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Twist and turns: flexibility is the key in a critical brownfield project in Woodbridge, N.J.

"We've developed a lot of brownfield sites, and every one of them has unveiled many twists and turns from plan," says Joshua Adler, a partner with South Plainfield, N.J.-based Adler Development. "You just have to do your best."

Adler's philosophy rang true with the recent brownfield project at the Ecolab property in Woodbridge, N.J. The developer and the demolition contractor demonstrated teamwork at its best in clearing the site.

The multi-level, 40-plus-year-old building held many secrets not discovered until actual demolition began. From the industrial-strength, concentrated cleaners and degreasers mixed at the facility to the lack of building plans, the property tested the experience of all involved in bringing the building down.


The residual caustic chemicals from Ecolab's cleaner product line left behind high pH levels throughout the factory, requiring an acid-based wash down of the entire facility prior to demolition. Monitoring wells had to be installed to keep an eye on downstream flow of "hot spot" areas.

The original building foundation plans were not available to demolition contractor Dallas Contracting Co. Inc., also of South Plainfield, N.J. "We had no way of knowing exactly how much concrete we would find in the footings and foundations," recalls Damon Kozul, vice president of operations at Dallas Contracting. When the crew started sizing the foundation, Kozul discovered it was much larger and more heavily reinforced than anticipated.

However, this unexpected twist was handled in stride. "It wasn't anything that we couldn't handle with our excavators and Eagle UltraMax 1000-15CV portable crushing plant," says Kozul. In fact, the impactor plant was so efficient at crushing the heavily reinforced concrete that it outpaced the excavators' ability to size material and was moved offsite to another crushing job while more properly sized material was stockpiled. All of this helped to avoid serious subsequent project delays while keeping demolition of Ecolab on schedule.


Built in the 1960s, the Ecolab facility was situated on 24 acres of land in the heart of Woodbridge's industrial area. Located at the port, right off the New Jersey turnpike and with nearby rail service, the site is a prime location for warehousing and distribution.

Throughout the years, Ecolab built onto the original building and added multiple levels until the facility included more than 235,000 square feet of factory and office space. But with changing business priorities, the Minnesota-based company no longer required such a large space for its sizable New Jersey operations.

Adler Development's original intention was to share the facility with Ecolab, using a majority of the space for warehousing. But it didn't take long for the developer to discover that the arrangement was not going to work. "The building had only 19.5-foot clearance, which is not nearly high enough for today's warehousing practices," notes Joshua Adler.

Additionally, the years of processing powders with pH levels reaching 16, necessary to make the industrial-strength cleaners, were eating away at sections of the building. So, Adler Development decided the best course of action was to demolish the old structure and build a new, modern warehouse to meet the needs of imports/exporters, supermarkets and other anticipated customers.

Before the new facility could be built, much work had to be done to demolish the old structure and to clean up the site. More than 1,000 tons of contaminated soil had to be removed for remediation, and The MAC Group LLC conducted minor building asbestos abatement.

After that, the project's non-friable demolition work was handed over to Dallas Contracting. The demolition contractor offers turnkey services from salvage and demolition to crushing and recycling.

Many of the building's components (including the fire pumps, generators, roll-up doors, light fixtures and electrical equipment) were salvaged and sold through Dallas Contracting's sister company Environmental Aggregates and Surplus Equipment LLC.

According to Kozul, "the new business is a natural fit for our company." He adds, "Similar to when we added our crushing and recycling services, it helps us to be more efficient and give a better value to our customer."

Dallas Contracting then brought in its heavy equipment to take down the building. Komatsu 450-7 and PC300 excavators equipped with grapples and LaBounty shear attachments chewed away at the old structure, while front-end loaders and skid steers cleared the smaller debris. All of the salvageable steel was recycled and sold to scrap dealers.

The concrete was sorted and sized in preparation for crushing and recycling so it could be used as fill material for the new construction. The nearly 100,000-square-foot asphalt parking lot--a late addition to the demolition contract--was also removed and recycled to make way for improved parking and loading facilities.

"Through our equipment salvage, scrap steel recycling and crushing the concrete, asphalt, masonry block and brick, we are achieving at least a 75 percent recycling rate on the Ecolab project," claims Kozul.


