// Legal issues
C&D debris pile garners enforcement action
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has taken action to force the removal of what it calls an illegal mountain of construction and demolition debris in Newark, N.J., that has accumulated next to the New Jersey Turnpike, according to Bob Martin, commissioner of the agency. The DEP has issued two enforcement orders totaling $2.9 million in penalties against Theodore Fiore and his companies, T. Fiore Recycling and T. Fiore Demolition Co.
The first order issues $2.6 million in fines and orders the removal of the stockpile of debris. The second order fines Fiore and T. Fiore Recycling $320,000 for violating stormwater control regulations related to runoff from the site.
The debris pile is more than 75 feet high and contains an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 cubic yards of materials, according to the DEP. The agency says that the pile is about 45 feet higher and five to six times the volume the facility is permitted to store.
“As we have made abundantly clear over the years in other parts of the state, we will not tolerate illegal and unsightly mountains of concrete, debris and dirt that negatively impact the environment and our communities,” says Martin. “Through this illegal dumping, Mr. Fiore and his companies have blatantly disregarded our rules and regulations, maximizing profit at the expense of the environment. They will be held accountable for their actions and to fix this problem.”
DEP says it has dispatched inspectors to turn away any haulers that attempt to deposit more materials at the facility.
// Legislation & regulations
Philadelphia demolition contractors cited by OSHA
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Griffin Campbell, doing business as Campbell Construction, and Sean Benschop, doing business as S&R Contracting, for safety violations, including three willful per-instance violations, following the June 5, 2013, building collapse that killed six people and injured 14. Campbell Construction was demolishing the four-story building known as the Hoagie City building adjacent to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, located at the 2100 block of Market St. in Philadelphia. S&R Contracting was operating the building’s interior walls and floors.
“Campbell Construction and S&R Contracting sacrificed worker and public safety through the deliberate neglect of demolition safety fundamentals,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This tragic incident could and should have been prevented.”
OSHA found several violations of OSHA’s demolition construction standards. On the three days leading up to the collapse, Campbell Construction removed critical, structural supports for the wall that collapsed. The OSHA demolition standards prohibit the removal of lateral support walls more than one story high, leaving the wall unsupported. Campbell Construction also removed parts of the lower floors prior to the removal of the upper floors, again, contrary to the OSHA standards. The company also failed to provide an engineering survey as promised. As a result, OSHA says Campbell Construction has been cited for three willful, egregious violations for each day that it left the wall without sufficient lateral support, and two willful violations alleging the failures to demolish the building from the top down and to have an engineering survey by a competent person on the possibility of collapse prior to starting the demolition. S&R Contracting has been cited for one willful violation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Additionally, Campbell Construction was cited for serious violations for the company’s failures to provide: employees with hard hats when there was a possible risk of head injury; fall protection for employees working on surfaces at least 6 feet high; training on fall hazards; and adequate personal fall arrest systems. Campbell Construction also failed to inspect all stairs periodically and to maintain them in a clean, safe condition. S&R Contracting was cited for two serious violations for failing to protect employees from falling through holes and to provide fall hazard training. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known if an accident were to occur.
OSHA proposed penalties of $313,000 for Campbell Construction and $84,000 for S&R Contracting. Both companies were given 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Philadelphia, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
// Legislation and regulations
Delaware agency fines asphalt firm for air quality violations
Collin O’Mara, secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), has issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty Assessment and Secretary’s Order to River Asphalt LLC for violations of federal and state air quality regulations, and its air permit, at the company’s 300-ton-per-hour asphalt plant in Delmar, Del. The order calls for a fine of $13,680 and an additional $2,052 fine as cost recovery reimbursement to the DNREC for expenses associated with the department’s investigation.
River Asphalt LLC is a subsidiary of H&K Group, which owns and operates facilities in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey that provide construction materials, landscaping materials, recycling services as well as contracting and demolition services.
The Secretary’s Order addresses air quality violations that occurred at the Delmar facility during stack testing conducted Nov. 7 and 8, 2011. The stack test results reportedly showed particulate matter emissions exceeded federal and state air regulations as well as the facility’s permit.
According to the DNREC, River Asphalt LLC has since performed maintenance activities and conducted stack tests again on March 27 and 28, 2012 which demonstrated compliance.
Each violation is cited in the penalty order, which can be found on the DNREC website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Info/Pages/SecOrders_ Enforcement.aspx.
// Demolition projects
Sandy Hook Elementary School demolished
The elementary school where 20 young children and six adults were shot to death in December 2012 has been demolished. Crews began tearing down the 60-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., on Oct. 25, 2013.
According to several reports, town officials expected the building to be completely demolished by the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, which was Dec. 14, 2013.
The property, according to Reuters, has been barricaded to keep members of the public and media away. Security guards also are monitoring the site. Workers have reportedly signed confidentiality agreements banning them from discussing any aspects of the work.
Asbestos abatement and hazardous waste removal was reportedly being handled by Bestech Inc., Ellington, Conn.
The town received a $49.3 million state grant to demolish the old school and build a new school at the same site. The new school is expected to open in 2016. Students have been attending a neighboring school since the shootings occurred.
