The 17th annual Commitment to Environmental Excellence Awards program recognized 11 ready mixed facilities in six states and Canada as industry leaders in environmental stewardship.Winners in each of four categories were honored for not only satisfying, but surpassing governmental compliance measures through plant and staff investment. The competition’s cosponsors, Concrete Products and the Environmental Task Group of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee, honored award recipients in late-September at NRMCA’s ConcreteWorks Conference & Expo in San Diego.
To select winning operations, a panel of judges consisting of regulatory officials, industry and environmental consultants, reviews written reports and photographs to evaluate entries. Submissions are evaluated on the basis of 10 criteria, including site aesthetics, documented plant procedures, training and employee involvement, air- and water-pollution control methods, noise-abatement measures, community relations, operating challenges, and overall management commitment.
Environmental Excellence program entries were divided into four categories based on 2010 production volumes: A for plants producing less than 25,000 yd.; B for plants producing 25,001 to 50,000 yd.; C for plants producing 50,001 to 100,000 yd.; and, D for plants producing 100,001 to 200,000 yd.
Any NRMCA member company in good standing, owning a fixed U.S. or Canadian plant that has operated in full compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations for a minimum of two years is eligible to enter the Environmental Excellence Awards program. Since contestants’ participation is vital to sustaining the competition, producers are encouraged to enter their plants for the 2012 event. Entry forms are available at www.nrmca.org.
Category A First Place
Transit Mix Concrete & Materials Company Seven Points Plant, Seven Points, Texas
The Seven Points Plant was the first concrete batch plant to become Green-Star certified by the NRMCA in May 2008. The facility was designed to discharge zero process water. All water from the batch plant and truck rinse stand (primarily process water) is designed to drain to washout pits where it is contained for recycling in select batches or equipment rinse. Furthermore, the plant comes complete with its own reverse air, recycling central dust collector with a 99.9 percent filtering efficiency.
Category A Second Place
Concrete Supply Company Gastonia Plant, Gastonia, N.C.
To help the Gastonia Plant exceed its environmental commitment, staff created an Environmental Management System and participates in the NRMCA Green-Star Program. The plant controls fugitive roadway dust with the use of a water truck that washes down the yard twice a month with untreated, recycled water. When concrete is returned, it is either taken to a partner crushing/recycling facility offsite while still in a plastic state in the mixer, or it is stripped out on the ground and allowed to harden before hauled for crushing and recycling.
Category A Honorable Mention
Central Carolina Concrete Winston-Salem Plant, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Some of the Winston-Salem Plant’s best environmental management practices are utilized within the design of the wash pit structure. The water supply for the trucks is set up with the ability to use city and/or recycled water, based on the need. Additionally, a spring-loaded automatic water saver nozzle is equipped on hoses for washing off the trucks. Recycled water that is used for washing out drums is set on a timer in order to minimize water usage and driver time at the rack.
Category B First Place
Dolese Bros. Co. Piedmont Plant, Piedmont, Okla.
The Piedmont Plant has reclaiming and recycling procedures that address the management of concrete not used at the jobsite and returned to the plant, including reselling the leftover mixes for paving. To abate fugitive emissions, particularly roadway dust, the plant has begun to pave all of the travel ways at the site. Over half of the yard is currently paved, and the rest will be paved using returned concrete. The plant also has a load-point dust collector to capture emissions that are created during the loading of the concrete materials into the mixer.
Category B Second Place
Transit Mix Concrete & Materials Company Mabank Plant, Mabank, Texas
Since being acquired in late 2006, the Mabank Plant has been upgraded with features such as a four-bay recycle pit, retention pond, and central dust collector. All facility water from the batch plant and truck rinse stand (primarily process water) is designed to drain to the recycle pit where the water is prevented from discharging by recycling to the batch. Concrete left over from a job is typically spread on-site as thin as possible then allowed to dry and win-rowed. Once dried, the material is stockpiled and later sold as base material.
Category A Honorable Mention
Essroc Ready Mix Strasburg Plant, Strasburg, Va.
The Green-Star-certified Strasburg Plant started an Environmental Management System in 2010 to reduce fresh water usage and diesel fuel usage per yard of concrete. During the plant’s last two six-month cycles on the EMS, fresh water was reduced by 10 percent. The plant’s process water is reclaimed and used for end-of-the-day truck wash out. Reclaimed gray water is used for daily dust control in the adjacent quarry operation.
Category B Honorable Mention
Essroc Ready Mix Stephenson Plant, Stephenson, Va.
At the Stephenson Plant, returned product is handled through the casting of concrete blocks on site, which minimizes the amount of reclaimed material in the settling basins and allows the plant to make a small return on “waste” material. Moreover, during summer months when stockpile dust is a major concern, the stockpiles are watered to maintain a moist product and reduce the emissions from the piles. The Stephenson Plant became Green-Star certified in January 2011.
Category C First Place
Dolese Bros. Co. Moore Plant, Moore, Okla.
At the Moore Plant, no hoses are available for use in the vicinity of the concrete load-point, except those fitted with a bent pipe dispenser used to fill the truck’s spare water tank. This is a way to reduce the generation of process water. Also at the batch plant, Dolese Blocks are made from returned concrete placed into 2- x 2- x 4-ft. forms in a designated casting area. When completed, the large blocks are stackable and can be moved by means of their integral lifting loops.
Category C Second Place
Nebco, Inc. Lincoln Plant, Lincoln, Neb.
At the Lincoln Plant, chemicals are reviewed with a request for an MSDS sheet prior to purchase, and selected for their suitability to use, safety, and environmental impacts. Substances are also evaluated for re-use/recycle prior to being removed from the site. There is a 100 percent recycle use of site water at the facility. This is due in part to transit mixer wash water being collected in a non-discharging pit, as well as capture of water flowing from paved areas. Both are included in the water recycling process.
Category C Honorable Mention
Cemstone Dayton Plant, Dayton, Minn.
The Dayton Plant is a seven-acre parcel containing a batch plant and maintenance shop. A weir system is located onsite allowing for the process water to be re-used in the batching of new concrete. Process water flow is limited to the triangle of loading point, weir and wash racks. All returned concrete is trucked to nearby Elk River, Minn., where it is crushed into recycle fill and 3-in. rock. Furthermore, the central mixer is connected to a central dust collection system to minimize any airborne dust.
Category D First Place
Lafarge Canada, Inc. Vancouver Plant, Vancouver, British Columbia
A key attribute of the design of the new Vancouver Plant is the focus on dust emission prevention. The aggregate feed system and batch plant are fully enclosed to reduce fugitive dust emissions. Also, truck-loading areas, silos and weigh bins are enclosed within the plant. The facility also includes an Enviro-Port concrete reclaimer system. Returned concrete slurry from mixer trucks is poured into the Enviro-Port and then sluiced to an agitated tank for separation of components. The gray water stays in suspension, and the solids are removed via a screw conveyor and are later re-introduced back to the batch plant with fresh aggregates. Underscoring the plant’s commitment to environmental excellence, beyond equipment investment: It was built with an elevated bed landscaping plan to protect a tree with nesting bald eagles.