By far, the lion's share of the recyclable material on site came from the concrete building and asphalt parking lot. An estimated 45,000 tons of material--35,000 tons of concrete, masonry block and brick and another 10,000 tons of asphalt--was crushed via the company's portable UltraMax 1000-15CV horizontal shaft impact crushing plant, made by Eagle Crusher Co. Inc., Gallon, Ohio.

Crushing concrete and asphalt materials was a prime example of the twists commonly found on this project. The larger and more heavily reinforced footings and foundations posed a challenge for the demolition crew. "On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the toughest to recycle), I would rank this a 9.5 to 10," says Carl Franzetti, site supervisor for Dallas Contracting. "This building was built like a bunker."

Heavily reinforced is an understatement, according to those who worked on the project. The foundation's construction included rebar positioned on 3-inch centers. At the height of demolition, Dallas Contracting and the crusher were churning out three to four 30-yard containers of rebar per day.

"The builders went crazy with the rebar and concrete," adds Franzetti. He theorizes that the structure was overbuilt to accommodate for the site's poor soil conditions.

The oversized, overbuilt concrete foundations slowed the excavators a bit when sizing the material to 2 feet by 2 feet, but it did not phase the crushing plant at all. The plant's UM 15 three-stage impact crusher's 42-inch-by-32-inch feed opening has easily crunched the steady diet of sized material fed by Dallas Contracting's crew.

Switching from crushing concrete to the late-addition asphalt parking lot has also gone smoothly. "We just move the conveyor, so the asphalt discharges into a separate pile," says Franzetti. Although the impactor may be able to get better wear with an Eagle Crusher high chrome blow bar when crushing asphalt, on a job this small it is more efficient to crush with the medium bars, he notes.

For the Ecolab project, the sized concrete and asphalt slabs have been reduced to a 2.5-inch-minus final product, which will be used as fill material for parts of the new warehouse facility. "The asphalt can be used as road base and the concrete for pipe and footings backfill," comments Franzetti.


According to Kozul, owning a portable crushing plant like the UltraMax 1000-15CV just makes economic sense for a demolition contractor. Adler agrees and adds, "It saves us money at both ends, first hauling the old material off site and [then] bringing in new for construction. It's good for everyone involved."

It gives companies like Dallas Contracting a competitive edge through offering turnkey services and saving its customers money. "By crushing on site, we typically save our customers $13 per ton in trucking and dumping fees associated with hauling the material to a recycling yard," claims Kozul. On a job the size of Ecolab, this has added up to more than a $500,000 savings for the customer, just on the recycling costs alone.

Another key to the savings, according to Kozul, is selecting a crushing plant that is truly portable. With the UltraMax plant, Dallas Contracting can move on site and be ready to crush within an hour. "We have to remind our customers that the same day we move in the plant we want to be crushing," says Kozul.

The self-contained UltraMax 1000-15CV requires very little set-up or tear down, according to Franzetti, which lends to increased portability. "To tear down, we use the hydraulic outriggers to lift the machine, flip the brace to hand crank the magnet into position and fold the stacking conveyor under the discharge belt, and we are ready to be on the road," says Franzetti.

With such a portable plant, Dallas Contracting can process small custom crushing jobs as well as the large demolition projects, and it gives the company some scheduling flexibility. "When we crushed the first material stockpile at the Ecolab project, we were able to quickly move the plant and crush another job while we were waiting for the excavators to size more concrete in Woodbridge," explains Kozul.

With the Ecolab building demolition work complete, Adler Development will now start to build its 351,000-square-foot warehouse.

Thanks to a 75 percent recycling rate and the material generated by the crushing plant, the old is now a part of the new in Woodbridge. "The guys at Dallas Contracting know their craft and are good at it," says an appreciative Adler. "We look forward to working with them in the future."

The author submitted this article on behalf of Eagle Crusher Co. Inc., Galion, Ohio.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Demolition Job Story
Author:Zettler, Rick
Publication:Construction & Demolition Recycling
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Previous Article:State of the union: the CMRA provides an update on current C&D legislation in six states.
Next Article:Correction.

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