// Green building
Newest version of LEED launches
LEED v4, the fourth version of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system officially launched at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Nov. 20-22, 2013 in Philadelphia. Teams can now register their projects under the new system and access the tools and suite of resources that support it.
USGBC membership voted during the summer of 2013 to adopt LEED v4. The final overall vote was 86 percent in favor of adopting LEED v4. This includes 90 percent approval from the user category of the voting body, 77 percent approval from the general interest category and 89 percent approval from the producer category. The minimum overall percentage of votes needed for a passing vote was 66.7 percent.
“There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) represented in the voting pool for LEED v4, which includes an extraordinarily diverse group of industry professionals, manufacturers, educators and other green building leaders,” says Joel Ann Todd, chair of the LEED Steering Committee. “USGBC sets a very high bar for a rating system to be approved. The rating system must earn a significant percentage of the overall vote as well as a majority approval from each of the various LEED stakeholder groups. This ensures that rating system approval represents the full diversity of USGBC’s membership.”
Over the course of LEED’s development cycle, the program undergoes a series of public comment periods ending with a final ballot, during which USGBC members vote on whether to adopt the changes within the final proposed system.
“This update of LEED builds on the past while offering new requirements, preparing all LEED projects to achieve higher levels of building performance and positive environmental outcomes,” says Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED for the USGBC. “This newest version of LEED challenges the market to make the next leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings. I am confident that people will also notice the improved usability of the system with an improved documentation process and more resources and tools to assist and support positive action.”
// Company news
Mixed C&D facility opens in Vermont
What is being billed as Vermont’s first construction and demolition (C&D) recycling center held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 30, 2013.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin joined Myers Waste and Recycling Owner Jeff Myers for the official opening of the new facility, Myers Recycling Center, located in Colchester, Vt.
The new recycling plant began accepting loads Nov. 1, 2013. Some of the materials that will be accepted for recycling include wood, asphalt shingles, concrete, gypsum drywall and sheetrock and plywood.
“At Myers Recycling Center, we continuously strive for zero waste, always seeking and utilizing the most efficient technologies, secondary markers and reporting methods to provide us and our customers with an environmentally safe, fully compliant, low-cost solution for all your construction and demolition needs,” says Myers, who also is owner of Myers Container Service, South Burlington, Vt.
Myers also has offices in Moretown and St. Johnsbury, Vt.
// Demolition news
D.H. Griffin facility hit by fire
A fire described as “massive” by a TV news station broke out at a scrap recycling facility operated by D.H. Griffin & Co. in Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 25, 2013.
According to Greensboro-based WTVD, “Thick, dark smoke was seen pouring out [of] the D.H. Griffin recycling facility off Hilltop Road in Greensboro” that morning.
The source of the fire and smoke was reportedly in a pile of end-of-life white goods and household appliances, according to the TV station.
Several roads near the scrap yard were blocked off as the fire department worked to get the fire under control by Friday evening.
According to the Greensboro News & Record website, “Firefighters poured 2,000 gallons of water [per] minute on the fire, tried to smother it with foam and pulled the scrap pile apart to get to the fire, [which] appeared to be deep inside the pile.”
D.H. Griffin has muliple location in the Southeast.
// Association activities
EIA adopts new name
The national association of private waste and recycling companies formerly known as the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) has changed its name to the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA). The change goes into effect officially Dec. 2, 2013. Along with the name change, the association has unveiled a new logo.
The association says the name change follows the EIA’s merger with its subassociations, the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC).
“The rebranding is a significant milestone in achieving the goals of the strategic plan we adopted in November 2012,” says Charlie Appleby, chairman of the NWRA.
Appleby, who also is chairman and CEO of Advanced Disposal, headquartered in Ponte Vedra, Fla., adds, “The strategic vision for the group is the creation of a merged advocacy organization with leadership, expertise and programs that promote the association as the most effective and trusted voice on ‘all things waste and recycling.’”
Sharon Kneiss, president and CEO of the association, notes, “While the merger is now complete with this rebranding, our work continues to establish a number of programs within the organization. Our group is committed to the (NWRA) being the unparalleled leader in industry advocacy, safety, waste technology, standards and statistics. Furthermore, we are building a strong certification program and working to deliver excellent education opportunities.”
The group’s new logo includes symbols reflecting the industry’s involvement in the collection of waste and recyclables, recycling, organics and composting and the production of waste-based energy.
The NWRA, based in Washington, D.C., represents nearly 800 companies operating in the United States.
// Demolition projects
Fiore & Sons clear debris from flood devastated areas of Colorado
Denver-based demolition contractor Fiore & Sons, a member of the National Demolition Association, worked in collaboration with Lawrence Construction, a heavy civil construction company to clean up the flood-devastated area of Coal Creek Canyon, Colo. The flooding, which took place Sept. 9 to 12, 2013, washed out bridges and culverts, creating ditches 25 feet wide and 20 feet deep.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) called Fiore in as an emergency responder.
