Spring is finally here, and that means construction season is underway! As we all know, construction zones can be extremely dangerous places for both drivers and workers. That’s exactly why the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) hosts its annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), this year from April 11-15. The weeklong campaign is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of work zones and encourage drivers to use extra caution when driving through any.
Federal law requires federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, to revise and update their strategic plan at the beginning of each new presidential term. In so doing, the DOT invited stakeholders to comment on the Draft DOT Strategic Framework, which included draft strategic goals and strategic objectives to accomplish each strategic goal.
The draft DOT Strategic Framework reflects the agency’s priorities for achieving DOT’s mission through six strategic goals: safety, economic strength and global competitiveness, equity, climate and sustainability, transformation, and organizational excellence. The NAPA organization was the only association providing comments on behalf of the asphalt pavement industry.
NAPA President and CEO Audrey Copeland asked DOT to prioritize worker safety in work zones and the deployment of innovative pavement technologies, both of which should be added to the DOT Strategic Framework. Copeland also recommended the inclusion of a goal: the development of revenue options for the Highway Trust Fund.
Asphalt Materials is Focused on Building, Longer-Lasting, Safer Roads
The Department of Transportation (DOT) published their draft Strategic Framework FY2022-2026, for public comment in November 2021. Shown below are a few of the important elements of the DOT’s document where the focus of Asphalt Materials and this framework as particularly aligned.
DOT’s Goals and Terms Defined
Make our transportation system safer for all people. Work toward a future where transportation-related serious injuries and fatalities are eliminated.
- Safe Workers: Support the health and safety of transportation workers and first responders
- Safe Design: Design and build transportation infrastructure, vehicles, and systems to improve safety outcomes
- Infrastructure Resilience and climate-informed decision-making
- Design for the future. Invest in purpose-driven research and innovation to meet the challenge of the present and modernize a transportation system of the future that serves everyone today and in the decades to come.
- Foster breakthrough discoveries and new knowledge through high-risk, high-reward research driven by policy objectives
- Experimentation: Identify new ideas, new innovation, and new possibilities. Evaluate the opportunities and risks so the Department can support public benefits
- Collaboration and Competitiveness: Work with diverse stakeholders to share noteworthy practices and accelerate the adoption of innovation and technologies
- Flexibility and Adaptability: Design flexibility into transportation system investments to accommodate and respond to changing needs and capabilities to provide long-term benefits
- The DOT has expressed an interest in establishing policies, processes, and innovative culture to effectively and responsibly steward the public’s resources.
- The DOT has expressed an interest in educating the public on the value of their transportation investments
- Sustainability Initiatives: Promote a sustainable, clean, and resilient future
- Focus on program outcomes and enhanced analytics
Asphalt Materials: Focused on Longer-lasting, Safer Roads
One of the most important objectives of Asphalt Materials is to create longer-lasting roads. This objective of AMI is aligned with the DOT and will lead to a more resilient and reliable transportation system, infrastructure and supply chain.
At the core of the Heritage Group is a tradition of innovation and a strong commitment to science. You see it daily in the problem-solving that occurs among our companies and their customers. And, you see it in the world-class research that’s driven growth across The Heritage Group and earned more than 100 patents.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at Heritage Research Group, our central research and development unit which operates at the cutting-edge of technology from its state-of-the-art research facility at The Center in Indianapolis.
Our focus on innovation is further demonstrated by the creation of HG Ventures, our corporate venture arm which is primarily focused on investments in early- and growth-stage opportunities in the infrastructure space.
The Heritage Group has been developing environmentally- sustainable solutions for more than 50 years – we started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created.
Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution all across North America.
We help clients leverage the full potential of waste, identifying opportunities and efficiencies to re-claim value and turn waste into productive, sustainable assets by leveraging our research and development partners.
Equipped with experience and driven by creativity and innovation, we are a team of environmentalists and engineers passionate about doing things the right way or not at all.
A particularly excellent example of a Heritage Group, Heritage Research Lab and Asphalt Materials discovery is VRAM, a void reducing asphalt membrane which has been shown to create longer-lasting safer roads. Many of the objectives, goals and strategies outlined by the DOT can be achieved by using more VRAM across a variety of projects in the United States in 2022 and beyond.
- VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads lead to a more resilient and reliable infrastructure and supply chain
- VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads that are more environmentally friendly than many other mechanical methods
- VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads that are more sustainable
- VRAM is a breakthrough discovery that helps roads last up to 5 years longer and delivers a return on investment of 3 to 5 times its cost
- VRAM is a breakthrough innovation that has an impressive track record that has been performing and delivering results since 2002
- VRAM is being used in 21 states and The District of Columbia. These states can collaborate with other states to accelerate the adoption of the VRAM innovative technology
- VRAM provides long-term benefits as shown in an Indiana DOT life cycle analysis where an investment of $12.5M in J-Band can result in a $39M in savings (approximately 3:1 ROI).
Asphalt Materials, Inc. an Important Company Within The Heritage Group
At The Heritage Group, we have been developing environmentally sustainable solutions for more than 50 years. We started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created. Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution spread across North America.
Sustainability is important all across The Heritage Group. Our businesses are focused on leaving the world a better place for future generations.
