Unique Boom Transforms Pipe Plant Into Composting Facility
In another example of Going Green, a boarded up plant is being transformed into a recycling facility using a unique concrete pump and boom combination in Ontario, Canada. The 100,000 square foot Stelco Pipe Plant, located in Welland, Ont. was closed in 2002 and sat idle until Universal Resources Recovery, Inc., purchased the buildings and site in 2006 with the intent of building a state-of-the-art organic composting, construction waste and demolition reclaiming facility.
Newmann Bros. Ltd, St. Catherines, Ont., is the general contractor performing the work on the project. The 130-year old firm is one of the largest of its type in the Niagara region executing projects in the industrial and commercial sectors. The firm also self-performs concrete work and utilized ACPA member Pumpcrete in Niagara Falls, Ont. for the project.
In order for the plant to accept the estimated 68,750 tons of compostable material annually, including commercial food and kitchen waste and organic greens (grass, tree, post consumer and agricultural waste), the plans call for 24 channels to be built. These composting lines are 10-feet wide by 360-feet long with 8’3” high walls. Front end loaders will push the truck-dropped organic material down each channel while air is pumped up through the floors to encourage the composting process. An additional 115,000 tons of construction and demolition waste will be sorted at another facility on the same site.
After demolition of the existing 4-inch floor, the Newmann Bros crew came on-site in November of 2007 to construct the composting channels. Because of the restrictions of an existing structure and the need to pump both the walls and new floor, Jim Webb, a concrete supervisor for Newmann Bros., turned to Pumpcrete’s salesman Chris Robbins for some ideas. “We discussed how to tackle it and he suggested their 31-meter with telescopic boom,” Webb said, “Chris was sure we could pump the footing and channel walls but we needed a dry run to see if it would reach over the walls to pour the slabs in the tight confines of the building.” The building’s interior height of 35-feet was no problem for the Schwing S 31 EZ’s low 18’8” unfolding height.
Complicating the floor placement was the aeration system which includes 4-inch PVC pipe near the surface of the channel floor. A paving system was considered but it was deemed impractical because of the potential disruption to the aeration lines. “We didn’t want to drag hose to pour the floor because of the placement of the PVC and we needed higher production because the floors are 10-inches thick,” explained Webb, “Plus it is a pretty fast track project with completion of 90,000 square feet of floor and 9,000 lineal feet of wall expected by this August.”
The 31-meter has a unique first section which allows 15’2” of telescopic movement. Combined with 87-feet of horizontal reach and more than 830-degrees of articulation at its four folding points, “The 31 was made for this job,” Webb said. Pumpcrete’s operator, Shawn Foster has been able to set the 31’s outriggers and maneuver the boom over the walls for maximum production on the floors. “Shawn can set-up in 8-10 minutes as we move along the channel and he uses every inch of the boom’s reach before we move,“ Webb remarked.
“The Vector controls give Shawn the ability to pump just the right amount of concrete depending on the application, “ Webb explained, “The LED readout on his remote box provides the number of strokes per minute which is invaluable for this type of job.” Schwing’s Vector control system provides continuous readout of critical data such as hydraulic pressure, strokes per minute and hydraulic oil temperature.
The standard 2023-4 pump kit with Rock Valve was able to handle the fibermesh reinforced concrete with super plasticizer and 1-1/2-inch aggregate. “As long as it doesn’t dry out, it flows very well, “Webb noted, “The finishers never had to wait on the pump.”
In choosing formwork for the channel walls, Webb shopped at the World of Concrete and went with a new Peri system called the MAXIMO. Although this panel formwork is known for minimizing imperfections in the concrete finish, Webb really appreciated the joint and tie arrangement that allows the forms to be connected from one side by means of a newly developed conical tie system. This means reductions in expense and considerable savings of time and resources.
Newmann Bros. purchased 400-feet of the MAXIMO system and the results have been impressive according to Webb, “I love it. It saves labor and the placing crew appreciates the safety rail and planking system which also adds to their efficiency.” The Newmann Bros. and Pumpcrete team are able to complete about 200-feet of wall per day using the Peri system. Truck mixers are able to negotiate a driveway next to each channel and dump directly into the pump’s hopper. The concrete requirements for the project will exceed 8,000 cubic yards.
While pouring the floors, the top of the PVC pipe acts as the grade. Once the concrete cures, the Newmann crew will drill one-inch holes into the pipe to create the aeration necessary to convert the waste to usable compost which will be used to regenerate lands.
Ontario is undergoing a waste crisis, according to the Ministry of the Environment. There is currently not enough landfill capacity to sustain the Province for an indefinite period of time. Well planned composting and recycling facilities that use appropriate technologies, can bring economic and environmental benefits to the community. Similar concrete-intensive facilities may be the wave of the future for contractors and pumpers with the equipment and expertise to build inside existing structures.
Project: Conversion of Stelco Pipe Plant to Welland Recycling Facility
Owner: Universal Resources Recovery , Inc., Welland, Ontario
General Contractor: Newmann Bros, Ltd, St.Catherines, Ontario
Concrete Contractor: Newmann Bros, Ltd, St.Catherines, Ontario
Equipment: Schwing S 31 EZ concrete pump with telescopic placing boom