Paving the Ecological Way

Feb. 1, 2006

Interspersed between the palm trees and oaks of northern Florida, a hot-mix asphalt (HMA) plant stands tall and proud amongst its surroundings. Duval Asphalt Products Inc. has been operating an environmentally friendly asphalt plant at its Jacksonville, Fla., location for over five-and-a-half years and has recently been recognized as the winner of the 2005 Ecological Award by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA).

Interspersed between the palm trees and oaks of northern Florida, a hot-mix asphalt (HMA) plant stands tall and proud amongst its surroundings. Duval Asphalt Products Inc. has been operating an environmentally friendly asphalt plant at its Jacksonville, Fla., location for over five-and-a-half years and has recently been recognized as the winner of the 2005 Ecological Award by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA).

In operating their HMA plant, Duval constantly acts as a good neighbor—both for its surrounding community and the environment. “We pay a lot of attention to our environment by trying to be a good neighbor and keeping our facilities in top working order,” said Dan Engle, general superintendent of Duval Asphalt. “It’s a daily operation—the cleaning and maintenance on the facility, and on the equipment itself.”

The environmentally conscious efforts of Duval have been recognized over the past several years, as they have been the recipients of NAPA’s Diamond Achievement Award as well as other Ecological and Quality in Construction awards. Most recently, Duval was awarded the 2005 Ecological Award at NAPA’s 51st annual convention in Hollywood, Fla., this past January.

The Ecological Award sets out to distinguish HMA production facilities that best demonstrate safe and responsible environmental practices. Facilities are judged on their design layout, clean operation, maintenance-performance practices and community activities.

Recognized as finalists for the 2005 award were Callanan Industries Inc., Plant 22, Ravena, N.Y., and Staker and Parson Cos. of Murray, Utah.

Like a good neighbor

As the top choice for this year’s Ecological Award, Duval operates an Astec Double Barrel 400-ton-per-hour plant, with three storage silos, five cold-feed bins and two reclaimed asphalt pavement bins. Inspections of Duval’s HMA plant are conducted daily to ensure environmental compliance, and all of the haul roads and the plant itself are paved and cleaned on a daily basis to minimize dust.

According to Engle, the company has storm-water pollution and prevention programs in place as well as spill prevention control and countermeasure programs. Although he could not single out any environmental concern in particular, Engle said that on a daily operating basis air quality would be probably the most imperative.

Because Duval is visible from the heavily traveled local I-295, the aesthetics of the plant also are a major concern for Duval. “We do periodic replanting of shrubs and trees as needed,” said Engle. Planting and grassing are done using trees and vegetation that are indigenous to the plant’s locality, and over 60 trees have been added to the landscape since the year 2000.

Also stipulated in NAPA’s award criteria, recipients must demonstrate neighborly acts by giving back to their local community. Duval acts as a good neighbor by conducting tours for local colleges, particularly the engineering classes of the University of North Florida. “We also have an open-door policy for anyone who wishes to visit our facility and learn more about it,” said Engle. Duval also has made numerous monetary contributions and facility-paving donations to nonprofit organizations.

Duval has proven that they are able to run a successful HMA plant while looking out for their community and environment.

“We’ve been in operation at that particular site with this particular plant for five-and-a-half years and we have never had a complaint from any of our neighbors,” said Engle. “We must be doing something right.”

And the runners up are…

In addition to Duval Asphalt, NAPA recognized two other environmentally responsible HMA facilities as finalists for the Ecological Award: Staker and Parson Cos. and Callanan Industries Inc.

Staker and Parson Cos.’ Beck Street North Asphalt Plant has been at its Murray, Utah, location for over 26 years. The plant produces an average of 900,000 tons of asphalt per year, and six 300-ton silos are used to ensure different mix designs are always available to customers. All quality control for the plant is handled at an on-site laboratory, and the plant features eight virgin-feed bins and two recycled-asphalt bins, all of which help maintain an average of 550 tons per hour of asphalt production.

“[This] is one of our flagship asphalt plants,” said Mike Dalley, environmental affairs, Staker and Parson Cos. “It makes a lot of asphalt for us—over one million tons a year. We understand that we’re in the public eye a lot so we do as much as we can to make it function properly and to have the site look good.”

Staker and Parson control all of its storm water and air quality on site. The plant also has its own analyzers that are used to periodically check emissions.

The HMA plant also is located in a highly visible setting. “Our hot plant is located on a main artery that goes into Salt Lake City,” said Dalley, “so there are thousands of people who drive by that hot plant every day.”

To ensure that the plant is visually appealing to passersby, Staker and Parson is always controlling its storm water, keeping emissions as low as possible and making sure the landscaping always looks good.

In addition to operating an ecological HMA plant, Staker and Parson work with its community and local elementary students by conducting tours and participating in a community-outreach program called “Rocks Build Our World.” This program aims to teach children how asphalt is made, what it is used for and how it builds our infrastructure.

The other finalist, Callanan Industries—an Oldcastle Materials Group Co.—has been at its Ravena HMA Plant 22 for over five years. The plant has been a Diamond Achievement plant since 2003, is capable of running No. 2 fuel and natural gas and also is permitted to consume recycled oil. Plant 22 is a source plant and both HMA and aggregate production facilities are on site.

Plant 22 is located on Route 9W, a major north-south corridor, and sits directly across the highway from a local high school. Because of their close proximity to the highway and school, dust- and emission-control efforts at the stone and asphalt plants are a daily priority for Callanan.

In spring 2005, Callanan undertook a grading and paving project at the Ravena site to improve the drainage of water from the washed screenings and natural sand stockpiles.

The project involved the removal and transfer of 10,000 tons of material, grading, installation of drainage structures and the placement of 500 tons of HMA. The effort has resulted in reduced moisture contents in stockpiles and improved burner efficiency.

Callanan also has enjoyed a positive community relationship with the Ravena locale and has a history of doing business in the community for over 120 years. The plant has held Community Days, in which over 2,200 residents attended the site for a tour of the facility.

Callanan responded to the needs of its community in fall 2004, when the village of Ravena was unable to secure funds for the installation of a traffic signal at the nearby high school entrance, which had been the scene of many serious traffic accidents. Callanan and Lafarge North America responded with over $40,000 in funding and construction services. Modifications to the school entrance and paving of an additional lane on Route 9W also were donated services that Callanan completed.

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