Sustainable Construction is our Business
BURNCO recognizes our responsibilities for the environment and to the communities we operate in. BURNCO will be responsible and exemplary in the operation and conduct of our businesses for sustainable environmental performance. This is demonstrated through our commitment to plan and manage our operations while promoting environmental protection in ways which meet the needs of the present without compromising those of the future. BURNCO’s Mission, Vision and Values identifies the following statements as key drivers in our approach to environmental and sustainability issues:
- Leading stewards of the environment in our industry
- Respect for the land before, during and after our use
- Build sustainability in all that we do by reducing waste, reusing and recycling materials
Gravel is a non-renewal natural resource and is not found everywhere. It must be located, developed and reclaimed in a responsible manner. All levels of government regulate the gravel industry.
BURNCO progressively reclaims mined out areas of an aggregate pit to a final end use that is an equivalent or better land capability than what existed prior to operations. Sites are reclaimed back to farm and ranch land, while other areas are turned into wetlands, parks and subdivisions as a final end use of the land. BURNCO is nationally recognized as an industry leader in responsible practice and site reclamation.
Equivalent or Better Land Capability
Recycling in Asphalt Production
BURNCO’s corporate environmental policy stipulates that we will reduce and reuse, and to this end we use Recycled Asphalt Product (RAP) and Recycled Asphalt Shingles (RAS) as feed stock at our asphalt production facilities. These products allow BURNCO to reuse asphalt tear out and asphalt shingles that otherwise would end up in a landfill.
Ready Mix Concrete Recycling
BURNCO has a zero waste policy on returned concrete. If the concrete coming back to the plant is of sufficient quality it is made into stack blocks for use in retaining walls, dividers or barriers. If the product isn’t of sufficient quality, or all block molds are full, the product is windrowed and later pushed into a recycle pile. Once sufficient product is in the pile a crusher is brought in and the rubble is made into a product suitable for road gravel. Some concrete plants have concrete recycling equipment that separates cement slurry from rock and sand, so the products can later be reused to make concrete for certain applications.
Recycling in Operations
Each of our sites is equipped with separate waste and recycling bins facilitating the recycling of scrap metals and various other products such as paper and plastics.
ENERGY CONSERVATION AND EMISSIONS REDUCTION
To minimize any potential effect on our neighbours and employees we have developed and implemented a dust management plan which applies to our plant sites, truck transport, pit operations and aggregate crushing. Some examples on these can be seen throughout our sites:
- State of the art counter flow drum style and one batch style asphalt plants; each of these is equipped with a bag-house to capture dust and reintroduce it into the asphalt mix.
- For trucking all loads of materials are tarped when they leave site. Access and site roads are regularly maintained by sweeping any hard surfaced roads and providing dust control with water trucks during dry conditions.
- During pit operations water trucks are used to control dust in the active pit and stockpile areas. Progressively reclaiming excavated areas and re-vegetated as soon as practical to minimize any potential wind erosion and airborne particulates.
- Aggregate crushers are enclosed, confining dust within the crusher, and water spray bars are employed at conveyor transfer points where needed to minimize airborne dust.
BURNCO recognizes the importance of minimizing noise in the communities where we operate. We have developed a comprehensive noise management plan that demonstrates to our neighbours, employees and customers that we value good relations. BURNCO’s noise management plan includes policies and procedures to ensure that our noise reduction targets are met across our sites. BURNCO’s noise management plan is designed to minimize noise levels by implementing these measures:
- For trucking all roads are graded and maintained to reduce road noise, we prohibit the use of engine retarder brakes at our operations.
- All back-up alarms on heavy equipment are set at the minimum noise level allowed, broadband back up alarms are used on all equipment where practical and strobe light warning systems are used as an alternative to the back-up alarms after dusk.
- Aggregate crushers are enclosed with industry leading and individually customized sound reducing blankets to reduce the sound levels.
- Perimeter earth berms and stockpiles are strategically placed around active operations to deflect and absorb sound.
- Sound absorbing baffles are installed on the electrical generating sets.
- For conveyors, impact noise is minimized by using rubber liners at transfer points.
Using Clean Burning Fuels
Every BURNCO asphalt production facility uses natural gas to dry its aggregate and heat the asphalt cement. BURNCO’s newest asphalt plant located in Acheson has the required technology and equipment to capture the blue smoke that is generated during asphalt production and reuse it. Utilizing the blue smoke makes the plant more efficient and minimizes the discharge into the atmosphere.
BURNCO has installed CarbonCure’s carbon dioxide (CO2) recycling technology and will supply the Calgary construction market with low carbon concrete, you can read more about this technology and how it converts CO2 emissions into stronger concrete here (http://carboncure.com/).
BURNCO maintains a modern equipment fleet employing the latest emission controls available. All equipment is maintained to ensure emissions requirements are meet. Where practical emerging technologies such as natural gas or hybrid engines are employed to further reduce our environmental impact. Where it is necessary to operate diesel generators they are equipped with enhanced emission controls to reduce the impact of their operation.
Reduction of freshwater consumption is necessary to ensure the availability for all users. BURNCO prides itself on meeting or exceeding Government Environmental regulations for water use. Where water is used in an operation the appropriate water licence’s are obtained and any reporting requirements regarding usage or water monitoring are implemented.
In order to reduce water consumption water is recycling throughout our operations. At our ready-mix plants washout water is captured in sumps and then reused in concrete production. Storm water is also collected on the sites for use in dust control or concrete production reducing freshwater use and decreasing the burden on public water infrastructure. In our aggregate washing operations we employ a number of method to recycle wash water. Wash water is recycled in lined ponds and returned to the plant as clean water with over 90% efficiency. At some sites dewatering screens have been installed to enhance the amount of water captured from the washed product piles. In addition, site grading and perimeter ditching around the wash piles collect and reuse any water that runs off from the washed product piles.
Prior to disturbance BURNCO engages third party professionals to assess the existing conditions and help develop mitigation plans for any potential impacts of our operations. A soil assessment determines the soil depths and characteristics to aid in determining the appropriate soil salvage methods and provides a benchmark for assessing the reclaimed soil profiles. Wetland assessments identify the location and type of wetlands on the site so they can be avoided or compensation can be made for them through reclamation of wetlands onsite or elsewhere. A biophysical assessment is done on a property to provide background on the plants and animals in the area and any potential effects the development may have on them. Engaging these professionals gives BURNCO the confidence that our sites will be developed in accordance with the highest standards and in compliance with all applicable codes and requirements.
Once all potential impacts to a site are assessed, mitigation measures recommended by the third party professionals who have assessed the site are implemented. This includes avoidance where impacts cannot be mitigated, phased development to reduce the interim impacts and finally reclamation to reduce any residual impacts.
When land is not currently being used for our operations at our aggregate operation, the land is leased for agricultural use. In collaboration with the farmers and ranchers the land is managed to ensure best practices in agriculture are followed. BURNCO has also collaborated with local bee keepers across Alberta to host beehives at our aggregate operations. Some of the honey from the hives is then marketed under the Buzzco brand with the proceeds going to charity.