Going the Extra Mile
These improvements helped Huntsville Quarry earn air pollution control achievement awards from the city for the past three years. “It’s all about trying to improve air pollution control, and the city feels that our efforts deserve recognition,” Christopher says.
The quarry helps keep the environment clean by recirculating all the water that comes through the facility. “We’re very conscious of controlling any surface and process water that tries to leave our property,” Christopher says. “We capture it all in a settling pond system. The solids settle out, and then we pump the water back to the plant for use in dust control, to use in the water truck, and to wash the rock for concrete and asphalt use. It all recirculates. With the implementation of our water management program, the quarry has reduced its consumption of purchased water by over 40 million gallons per year. We have Rain Bird sprinklers along the plant entrance to water the grass and keep the asphalt pavement wet for traffic dust control.”
All screening towers in the finishing plant are enclosed. This, by design, helps reduce wind-blown dust and noise generated in the screening process.
Along with weekly sweeping of the paved areas of the facility, Huntsville Quarry has two wheel wash systems that help prevent tracking into the community.
The first system is located at the truck scales. An electronic eye is tripped by each truck as it approaches the scales. The sprayers activate and clean the wheels and the chassis. This helps prevent tracking onto the scales, as well as tracking out of the quarry.
A second wheel wash system is located at the front gate where it washes the tires of every vehicle that leaves the quarry. This system is quite different from the other. It doesn’t use as much water as the first, as the water is pumped up through pipes beneath the pavement rather than being sprayed. An electronic eye senses the approach of each vehicle and increases the flow of the water, so every vehicle leaves the quarry with clean tires.
Both wheel wash systems have drains that collect the used water to return it to the settling pond system, where it is recycled and reused.
Another environmentally friendly program the quarry participates in involves electricity usage. “Our electric power is supplied through distributors of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority),” Christopher says. “TVA has offered a seasonal time-of-use power rate. If we operate our facility during hours that are more friendly to their generation needs, the distributor offers us a lower cost rate.”
In the summer, those hours begin at 4:45 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. “If we go beyond 1 o’clock, our electricity becomes dramatically more expensive,” Christopher says. “TVA encourages people who can do it to consume the majority of their electricity in off-peak power times, due to seasonal generation issues. We’ve been participating in the cost-saving program for six years now. This effort speaks to the environmental issue of additional fossil fuel burn required to increase power generation in the Tennessee Valley.”
Even though the processing plant shuts down at 1 p.m. during the summer months, the scales stay open until 5 p.m, allowing customer trucks to haul all day. The quarry has seen as many as 55 to 60 trucks per hour cross the scales.
Involving the community
Huntsville Quarry takes advantage of every opportunity to communicate with and educate the community about the aggregate industry by inviting them out to the quarry, giving tours, and explaining what the quarry does. “One of the most popular events is our annual Open House,” Christopher says. “This year, we had almost 600 attendees. Lunch is catered for local leaders, neighbors, and customers to come and enjoy. This has been a great opportunity for us to inform our local leaders and community members about our industry.
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