Recognizing the rewards of reclamation

By |  March 30, 2016
Thornton Quarry, owned by Lehigh Hanson, is an attraction dubbed the Grand Canyon of the Midwest by locals

Hanson Material Service and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District completed the reclamation of the north lobe of the Thornton Quarry in November 2015.

Quarry reclamation projects sometimes take years or even decades to complete, but the rewards of following through with these types of projects are often well worth the efforts. Aggregate producers can reap several benefits from completing reclamation projects that improve their surrounding communities.

Hanson Material Service’s Thornton Quarry, located in a Chicago suburb, recently reaped some benefits from following through with a reclamation project on a portion of its quarry. Hanson Material Service partnered with the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in 1998 to agree to finish mining operations at the north lobe of the quarry by 2013 to allow that section of the quarry to be transformed into a reservoir. The Thornton Reservoir project was completed in November 2015. According to the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP), the reservoir now benefits about 556,000 people in the area, protecting the homes and facilities from pollution and flooding. The reservoir, which holds up to 7.9 billion gallons of water, redirects stormwater through a tunnel to be treated at a local water reclamation plant.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Mines and Minerals (OMM) awarded Hanson Material Service and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District its 2016 Illinois Mined Land Reclamation award for the Thornton Quarry reclamation project. OMM honored the two groups at IAAP’s Aggregate Miner Safety Conference in March.

Several mainstream media outlets such as the Chicago Tribune and local Chicago TV news stations have recognized the project over the past year as a good thing for their community, reducing pollution and flooding. Positive press is huge in the aggregates industry, as the industry often faces negative attention from the media.

Although the Thornton Quarry reclamation project took almost two decades to complete, Hanson Material Service’s persistence to finish the project paid off. The project helps thousands of community members, protecting them against floods. Local news media has commended the creation of the Thornton Reservoir, which puts the aggregates industry as a whole in a good light.

About the Author:

Megan Smalley is the associate editor of Pit & Quarry. Contact her at msmalley@northcoastmedia.net or 216-363-7930.

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