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Ultimately Welcome

Chaney Enterprises shows ready mixed production done right for a growing community questioning concrete capacity needs

Sound management of concrete and aggregate plant and fleet operations, plus deep community involvement and charitable commitments, are cornerstones of Chaney Enterprises. When the Maryland-based producer looked to extend its Virginia footprint, however, a solid reputation on both sides of the Potomac River was only part of the ticket to a permit for a ready mixed plant on an industrial site comfortably isolated from residential zones.

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Chaney Enterprises made good on architectural treatment, aesthetic touch and landscaping commitments critical to a go ahead on the Lorton, Va. plant. A drone-assisted survey of the site and surroundings led to selection of the light mocha color for the siding that encloses the bulk of the batch plant and serves as a veneer for the insulated concrete form panel-built batch office and driver breakroom building (left). By contrast, plant graphics at other Chaney Enterprises operations follow the signature yellow and red combination. PHOTO: Chaney Enterprises
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Lorton site topography augments an exhaustive process water and runoff management plan. Process water from the charging alley flows to a four-part weir collection system, where trucks wash out. The system also collects runoff conveyed through a wide, curving trench adjacent to or below paved areas serving stockpiles and mixer, dump or tanker traffic. Stormwater volumes exceeding the weir capacity can be diverted to a swale along the front of the property. At peak levels, the plant is permitted to discharge settled process water to the municipal storm sewer—a condition for which Chaney Enterprises deploys Fortrans’ automated pH measurement and carbon dioxide injection-based adjustment equipment.
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The batch office and driver break room served as a small scale test of the panelized insulated concrete form building method Chaney Enterprises promotes as a ready mixed producer with a sister ICF specialist, BuilderUp. The ICF construction is evident in the batch office window depth and tempered interior noise levels. Severna Park, Md. dealer Concrete Plants Inc. delivered the operation’s Stephens Eagle transit mixed, C&W dust collection and Pearson Heating Systems equipment.
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The producer’s fleet graphics program has long embraced local causes in Maryland and Virginia communities. With a nod from the Virginia Tourism Association, a few trucks based at Lorton bear the “Virginia is for lovers” slogan.

Outreach, followed by some extraordinary site survey gestures and architectural treatments, led to the Spring 2019 opening of Chaney Enterprises’ first concrete plant in Fairfax County. The operation occupies a wide, four-acre site in Lorton, located on the south end of the county. The property is accessed by a service road and backs up to a generous buffer zone along Interstate 95.

Significant energy in the permitting phase was devoted to work with the South County Federation, a group of communities or subdivisions and homeowner or civic associations in southeast Fairfax County. The proposed plant was subject to input from the Federation’s Land Use Committee, which reviews applications before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
“Committee members saw how we operate elsewhere in Virginia and Maryland, and what we would do to make a new plant fit the Lorton site and surroundings,” says Chaney Enterprises Concrete Operations Officer Jeffrey Slagle. “On multiple occasions they acknowledged our community-minded approach to operating, but still claimed they didn’t want another concrete plant in the area.”

The producer secured a go ahead after committing to a) requisite dust, nuisance lighting and noise control measures, chiefly concrete pavement throughout all operating areas, central dust collector installation and replacement of conventional mixer truck back up alarms with “shh, shh” white noise-style alerts; b) process water and runoff treatment or impoundment, attained via a paved, curving trench and natural site sloping toward four-stage weir structure; and, c) critical plant enclosure, equipment and office building provisions.

Leading those provisions are 65-ft. height limit and lighter mocha color scheme for the cement silo, overhead material storage and transfer enclosure siding, aggregate hopper, and much of the conveyor truss and catwalk rails. The height threshold was determined partly with the assistance of a surveyor, who raised a balloon with which South County Federation representatives could gauge silo and batch plant enclosure sight lines.

Architectural metal siding continues from the plant enclosure to a two-level batch office and driver breakroom, built with a panelized insulated concrete form system Chaney promotes through BuilderUp, a three-store contractor supply business serving the Washington, D.C. metro area. ICF components are panelized off-site and delivered to the jobsite ready to be braced and poured—enabling wall construction in hours versus the longer windows typical of older ICF building methods.

Early on, the Lorton facility logged National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Green-Star Certification, indicating an effective environmental management system to spur continuous improvement against regularly assessed operating benchmarks. Green-Star recognizes member producers who adhere to essential principals of the ready mixed industry’s environmental and sustainability movement.

CAPACITY NEEDS

Chaney Enterprises operates 13 Maryland and five Virginia ready mixed plants, and supplies a sizable percentage of the concrete sand consumed throughout metro Washington, D.C. Stephens Mfg.-equipped Lorton is the newest of the ready mixed sites, and positions the producer closer to some of the most active areas along the Interstate 95/495 Beltway encompassing the nation’s capital and close-in Virginia and Maryland towns.

Growth in the Census Bureau’s Washington, D.C. and Arlington-Alexandria, Va. area paced better than 10 percent over 2010-2019, bringing population upward of 6.3 million. That trajectory was especially evident in Fairfax County, Va., where defense and information technology businesses serving the federal government, plus an emerging concentration of data centers, have driven residential and commercial building demand. Adding to those market catalysts will be the development of a major Amazon.com Inc. satellite operation in Arlington—part of the company’s quest for a second headquarters outside Seattle.

The Lorton plant lies just off an I-95 interchange and can access key points to the north, including Alexandria and Arlington sites. No stranger to the challenges of timely concrete delivery in a metro area notorious for heavy, unpredictable traffic, Chaney Enterprises has recently adopted the GCP Verifi in-transit management system in mixer truck specs. The on-board device continuously monitors and reports delivery phase and mix properties, automatically dosing loads with water and admixtures to ensure trucks arrive with slump at target levels.

“Working with a time-restricted perishable product like concrete that can only travel short distances, local plants are a requirement to get the job done,” says Chaney Enterprises President Francis “Hall” Chaney, III. “Plants like our new Lorton site also assist the local community and economy. We are proud to now be supporting more of Northern Virginia.”

“Companies that are passionately committed to their communities, work and environment, align well with our priority to continue to create a diverse and healthy environment for all residents, businesses, and travelers, alike,” adds Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “Chaney Enterprises has already shown its commitment to the Lorton community by providing a long awaited ‘Welcome to Lorton.’ Thank you and welcome to the District.”