Business Oriented Air Quality News July/August 1998
When we think about recycling, glass bottles and soda cans come to mind. We don’t typically think about crushing and recycling 20,000 tons of asphalt and concrete.
That’s what’s involved in a project Granite Construction Company is doing with V & J Trucking Company in Lompoc.
“It?s a winning situation all around,” says Linda McCaffrey, Chief Financial Officer for V & J Trucking, a dump-truck service that has been in business in Lompoc for almost 40 years. “I know the City of Lompoc and Vandenberg Air Force Base don’t need this material in their landfills. We can re-sell it locally, and we may get the additional trucking business to transport it, so we benefit too.” Costs of demolition work performed by Caltrans and others are reduced as well, with the elimination of landfill fees.
Instead of being taken to a landfill, pieces of asphalt and concrete from local construction projects are transported to V & J’s location in Lompoc. After accumulating a sizable amount of material, V & J contracts with Granite to crush the material. Once crushed, it can be re-used as a Class 2 road base (a Caltrans classification) in road projects.
McCaffrey notes V & J can price the material so it’s competitive with natural road base available from several quarries in the county. “We’re talking about taking material from local sources-anything from a single individual’s driveway project to a major project at Vandenberg-and re-using it locally.” The project saves trucking miles and emissions from transporting the waste material to the landfill, and from transporting road base from a distant quarry location to Lompoc.
Granite, based in Watsonville, CA, expects to crush about 300,000 tons of asphalt and concrete this year. At the V& J location, about 20,000 tons will be crushed, and an additional 25,000 tons will be crushed at a Goleta location. Granite is responsible for obtaining the required local permits for the crushing operation, and is currently working with California Air Resources Board (CARB) to obtain a statewide permit.
The Emission Reduction Credit (ERC) system is a way to offer pollution reduction for sale. And it?s a win-win. It gives businesses more flexibility in meeting APCD’s rules and it’s good for the air.
What is an ERC?
An ERC is a credit earned by a company when it reduces air emissions beyond what is required by permits and rules. It is an asset that can be used by its owner or sold to companies that need emission offsets.
What is an emission offset?
An emission offset occurs when a company compensates for an increase in emissions in one area by decreasing emissions in another area. For example, if a company is expanding, and the expansion will involve an increase in emissions, this company can use ERCs to offset the emissions increase.
The ERC system works like this. Companies earn ERC certificates for reducing air pollution below what is required by APCD permits and rules. Then, when these companies expand or purchase new equipment and increase their emission levels, they can redeem these ERC certificates. Alternatively, they can sell the ERCs to another company that needs them.
It?s good for business, because it increases the number of options available to businesses that need to meet APCD’s rules and regulations.
It?s good for the air because:
–Emission offset requirements include a set tradeoff ratio that ensures a continuous decrease in air pollution. So when a company redeems ERC certificates to offset increased pollution levels, the end result is less air pollution. And once the certificates are redeemed, the ERCs are retired, and cannot be used again.
Two companies currently have ERCs listed in APCD’s Source Register. For information on how your company can earn or obtain ERCs, see www.sbcapcd.org/eng/nsr/ercs.htm, e-mail us at [email protected] or call Mike Goldman at 961-8821.
REBRAC, the Regional Environmental Business Resource and Assistance Center just established at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, helps businesses meet environmental regulations. One of six REBRACs recently established in the state, the center will provide businesses with technical assistance in developing environmental business plans to meet a variety of types of regulations. For more information, visit the REBRAC website at or call
The Small Business Environmental Home Page serves small businesses and technical assistance programs, and includes regulatory updates, databases and links to other information sources. Visit the site at www.smallbiz-enviroweb.org
CalGOLD (California Government: On-line to Desktops), created by Cal/EPA provides business-by-business requirements for state, regional, and local permits, at www.calgold.ca.gov For information on regional Permit Assistance Centers, call 1-800-GOV-1-STOP.