At Asphalt Materials (AMI), we work closely with The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). NAPA works to support, advocate, and advance the asphalt pavement industry. One of NAPA’s focus areas for 2022 is climate stewardship and how asphalt is environmentally friendly as it is America’s most recycled material. Our industry continuously explores methods and practices to contribute to a sustainable infrastructure and a healthy environment for generations to come.
It is always worth noting that asphalt delivers sustainability by being the most recycled material in the world !
Be on the lookout for future articles on these subjects throughout 2022.
The asphalt industry has a long history of working with federal regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA. Since the early 1990s, the EPA has done extensive testing on asphalt plant emissions and in 2002 removed this industrial sector from the “major source” category, identifying that emissions from asphalt plants are not an area of concern. (1) NAPA is the National Asphalt Pavement Association.
Understanding Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) as a Clean Fill Material
In 2019, more than 97 million tons of RAP and 921,000 tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the U.S. That year about 139 million tons of RAP and RAS were stockpiled for future use across the country. Reusing RAP in future pavements saved nearly 60 million cubic yards of landfill space during 2019. (2)
As America’s biggest recycler, millions of tons of asphalt pavement material is reclaimed each year during road widening and resurfacing projects, and nearly all of that material is reused. Incorporating reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) into new pavements reduces demands for virgin asphalt binder, helping to keep costs down as well as improving the environmental footprint of projects.
Not all RAP is recycled into new asphalt pavements, however. Occasionally, the question arises as to whether or not RAP can be used as “clean fill.” Although obviously not the highest and best use of this vital resource, regulations regarding when and where RAP can be placed as fill material vary from state to state and can be complex. In most instances, RAP falls under state solid-waste requirements and purview.
Material that is Recycled is Not Considered Solid Waste
Because state environmental agencies often have more restrictive solid-waste disposal regulations than the federal Environmental Protection Agency, it is important to understand how RAP is defined. U.S. EPA classifies RAP as construction and demolition (C&D) debris that is part of the federal solid-waste chain. Federal regulations also identify that if materials are “recycled,” then they are not considered solid waste. However, there is a “speculative accumulation” federal definition that requires a 75 percent annual “turnover” to maintain the recycled material classification vs. solid waste.
There are NO Harmful Compounds Leached from RAP
RAP is not, and never has been, considered a “hazardous” solid waste. Years of leaching studies show that there are no harmful components leached from RAP under the most stringent waste definition extraction conditions. (See NAPA Special Report 190: “Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Stockpile Emissions and Leachate.”) In general, it is acceptable for RAP to be used as a road material — as part of the base, recycled back into pavement, etc. — both from a federal and state perspective. Although U.S. EPA does not appear to have a strict definition of “clean fill”, specific requirements do apply to solid-waste materials applied to land.
The bottom line is that each state’s environmental agency will likely dictate whether or not RAP can be used as a clean fill material. Under normal use and circumstances, RAP should never be considered as hazardous waste. (3)
- NAPA Special Report 190: “Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Stockpile Emissions and Leachate http://www.asphaltpavement.org/images/stories/SR-190revised.pdf
- IS-123: Recycling Hot-Mix Asphalt Pavements http://store.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?productID=171
- Williams, B.A., Willis, Richard & Shacat, Joseph (2019). Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey on Recycled Materials and Warm-Mix Asphalt Usage: 2018 (IS 138) National Asphalt Pavement Association, Greenbelt, Maryland.
Environmental & Sustainability Terms
- Greenhouse Gases
- Many gasses have global warming properties (GHG). The majority of GHG emissions from industrial, commercial, and institutional activities are CO2, CH4, and N2O.
- Carbon Dioxide
- Carbon dioxide is a natural greenhouse gas, commonly produced by the air we exhale. At higher levels, CO2 affects productivity, sleep and infectious disease.
- Some believe carbon dioxide and methane are the biggest drivers of global warming related to human activities
- CO2 is the reference gas for Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared to other GHG gases. GWP = 1
- Methane is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas that is the simplest hydrocarbon and is the major constituent of natural gas
- Some believe carbon dioxide and methane are the biggest drivers of global warming related to human activities
- CH4 GWP = 25 (25 times greater warming potential than CO2)
- Nitrous Oxide
- Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a chemical compound with the chemical formula N2O.
- It is a colorless non-flammable gas at room temperature, with a pleasant, slightly sweet odor and taste.
- It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects.
- Some believe it may be the most important greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide and the biggest human-related threat to the ozone layer
- N2O GWP = 298 (298 times greater warming potential than CO2)
- Carbon dioxide equivalent
- This is the number of metric tons of CO2 emissions with the same global warming potential as one metric ton of another greenhouse gas, and is calculated using Equation A-1 in 40 CFR Part 98
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day, we want to recognize the many AMI employees and their family members that have bravely and selflessly served our country. We express our sincerest gratitude and appreciation for the courage, commitment, and sacrifices you and your families have made. Although we formally honor you on this special day, please know that we appreciate and thank you for your service every day of the year.
Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI) announced today that on November 12th it completed the acquisition of three asphalt terminals from a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation. The purchase of these facilities further expands AMI’s capabilities in the Indiana and Illinois markets and its footprint in the Midwest. AMI plans to retain the current leadership team and employees at all three terminals and will continue to invest in and grow the product suite and capabilities at those sites.
Teamwork makes the dream work. Our Oregon, OH plant volunteers spent some time cleaning up an illegal dumpsite at the new Manhattan Marsh park to help out the community and keep things green.