2014 Ecological Awards

NAPA’s Ecological Award competition, which started in 1971, recognizes excellence in asphalt facility operations.  NAPA selects the award recipients using rigorous criteria to evaluate the environmental friendliness of their operations.  Read more about the ecological practices of these winners in the September/October 2015 edition of Asphalt Pavement magazine. Read about the winner in the existing plant category, Duval Asphalt Products and the winner in the new plant category, Commercial Asphalt Co.

 

WINNER — NEW PLANT
Commercial Asphalt Co.
Maple Grove, Minn.
Blaine, Minnesota Plant

Commercial Asphalt Blaine Plant

When Commercial Asphalt Company upgraded its Blaine, Minnesota facility last year from a 500 ton per hour (TPH) to a 600 TPH hot-mix asphalt plant, the associated upgrades provided an opportunity to highlight the ecological and economic achievements at the facility.


In addition to the obvious increased output, Commercial Asphalt added a new 600 TPH counterflow drum, a new 600 TPH slat with fume capturing, a sixth silo, four additional virgin bins, two new recycle bins, one shingle bin, a fourth asphalt cement tank, and a warm-mix foaming system.


“Running an energy efficient plant makes us more competitive,” said Todd Laubis, Vice President of Asphalt Operations for Commercial Asphalt. “We run energy efficient motors, and we run a natural gas burner that is tuned on site to get the best efficiency.”


Frequency drivers on the exhaust fan, drum, and slat conveyor have helped reduce the plant’s electrical usage by 11 percent, even with the plant upgrade. To further reduce electrical usage, a “smart” capacitor bank was added to help keep their power factor above 90%.


Natural resources are also preserved through recycling asphalt and concrete materials and shingles. The lower temperature in the warm-mix foaming system contributes to reduction in the company’s fuel consumption and a drive-over truck unloading system is used to stockpile the company’s most frequently-used products, decreasing loader use and increasing production efficiency.


Christina Morrison, Land Use and Permitting Coordinator for Commercial Asphalt, added that performing best management practices is a key component to the success of an operation.


“What we’ve found is customers increasingly want to align themselves with companies that demonstrate a heightened awareness for the environment and perform sustainable practices, which we strive for here,” Morrison said.


Fugitive dust is controlled through a baghouse, daily sweeping of the paved traffic and parking areas and by implementing a facility speed limit. Unpaved portions of the facility in the stockpiling area are watered and receive dust control applications as necessary.


The Commercial Asphalt facility practices best management by containing its storm water internally on site into the designated storm water ponds. The facility was designed to promote this practice and includes inspections as part of its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.


The company is recognized annually as being a good neighbor, noting its well-maintained landscaping and the variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers planted near the entrance and company logo. “We strive to set a great example at the gate,” Laubis said.


“Within the facility, noise reduction technology such as broadband backup alarms on company equipment and maintaining a clean and tidy appearance go great lengths as far as being a good neighbor” added Morrison.


Being a good neighbor does not end at the fence line. As a leader in the industry, Commercial Asphalt has participated in a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce for a number of years which promoted partnership between the U.S. and Eurasia and provided an opportunity for transportation officials from former Soviet republics to visit the facility and gain exposure to asphalt production methods in the U.S.


The facility also features a design and quality assurance laboratory contained within a building which is often showcased to state, county and local officials. Community involvement is part of their protocol especially when it comes to engagement with local universities, technical colleges and high schools to promote awareness of the industry and career opportunities.


Both Laubis and Morrison agree that Commercial Asphalt sets the bar high which encourages its employees to achieve well maintained and pleasing aesthetics, exceptional environmental compliance, energy efficiency and most importantly, high quality mixes. These achievements are appreciated by their customers and neighbors alike and the benefits extend well beyond the plant itself.

 

 

WINNER – EXISTING PLANT
Duval Asphalt Products Inc.
Jacksonville, Florida
Plant 2

Duval Asphalt Plant 2

Duval Asphalt Products’ plant 2 is prominently located and visible to the public on Philips Highway in Jacksonville.


Such direct exposure means the facility must consistently be neat, clean, and aesthetically pleasing — a goal Duval Asphalt maintains by going above and beyond the baseline ecological requirements set by the federal and local regulatory agencies.


“Our clean and vibrant facility is pleasing to the residents of Duval County, our neighbors, and our regulatory agencies,” said Jennifer Ragsdale, Director of Business Development and Marketing for Duval Asphalt.


The company’s top-notch standards often send new customers and new ventures its way, Ragsdale said. One of those standards is a daily inspection of the plant to ensure ecological compliance.


“Our customers are more inclined to choose us because of our cleanliness and professionalism,” Ragsdale said. “The agencies are more open to work with us on new pursuits and expansion, because we have an established reputation for doing the right thing.”


Indeed, Duval Asphalt maintains its delicate balancing act of keeping an aesthetically pleasing plant while simultaneously being as ecologically sensitive as possible. The company conducts regular testing of its baghouse emissions, daily cleaning of all paved surfaces, regular cleaning of its equipment and structures, and the use of burner sound suppression to control noise.


The plant uses a warm-mix foaming system and variable frequency drives to help reduce electrical energy. All asphalt cement, sand, and aggregate start-up and shut-down waste products are completely recycled. Scrap steel is also recycled and tear off shingles from the local vicinity are used in mix production.


The company boasts both a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan (SPCC). In keeping with the SWPPP guidelines, Duval Asphalt conducts water sampling quarterly and all spill-out points have oil booms to catch contamination from surface run-off. Water nozzles in the discharge chute of the drag-slot conveyor help control dust wash down by capturing dust during start-up and shut-down.


“Clean equipment and yards lead to better operating equipment, which means less likelihood of ecological problems, which means better community relations, which makes it easier to gain additional business,” Ragsdale said.


The plant is painted every two years to keep its look fresh and new. Duval maintains its lawn, shrubs, grasses and trees, making a point to plant trees and vegetation native to northern Florida, including more than 100 palms spread throughout the company property.


Duval Asphalt has the local community in mind when keeping its facilities clean and well-maintained. The company has locally donated more than $100,000 in paving services over the past two years and also makes monetary donations to charities. In addition, facility tours are conducted for local university engineering students to encourage careers in the asphalt industry.


“Tours of our facility can be requested at any time by our customers or inspectors,” Ragsdale said. “From front to back, we run a clean and orderly property.”


The company takes great pride in its country as well, proudly displaying a 110-foot flagpole that flies a 1,800-square-foot American flag. Many in the local community have called, emailed or written to Duval Asphalt, appreciating the public display of support for those who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. The flag is also given on loan to local schools and government for use at programs and events.

 

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