January 1, 2010
By Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief
Vulcan Materials Co.’s Western Division reports that it was awarded the 2009 Blue Sky Award for Innovative Research given by the Maricopa County Air Quality Department. The company received the honor for its leadership and research involved in the development of a sustainable alternative to traditional hot-mix asphalt that lowers greenhouse gases and other emissions and uses 25 percent recycled materials. The mix, WarmPave, is also being produced at Vulcan’s Reliance Plant in Southern California where testing confirmed 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions per ton of material produced compared to conventional hot-mix asphalt and reductions of 55 percent for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions.
The California Construction & Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA) announced the winners of its 2009 Safety Awards program. “This year, the recipients’ accomplishments included engineering changes to improve safety, teaching innovations, team-building techniques, safety culture establishment, effectiveness of their safety programs, and leadership within their companies,” said Mike Herges, chair of CalCIMA’s safety & health subcommittee and safety and health services manager for Graniterock Co. The winners include: Small Aggregate Plant — Dean Browning, general manager, Holliday Rock Co., Inc., Upland; Large Aggregate Plant (tie) — Greg Wilkerson, plant manager, Corona Quarry, Vulcan Materials Co., Corona, and Michael Cunningham, plant manager, Perkins Plant, Teichert Aggregates, Sacramento; Ready Mix Concrete — Lenny Price, operations manager, Thousand Palms, CalPortland, Thousand Palms; and Industrial Minerals — Mike McGath, plant manager, Newberry Plant & Hector Mine, Elementis Specialties, Inc., Newberry Springs.
With its environmental report complete, Cemex’s proposal to mine a 400-acre parcel of Jesse Morrow Mountain is likely to head to the county planning commission, the Fresno Bee reports. The 100-year plan calls for excavation of benches along the mountain’s south side to allow for the extraction of granite. As each bench is mined, the one above it is to be graded and reclaimed. A Cemex spokesperson, Jennifer Borgen, told the newspaper that it would take 3,000 acres along the Kings River to produce the same amount of aggregate as the company’s current proposal. The company is donating $10,000 and 40 acres of the unmined portion of the mountain to the Kings River Choinumni Farm Tribe, which supports the proposal.
West Des Moines City Council members are wrestling with issues surrounding two quarries near the Raccoon River. According to the Des Moines Register, both are on land the city wants to eventually turn into a 400-acre recreation park and are operated by two competing companies — Hallett Materials and Martin Marietta Materials. City officials want to allow crushing on both sites, but have discussed severe restrictions on crushing at Hallett Materials, which has neighboring homeowners, while Martin Marietta’s site is more remote. Some council members discussed that such restrictions would create an unfair market advantage for Martin Marietta. They plan to investigate noise concerns before making a decision.
Although some Berkley and Freetown residents continue to voice concerns about Cape Cod Aggregates’ fledgling blasting program, the company’s proactive stance seems to have minimized ill will. The Taunton Daily Gazette reports that David Peterson, the plant manager, has invited residents to attend a blast, but has had no takers. Selectmen from the two bordering communities attended the operation’s first blast after it shifted from a sand and gravel operation to a crushed stone site. “I felt a little vibration in my feet, but no shaking window panes or any physical disruption,” Berkley Selectman Julie Taylor told the newspaper. One of the publication’s reporters also attended the blast, standing about 500 feet from the blast zone. The reporter noted a one-second slight vibration under foot and blast material that moved 25 feet into the air, with very little residual dust.
The Jackson County Road Commission stands to make an estimated $15,000 in royalties as it leases its inactive gravel pit to Lester Brothers Inc., a local excavating company. The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that the company hopes to mine 50,000 tons per year from the site and will pay a 30-cent-per-ton royalty to the county road commission during its five-year lease. Road Commissioner Clerk and Finance Director Charles Walker told the newspaper that the money could go toward road maintenance, including painting and resurfacing. The Road Commission has about 10 other gravel pits located throughout the county.
