Granite Construction’s Solari Sand & Gravel ready to run rock

By |  November 12, 2020

Two new Sandvik CH660 crushers are also part of the plant, as is a new 8-ft. x 20-ft. KPI-JCI & Astec Mobile Screens Combo screen and new twin 44-in. Condor sand screws from Eagle Iron Works.

While selecting equipment for an aggregate operation is a task requiring careful consideration, one key factor in Granite’s decision-making was customer service from manufacturers.

“Superior gave us a design package, and they included the engineering that was required for the state of California to get these structures permitted in their package,” Findley says. “Overall, they just had the best package, and we know that the equipment is good.”

Superior Industries' Jason Adams


Jason Adams, vice president of systems at Superior, was key in making the relationship between Granite and Superior a true partnership.

“The nice thing we find a lot with our clients, and especially with Granite, is once we partner on a project, it doesn’t become us versus them,” Adams says. “It’s truly coming up with the best design, the best solution. It’s a vendor-end user relationship, but it is truly partnering to get the best for whatever the customer wanted for their money.”

Design optimization

One of the unique features of Solari Sand & Gravel is the on-site pond, which Findley also designed. 

“I’ve seen a lot of ponds where they build a big 200-ft. x 200-ft. or 300-ft. x 300-ft. settling pond,” Findley says. “Well, when that thing starts to fill up with mud, they realize they can’t clean it out just from around the edges and end up building peninsulas out into the pond to be able to get the equipment out there to clean the muck out of the pond.”

Striving to avoid these potential pitfalls for his own operation, Findley thought outside the box and took an innovative approach to Solari’s pond design.

“My idea was to jump past that and build this four-pond design with roadways between it, and every single pond was designed so that a Cat 330 excavator could reach the bottom middle from either side,” Findley says. “I always have the same amount of pond space I started with; I don’t lose it by filling in and not being able to clean it.”

Photo: Superior Industries

A bird’s-eye view of Granite’s Solari Sand & Gravel. Photo: Superior Industries

The three-stage cleaning system consists of two outside ponds as the primary settling ponds, rotating between the two ponds so once one side fills, Findley can switch to the other side so he’s never using all four ponds at once. 

Not only does the innovative design simplify the cleaning process, but it also improves the overall efficiency of the plant. According to Findley, the ponds are also where Solari’s makeup water gets dumped before being pumped back into the plant.

“We’re looking at 78 to 80 percent recycled water,” Findley says. “The price of water out here is very high because water is scarce, so we wanted a pond design and a plant design that optimized the amount of water on-site.”

Ready to run rock

While Solari Sand & Gravel was set to open in late September, the timeline was pushed back due to complications from COVID-19, as well as wildfires throughout California.

“We’ve had slowdowns due to COVID [and] getting materials on time,” Findley says. “The electricians have had a lot of trouble – stuff that’s usually an overnight [job] is taking them four or five days to get shipped to us.”

Zach Mentz

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