Stewardship: The careful & responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.
Evans Construction is very privileged to be located and operate in one of the most incredible places on earth. This is a privilege that we don’t take lightly and are committed to be stewards of the environment. We want to protect the place that we live, work and play. We view it not as a requirement, but as a responsibility. Evans Construction’s location is surrounded by hay fields, pasture land, sensitive wetland areas, and the Snake River is literally a stones throw away. There is also a wildlife migration corridor that cuts through the area, and waterfowl abound. It is truly amazing how little the wildlife seems to care that we are here. It is a constant reminder that we not only have to be, but also want to be extremely mindful of everything we do.
Being an environmental steward is more than just protecting the environment around us, but is also protecting the environment that our employees work in; as well as reducing our carbon footprint as a company, and offering products that help our customers reduce theirs. Below are some of the ways that Evans Construction protects not only environment around us, and the environments that our employees work in, but also things we have done to reduce our carbon footprint and that of our customers.
DUST ELIMINATION AND SUPPRESSION
Evans Construction decided a few years ago to exceed the requirements that are mandated by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WYDEQ) as well as MSHA with regards to their rock crushing operation and pit haul road. Anyone who has been around a rock crusher knows that it is extremely dusty and can be quite a hazardous environment to work in. Evans Construction invested over $130,000.00 to install a dust suppression system on their rock crushing spread and an additional $70,000.00 on more specialized equipment to further protect their employees. After putting in the suppression system MSHA did an Industrial Hygiene assessment and there was not enough particulate to even test in a lab setting (getting a note saying “good job” form MSHA not a common thing). It was a truly amazing transformation that took place. In fact Evans leads the State of Wyoming in sand and gravel dust suppression, as noted by not only the State Mine Inspectors Office but MSHA District Manager. When we show before and after pictures to our peers throughout Wyoming at MSHA meetings, they cannot believe their eyes.
Evans Construction also made a significant investment in asphalt paving their pit haul road. We now have a fully paved road system all the way from our entrance on US HWY 89 back to our processing area. This has successfully cut down on dust, as well as rocks and mud being drug out onto the highway. Another benefit is that we no longer have to introduce Magnesium Chloride solution on to the road surface for dust suppression, and we don’t have to draw nearly as much surface water from our pond to suppress dust. It is certainly a win, win for our neighbors and the environment.
Being in compliance with regulations is paramount in our business, and we were prior to making these investments, but it is no longer a struggle. So why would we make such significant investments given our small volumes if regulations did not require us to do so? We did it because it was the best and right way to accomplish our goal of trying to eliminate a hazard to the absolute minimum. A value that comes from being proactive, is that we are poised in a great position to meet or exceed any future, more stringent regulations.
STORM WATER POLLUTION PREVENTION
Evans Construction’s location and proximity to wetlands requires that we do not let any storm water leave our site. We must contain everything here. This can be made extremely difficult when we have a heavy winter, wet spring and an overzealous irrigator on the ranch next door. We have been flooded a number of times by irrigation water, but have never let any water get to where it could be contaminated or let it leave our site. We have a thorough storm water and spill prevention plan in place, and we put a lot of thought as to where we put things, and how we grade our site in order to prevent disaster.
A few years back we decided that we needed a mobile means of dealing with a larger spill of oil, hydraulic fluid or diesel. So we made an investment in an environmental spill response trailer that is aimed at cleaning up what we would consider larger spills. Within two weeks after purchasing the trailer we helped clean up a spill created by another company in the area. It is important to note that this is not just for a spill that we may be responsible for, but for anyone else who may have the misfortune of having a spill. We have communicated to Teton County that we have an environment spill response trailer and that we are willing to help if the need should ever arise. All of our supervisors are also equipped with mini spill kits in their trucks to take care of small spills, and we have inventory on hand to replace anything that is used so they will never be without.
Evans Construction has invested significantly in their asphalt hot plant and concrete batch plant in order to minimize emissions. The most of which are listed below.
Concrete Batch Plant
Evans has put new state of the are dust collection systems on their cement and fly ash silos to minimize if not prevent any of these fine powders from entering the atmosphere. Cement and fly ash delivery has always been a challenge while the products are being off loaded into the silos. A careless delivery man who is off loading cement or fly ash into the silos can shoot these materials right though old style bag houses right out into the air. We felt we needed a more fail safe option with newer technology. Batching of concrete is another area where it is difficult to control these fine powders when they are being loaded into the mixer. When Evans purchased and built their new concrete batch plant in 2007, they installed a dust collection system with dust collection shroud. This shroud rises to let the truck pull under for batching, then lowers down to form a seal around the truck and drum. During batching the dust collection vacuum does not allow the dust to escape. When the batching is complete the shroud raises to let the truck pull out to deliver his product. Two benefits were realized by this, and one is obvious to keep the fine powders from entering the surrounding atmosphere, and the other is that it has kept our trucks cleaner as well.
Asphalt Hot Plant
Over the years Evans has made significant investments in their hot plant to either reduce fuel consumption by insulating their drum, or to install a new state of the art bag-house, making their plant RAP capable and installing a warm mix kit. Recently we have switched our burner fuel over to bio-diesel, and have installed a new counter flow drum. The counter flow drum represents a significant investment of approximately a quarter of a million dollars. We will no longer struggle with opacity and emissions from our hot plant. One will now be hard pressed to say if we are making hot mix or sitting idle.
CARBON FOOTPRINT REDUCTION
Energy consumption reduction pays off in a few different ways, and one is cost savings and the other is less carbon dioxide introduced to the atmosphere. For years Evans has tried to find ways to reduce their energy consumption through more efficient lighting systems, heating systems, additional insulation and new technologies. As a matter of fact when we built our new office, we built a high efficiency building that would have probably met the LEED silver rating if we so inclined to spend fifty thousand dollars on documentation for a plaque. Nonetheless the building is equipped with highly efficient windows, insulation systems, lighting and a high tech geothermal heating / cooling system, as well as low VOC materials on the interior. This is a building that we are very proud of, as it is very energy efficient andÂ not to mention comfortable for our employees to work in.
We have made an effort to provide our customers with an array of concrete and asphalt products that are GREEN in order to help them meet their carbon reduction and recycling goals on LEED projects etc.. We have made our hot plant capable to produce mixes that contain recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), and to make Warm Mix. Combine the two and you have what we call ECO-MIX. The warm mix kit allows us to produce asphalt at lower temperatures while introducing steam to keep the product workable, thus reducing energy consumption. Our plant now burns bio-diesel for fuel as well, and we plan to go to natural gas if it is made available to us in our area. We also produce a number of fly ash concrete mixes ranging from 20% mixes to high content mixes. Cement production is a high carbon dioxide emission process, so anywhere you can reduce the amount of cement in a mix design you can reduce the carbon footprint. Especially when you can replace the cement with a recycled product with cementitious characteristics like fly ash, clinker or silica fume. We are quite fortunate to have a very high quality source of fly ash available from the Bridger Power Plant which is in close proximity to Teton County. Evans Construction is looking at providing a pervious pavement product once we can determine that it can hold up to our extreme climate. This will enable engineers, architects and municipalities yet one more product to make their projects that more GREEN.