Renville County’s Board of Adjustment and Appeals rejected an appeal by Duininck Companies and ordered it to meet its permit conditions for the gravel pit it operates in Beaver Township Falls. According to the West Central Tribune, the board ordered the company to correct five violations, including moving two gravel stockpiles that are within 500 feet of a neighboring residence; seeding a pigweed-infested berm with a grass and wildflower mix and improving the berm’s slope; developing a separate berm to prevent runoff; and reclaiming an area on the pit’s south side where mining occurred within the 50-foot setback from another property. The county’s zoning staff gave the company until June 15 to correct the violations.
Former sand and gravel producer William Gerhold Sr. was among business pioneers honored at the Columbus Area Hall of Fame Banquet. The Columbus Telegram reports that Gerhold was the owner and CEO of Gerhold Co. for 51 years. He and his brother formed a partnership in 1921 and built a business that mined sand and gravel, developed concrete products, built roads and streets, and sewer and water construction. The two brothers are credited with being innovators by developing a new way of processing sand and gravel using centrifugal force. They were also among the first business owners in the state to replace horse-drawn wagons with Model T Ford trucks.
The Hinsdale Planning Board is expected to approve a temporary town permit that will allow excavating at a Meetinghouse Road gravel pit after the operator completes some short-term requirements. According to the Brattleboro Reformer, once the operator —Dynamic Landscaping, LLC — completes the requirements, the town code enforcement inspector will visit the site to ensure guidelines were properly followed. Among the conditions were the spreading of loam on approximately 3 acres per reclamation specifications, using loam in a 150-foot area near the top of the ramp in one portion of the pit, and erecting of temporary fencing or barricades along a temporary slope on the eastern wall of the pit.
The Turner City Council approved development of the former 169-acre River Bend Sand & Gravel site to become a 512-unit housing project built around a 70-acre lake, the Statesman Journal reports. In the mid-90s, Jay Compton proposed development of a gravel pit at the site. The proposal attracted three years of protest, which lasted until the site was added to Marion County’s list of significant aggregate resources in 2000. At that time, the housing project proposal was part of the required reclamation plan. The council amended the proposal to allow the project to be built in 15 years rather than the originally proposed 10 years.
Vulcan Materials Co. was named Citizen of the Year by Clarksville, a community recently named one of the best mid-sized cities in which to launch a new business by CNN Money. Business Clarksville reported that the company was one of several recognized by Mayor John Piper. It noted that the Vulcan operation “has been a part of the Clarksville business landscape for several decades” and donated money for the Clarksville Greenway and the expansion of the Riverwalk. John Badget accepted the award on the company’s behalf.
Walker Sand and Stone received approval on its request to rezone a portion of its land from agricultural to trade so that material could be stored there. According to The Free Lance-Star, county supervisors praised operation owners Lewis, Dorothy, and John Walker for running a clean sand and gravel operation. “They’ve done what they said they would do,” said Supervisor Cedell Brooks. “They proved to be good neighbors and good business owners in the community.”
As CalPortland advances its proposal to expand its 335-acre Dupont sand and gravel operation by 177 acres, it is working on a new phase of studies, fact-finding, and public review with the other parties involved in its 1994 agreement designed to protect Sequalitchew Creek Canyon. The Olympian reports that CalPortland wants to build a 4,000-foot channel that would flow into the water-starved creek, allowing it to again support salmon. To do so, it would have to pull water from the upper reaches of the creek and create a cut in the creek canyon to connect the man-made tributary to the stream. “Our goal is to achieve a sustainable balance between environment and industry,” Pete Stoltz, a CalPortland permit manager and biologist, told the newspaper.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources received approval from the state’s Natural Resources Board to hold public hearings on the addition of 15 new substances to the state’s groundwater quality standards, including all forms of dinitrotoluene (DNT), which is used in the manufacture of explosives. Environment News Service reports that the proposed standard is 0.05 parts per billion. If approved by the legislature, the state could set a national precedent for DNT regulation.