How Hanson and a waste service company work together

By |  August 13, 2018
Photo by Zach Mentz

Situated at the center of San Diego County, Hanson mines aggregate in “cells” before its partner, Republic Services, converts those areas to landfill. Photo by Zach Mentz

Every quarry is unique in its own way, from location and geological makeup to operational setup and other variables.

This concept absolutely applies to Hanson Aggregates’ Santee Rock Plant, located in Santee, California, about 20 minutes northeast of downtown San Diego. The Santee Rock Plant actively operates in tandem with Republic Services, a waste disposal services company, and its landfill.

Situated at the center of San Diego County, Hanson mines aggregate in “cells” before its partner, Republic, converts those areas to landfill.

“This is their (Republic’s) landfill, they own it,” says Ron Thompson, area operations manager for Hanson in greater San Diego. “We’re just here mining aggregates where they want to put a cell.”

The alliance works for both companies as Hanson is able to produce valuable aggregate while Republic fills the spaces the aggregate producer opens with trash. It’s a classic win-win, but making the arrangement work requires effort on both sides.

Photo by Zach Mentz

Site management requires collaboration between Hanson Aggregates and Republic, as well LB3 Enterprises, which Hanson contracts for certain services. Photo by Zach Mentz

“There’s a lot of planning that has to go into it,” says Thompson, who’s been with Hanson for 24 years, including the last 16 years as a plant manager.

“We’ve had to move the plant. It’s a little bit different in that you can’t mine one big hole and be done.”

Among the challenges Hanson faces on site are where and how to stockpile material after a particular cell is mined.

“About 60 percent of what we mine is a waste fill material,” Thompson says. “Republic needs [material] back at the end, but the tricky part is they don’t need it until the end. So we have to stockpile 60 percent of what we mine. We have to constantly manage that because there’s really no place to put it.”

Fortunately, Hanson and Republic representatives find ways to simultaneously utilize the site to the advantage of both companies.

“We’re constantly evolving, constantly changing and working on things,” Thompson says. “We typically meet weekly to keep everything on task.”

Key plant components

Hanson’s Santee Rock Plant is relatively hidden, about two miles back from Mast Boulevard and adjacent to the San Clemente Canyon Freeway. A vast collection of equipment that helps Hanson produce consistently saleable product makes up the plant.

For example, the site’s primary crusher is an S4800 cone featuring two 8-ft. x 20-ft. triple-deck inclining Deister screens. The secondary crusher is a Sandvik H6800 cone that’s supported with two 8-ft. x 20-ft. Deister screens. A REMco Super 100 impactor is used to break soft particles.

In its wash plant, Hanson has a 6-ft. x 20-ft. Deister flat-deck screen that helps produce washed manufactured sand.


Watch: Eddie Chapman, quality control manager of Hanson Aggregates’ West Region, discusses the company’s approach to quality control in an exclusive P&Q video.


“We’re washing probably 10 percent of our [manufactured] sand right now,” Thompson says. “[The plant] does make a washed sand that we can use in our slurry mixes.”

Hanson also employs the services of LB3 Enterprises, a contractor specializing in mass grading and underground utilities, for assistance in rock excavation.

In addition, Hanson Santee leans on AOM – aggregate operation management – as a tool to enhance operations. The technology helps to diagnose causes of equipment breakdowns, when the plant is running, tonnages plants are running, man-hours into the plant and other key performance indicators.

“[AOM] gives us really good data to make good decisions on how to better run and maintain the plant, increase availability and those types of things,” Thompson says. “It’s as close to live as we can get so the guys actually running the plant are putting in the information as the plant is running.”

Quality control measures

Photo by Kevin Yanik

Eddie Chapman, right, serves Hanson Aggregates as quality control manager for the West region while Craig Posvar is plant manager of the Santee Rock Plant. Photo by Kevin Yanik

Also key to Hanson’s success at Santee is a thorough attention to detail throughout the mining process. Quality control is the responsibility of all employees at the Santee Rock Plant.

“Quality control, for us, begins in the pit with the mining,” says Eddie Chapman, quality control manager at Hanson for the company’s West region. “We have the philosophy that everybody needs to pay attention to quality control regardless of their position inside the production facility.”

Chapman explains that by having all employees contribute to the quality control process, that teamwork helps to identify issues before they become bigger issues, ensuring finished products are within project specifications.

“We have all eyes on products all the time, from start to finish,” Chapman says.

A multitude of questions is taken into consideration throughout the quality control process. Some questions Hanson considers: Is there contamination in the product? Are there extra fine chips in a product? Are products too wet?

“We want our products to be the same for every customer,” Chapman says.

To further assist in the quality control process, Hanson uses a product from Stonemont Solutions to ensure consistency.

“It’s a great tool for us,” Thompson says. “It offers you guidelines on how to make a spec material. What keeps our QC in good standing is we have a dedicated staff that takes samples and does it on site so we get instant results. They go back and put all that information in [to Stonemont Solutions]. Stonemont allows us to see histories and trends you’re not going to see by getting an email every day.”

By keeping those histories on hand and analyzing trends over time, Hanson has a better understanding of the factors that impact the consistency of its products.

“You might see your standard deviation moving every day when it changes a little bit,” Thompson says. “When you look at Stonemont, you can see a trend going on, day-to-day changes and problems. Stonemont gives us a very good look.”

Safety first

In an industry where workplace safety is of the utmost importance, Hanson’s Santee Rock Plant puts emphasis on safety above all else.

“Safety is our number one priority,” Chapman says. “You always have to consider the ‘what ifs.’”

Hanson’s emphasis on workplace safety comes from the top down. According to Thompson, the company culture is one where the goal isn’t to say “caught you,” but where people are legitimately invested in the safety of themselves and those around them.

“The culture we have built at Santee and all of our Hanson sites is a very open culture where we can talk about [safety] and talk to anybody, whether that’s a manager talking to an employee or an employee talking to a president,” Thompson says.

Every morning before starting a new workday, Santee leaders organize safety meetings lasting anywhere from five to 10 minutes. During these conversations, employees document workplace hazards. Key conversations are shared through a companywide online platform that creates dialogue about improving workplace safety across plants.

“We put in conversations we have with our employees, whether it was good or bad,” Thompson says. “We don’t just look at the good or bad stuff, we try to look at both. When we do see something and come up with an answer for that, if it’s a best practice, we secure it and it goes out to everybody. We want to learn something once.”

Examples of documented safety topics include the flagging of vehicles, increasing signage at plants, best practices for pedestrian walkways and parking larger equipment. Hanson also has one employee per plant designated to supervise safety and ensure appropriate practices are consistently being used and enforced.

“The goal is to get everybody home safe every day, and that’s our number one concern,” Chapman says. “As an employee, I really appreciate that and I think the majority, if not all, do.”

Comments are closed