located between the earthen berm and the truck wash rack and returned concrete scatter area to help screen these activities.
As with other Dolese Bros. Oklahoma operations, the Midtown site is no stranger to severe weather events evoking “Tornado Alley” labels. Because of the operational challenges associated with tornadic weather and employee safety, an engineer evaluated the Midtown site, and designed steel-reinforced entrance doors to the buried aggregate pile’s drawn-down tunnel—yielding a tornado shelter.
The plant entered this decade set for a milestone contract running two years and consuming 180,000 yd. of concrete: the 50-story Devon Energy Tower, which rose at a one floor per week rate. Dolese Bros. held a primary contract and delivered concretes with 6,000 to 12,000 psi design strength.