Rick Givan, senior project manager of Fiore & Sons, says first it was critical to remove the debris off of the highway. The team split up the responsibilities. Lawrence worked in the creek area, building riprap shoring along Highway 72 and other roads in the area. Fiore started with debris removal to get the road open again. Huge chunks of asphalt roadway had broken from the side of the highway, falling away and making at least one lane impassable in most areas.
The equipment for the project included front end loaders for the debris clearing and material handling and small skip loaders for working in and around tight areas and narrow spots. Crews also used a large track hoe excavator with a thumb and a series of tractor trailers as dump trucks. After Fiore cleaned up the organic debris, the company removed asphalt and provided assistance to Lawrence.
“The relationship between Fiore & Sons and Lawrence Construction and with the Colorado Department of Transportation has been a great example of how demolition contractors are especially suited to serve as ‘second responders’ after natural and man-made disasters,” Givan says.
// Green building
Axion International acquires plastics processor
In a move that Axion International says will add a significant new revenue stream through vertical integration, the New Providence, N.J.-based company has acquired Y City Recycling, headquartered in Zanesville, Ohio. Axion is a manufacturer of recycled plastics products, such as Ecotrax rail ties and Struxure building products. Following the acquisition, Axion has renamed the new operations Axion Recycled Plastics Inc.
Key employees and members of Y City Recycling’s management team have been hired by Axion Recycled Plastics. Axion acquired the assets by the assumption of bank debt. Three of Axion’s largest investors made a $3 million capital infusion for the repayment of certain liabilities, for the future purchase and maintenance of equipment needed for increasing capacity and for working capital. An additional $2.5 million revolving credit facility, which includes the availability of letters of credit, has been put in place.
“This acquisition creates value for Axion in three key ways. First, it gives us added revenue. Second, it eliminates steps in our material supply chain, thereby stabilizing our raw material costs. Third, it enhances our quality control as we now process our own material for production,” says Steve Silverman, Axion president and CEO.
Axion Recycled Plastics recycles postconsumer and postindustrial plastics including HDPE (high-density polyethylene), PP (polypropylene), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), TPO (thermoplastic olefin) and PS (polystyrene) in many forms. The newly acquired company sorts, grinds, washes, blends and pelletizes plastic for future use. In addition, the company offers toll recycling services.
Along with the Zanesville facility, Axion will continue to operate its facility in Waco, Texas, which will supply material to produce Ecotrax and Struxure.
// Conferences & events
Sustainability overview offered at ConExpo
Brian Barlow, president and CEO of Barlow Strategic Sales & Marketing, Fort Wayne, Ind., will be speaking on the topic of sustainability at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014 at an educational session.
In the presentation, which takes place on Thursday, March 6 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., Barlow will look at some of the issues and opportunities that sustainability holds for manufacturers, sales channels, raw and finished material producers and contractors serving the North American construction, aggregate and mining markets.
“We are honored to be selected as one of the 120 speakers chosen from 450 submissions,” says Barlow, on behalf of Barlow Strategic Sales & Marketing. “More importantly, the shift to more sustainable construction and infrastructure projects benefits all premium suppliers and contractors throughout the supply chain as it reverses the ‘low-bid wins’ paradigm that this industry has been challenged by for far too long.”
// Personnel activity
Rachel Contracting makes promotion
The civil contracting firm Rachel Contracting, St. Michael, Minn., has promoted Kevin Klimmek to vice president and group manager of its North Dakota operations.
Klimmek, previously a senior project manager and estimator with the firm, says the promotion, a new position within the company, is in response to a continually increasing level of activity in the northwest North Dakota economic landscape.
“We have had a solid presence in North Dakota for some time now, but the growth in that area—driven by the Bakken oil shale production and the infrastructure needed to support it—is so impressive that we felt a dedicated management-level person was needed,” Klimmek says.
Rachel Contracting offers a variety of services in North Dakota including earthwork, utilities, environmental, demolition, industrial services, ground stabilization, aggregate and specialty contracting for the oil and gas industry.
// Legislation & regulations
OSHA extends comment period on proposed silica rule
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is extending the public comment period for an additional 47 days on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica.
In response to requests for an extension, the deadline to submit written comments and testimony has been extended from Dec. 11, 2013, to Jan. 27, 2014, to allow stakeholders additional time to comment on the proposed rule and supporting analyses.
OSHA also extended the deadline to submit notices of intention to appear at its informal public hearings by an additional 30 days, from Nov. 12, 2013, to Dec. 12, 2013. Public hearings are scheduled to begin on March 18, 2014. The duration of the hearings will be determined by the number of parties who request to appear. The hearings are expected to continue for several weeks.
“We strongly encourage the public to assist in the process of developing a final rule by submitting written comments and participating in public hearings,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “We especially hope to hear from employers, workers and public health professionals who have experience in successfully protecting workers from silica-related diseases. We are extending the comment period to ensure we hear from all stakeholders who wish to participate.”
The comment period and public hearings will be followed with a post-hearing comment period.
Members of the public who file a timely written notice of intention to appear will be able to submit post-hearing comments to the docket.
Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings, is available at www.osha.gov/silica/.
Members of the public may comment on the proposal by visiting www.regulations.gov.