Mobile screen protects river recreational area

By |  March 9, 2018

Welch Sand & Gravel operates its Lokotrack ST3.8 mobile screen along the Great Miami River in Hamilton, Ohio. Photos courtesy of Metso

Welch Sand & Gravel, a 50-year old family-owned company, has grown over the years and consistently ranks in the top 10 of Ohio’s largest sand and gravel producers.

Founded by Charlie Welch and currently under the management of sons Jim and Ron Welch, Welch Sand & Gravel is participating in a unique environmental project to keep glacial outwash from impacting a key recreational area of the Great Miami River.

First, the natural outwash is removed from a section of the river. Then, the gravel is processed with a new Lokotrack ST3.8 mobile screen from Metso.

Glacial outwash

At one time, glaciers up to a mile thick covered two-thirds of Ohio.

When the last ice age in North America ended around 10,000 years ago, the receding glaciers left behind large deposits of highly permeable sand and gravel, known as glacial outwash. Today, the Great Miami River transports a large amount of this outwash, depositing it where flow conditions change, including in the slower currents running through the city of Hamilton, Ohio.

The local water authority contracts with Welch Sand & Gravel to remove outwash from a 15-acre section of the river in Hamilton. Welch is only allowed to excavate to a depth of 3 to 4 ft., to prevent the outwash from moving further downstream, as well as to keep the summer pool area open. The local community uses the pool for recreational activities, including fishing, boating, canoeing and other water sports.

Welch operates the Lokotrack ST3.8 mobile screen at the Black Street Bridge site in Hamilton, where the company has a seasonal permit allowing it to mine river gravel from March through December. Welch has had the permit for this work since 2004, and the amount of material removed each year varies depending on the weather.

“We have done as much as 119,000 tons, with an average of 50,000 to 78,000 tons out of the Great Miami River operation,” says Rick Goessling, production manager. “It all depends on the amount of rainfall and flooding that takes place.”

Efficiency with new screen

Photo courtesy of Metso

Welch Sand & Gravel’s Rick Goessling, left, with Process Machinery’s Gary Honchell.

The new Lokotrack ST3.8 mobile screen replaces an older model ST356 screen from Metso that was in operation since 2006.

“We ran that ST356 mobile plant for about 10 to 11 years, and we wore it out,” says Goessling, who has been with the company since 1981. “We ran millions of tons of gravel through that thing, and we just decided it was time to update. So we called Process Machinery.”

Process Machinery Inc. is Metso’s distributor in the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. After conferring with Gary Honchell, Process Machinery’s senior sales manager, Welch Sand & Gravel decided to purchase the new Lokotrack ST3.8 screen.

“Our customers want equipment that will last,” Honchell says. “Metso’s new mobile screens are not only built sturdier, but most of the key parts are galvanized for longer life at no additional cost.”

One-stop process

Photo courtesy of Metso

The Lokotrack ST3.8 screen serves as a replacement for an ST356 screen.

The mining process at Black Street Bridge is a one-stop operation.

Welch operators use a hydraulic excavator to remove material from the river and transport it by truck to the Black Street Bridge site. The wet river gravel is dumped on the ground and allowed to dry for 24 hours (or until it becomes workable), and then processed through the Lokotrack ST3.8 mobile screen.

Any material pulled from the river becomes Welch’s responsibility to either process or properly dispose of in accordance with strict environmental regulations. This includes everything from tree branches to old tires and general river debris.

On average, Welch Sand & Gravel processes 1,500 to 2,000 tpd of outwash material through the ST3.8. The screening plant combines an 18-ft. x 5-ft. double-deck screen with an advanced process control system and fuel-efficient engine package.

Welch produces 1 1/2-in. minus product from the top screen deck, and everything from 3/8-in. pea gravel all the way down to sand from the second deck.

“So far we are very happy with the ST3.8 and how fast we can move it, set up and run,” Goessling says. “There have been some great changes that make it so much more user friendly, and I think it will do a great job for us.”

About Welch Sand & Gravel

Welch Sand & Gravel is a 50-year-old family-owned company serving the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio region, including portions of Indiana and Kentucky. Charlie Welch founded the company, which is currently under the management of sons Jim and Ron Welch. Welch’s aggregate products are used by concrete and asphalt producers, as well as by private and public contractors.

Information for this article courtesy of Metso.

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