Concrete inFocus - Spring 2014 - (Page oc3)

infocus online connections: enviroscene Concrete Mixer Trucks and the Environment: Get the Connection? Douglas Ruhlin T he ready mixed concrete industry counts on mixer trucks every day- they're an integral part of the business. Simply put, without mixer trucks, it would be impossible for the industry to function. And, like any other part of the industry, the use of concrete mixer trucks comes with an environmental price tag. Is the environmental impact of the use of concrete mixer trucks inevitable or can it be reduced (regardless of the level of impact)? Enhanced environmental function from concrete mixer trucks can make a big difference in the overall impact and success of the concrete business, since their use day in and day out is so integral to the business. So how can the concrete industry reduce environmental impacts associated with concrete mixer truck use? Fuel use. The easiest place to consider, and an obvious place to start. According to the 2013 NRMCA Fleet Maintenance Survey, an average concrete mixer truck has fuel usage of 3.8 miles per gallon. Reduced fuel use will save on precious natural resources, and offers numerous benefits. Consider: * In general, newer mixer trucks and better maintained trucks will get better fuel economy. While fuel savings may not be the primary consideration in today's economy for when to purchase new mixer trucks, it certainly should be one of the considerations. Newer trucks are likely going to be lighter and more aerodynamic, providing better fuel economy. * Reduced fuel use will help your bottom line. You'll be saving money by lowering your fuel use. Most successful ready mixed concrete producers have a company-wide policy that limits the length of time for idling. The NRMCA surveys reveal 10 to 15 minutes is the industry standard. * Alternatives to traditional fuel are becoming more prevalent and accessible to the concrete industry, such as mixers fueled by compressed natural gas. In general, these alternative fuels will be cleaner burning, more energy efficient and much cheaper, providing both environmental and economic benefits. Air quality. In general, new mixer trucks will produce less emissions than trucks with older diesel technology engines, particularly if older trucks have not been undergoing regular comprehensive maintenance. This means less atmospheric pollution, including those pollutants capable of potentially harming the environment due to contributions of pollutants that can cause smog and other atmospheric impacts, as well as climate change impacts. So at the very least, if you're not in the market for new mixer trucks with the latest engine emission controls, make sure your mixer fleet meets today's engine emission standards and is part of a regular fleet maintenance program. Water quality. We don't usually think of a concrete mixer truck as having an impact on water quality, but the use and operation of a concrete mixer truck can impact water quality in several ways: * A poorly maintained mixer truck is more susceptible to drips and leaks of oil and other vehicular fluids, which can contribute to water pollution in stormwater runoff at the concrete plant, on the road and at the jobsite. * All mixer trucks are capable of accidental spills or leaks of vehicular fluids on the road, at the plant or at the jobsite, such as a blown hydraulic line leading to a loss of hydraulic fluid. A serious spill such as this can have a serious impact on water quality if allowed to reach a storm drain or surface water body. While a comprehensive, regular fleet maintenance program can help prevent these types of unplanned events, it makes great sense to be ready through the provision of onboard spill control kits and a driver training program on their use. * Fueling procedures themselves can pose a threat to water quality, which can be addressed and mitigated through a comprehensive program of spill control and cleanup practices. Rollover prevention. The NRMCA Rollover Prevention Program suggests that there are two rollovers per 100 mixer trucks every year. While rollover events ought to be first considered in terms of the potential safety considerations involved, it also is important to realize that a rollover comes with some likely environmental impact due to the unplanned spillage of concrete (and need for cleanup) as well as possible vehicle fluid spills. Therefore, a program of rollover prevention-while perhaps not environmentally oriented-can certainly provide environmental benefits. Noise. In general, newer better-maintained mixer trucks will generate less noise than older trucks. They'll make less engine noise when idling as well as during the batching process. Noise is clearly an environmental impact, so an easy place to look for reducing your impact is at the noise levels your mixers make. NRMCA's Environmental Management in the Ready Mixed Concrete Industry publication recommends numerous ways to lower truck noise, including making sure that the muffler is properly matched to the truck engine, conducting a regular maintenance program to reduce noise from worn parts, lock and secure all chutes so they do not rattle and bang, reduce engine speed during loading and mixing to minimum as specified by the mixer manufacturer and do not engage the concrete INFOCUS ı OC3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Concrete inFocus - Spring 2014

Emergence of Compressed Natural Gas
MMC Materials Converts to Compressed Natural Gas
Fuel Saving Tips from Coast to Coast
Responsible Sourcing for Concrete
NRMCA Services and Tools
Index of Advertisers
Corporate Suite
Concrete Mixer Trucks and the Environment: Get the Connection?
Pavement Roughness and Fuel Consumption
CEMEX ‘Job-Safe’ Program Wins NRMCA 2013 Innovation in Training Award

Concrete inFocus - Spring 2014