CRUSHING SUCCESS: Waters Excavations Pty Ltd recently opened its concrete recycling facility in the Cowra Avenue extension at Twentieth Street, where they are producing a range of materials from recycled concrete, brick and asphalt.

By JOHN DOOLEY

IN an era where taking heavy waste materials to landfill is becoming increasingly more costly, and in the case of some materials prohibitive, finding a recycling solution just makes good sense.

Enter Sunraysia’s first and only waste materials recycling facility for concrete, brick and asphalt.

Opened in August by Waters Excavations, the recycling operation will divert heavy duty waste, which would otherwise end up in local landfills, and provide an environmentally and financially viable option for commercial operators and the public. 

Established more than 50 years ago, Waters Excavations is Sunraysia’s premier excavation, demolition, civil contracting and concrete recycling company, specialising in road construction, demolition, drainage, irrigation, sewerage and general earthworks, and in the production of limestone and recycled products such as crushed concrete, brick and asphalt. 

The company’s managing director is Michael Waters, who is the son of founder and well-known vintage aircraft aviator, John Waters.  

“We’ve been recycling concrete for more than 15 years at a previous site, and the original reason for the recycling of concrete was when local landfills began charging for disposal of this waste product,” Mr Waters said.

“When the tips and landfills started charging fees for waste to be taken to them, we looked at the options. We’d been in demolition for years, and of course light-weight stuff doesn’t matter because it doesn’t weigh much, but concrete and brick do, and so we looked at the options of crushing it, and over a period of time we’ve come to the point now where we are recycling these heavy waste materials.”

The new facility is able to recycle concrete, asphalt and bricks, which come from a variety of demolition sites, including curb and channels, driveways, shed slabs and old buildings – predominately civil construction waste.

The recycled material can then be used to provide ‘road-base’ for new road construction.

“We have been contracted to complete the intersection upgrade in Ontario Avenue near the Mildura Base Hospital for the Mildura Rural City Council, building a roundabout and carpark,” Mr Waters said.

“We’ve recycled some of the road-base and asphalt that was originally in Game Street, Merbein, crushed and screened it, and reused it for the sub-base of the car park being built adjacent to the Ontario Avenue roundabout.”

Mr Waters said his company produces a variety of accredited products which can be used in road construction and drainage. 

“We do a raw quarry product as well to add to our offering. We have a quarry at Meringur where we produce raw limestone which is a harder rock than recycled concrete and is also used in road-making,” he said.

When a load of concrete arrives at the recycling plant, it’s sorted prior to being pulverised into a manageable size, and to reduce the steel content, following which the material goes through various mobile screens and primary – secondary crushers.

Concrete usually contains various steel or reinforcing mesh which is removed with the aid of powerful magnets before the concrete is crushed and screened. 

The retained steel residue is then sent to the scrap metal recyclers – nothing is wasted.

The recycled concrete is made into a number of products, including ‘single-sized aggregates’ which are produced in several sizes – 20mm, 14mm and 7mm. 

Road-base products, however, are the main product, including VicRoads spec Class 2 and Class 3 for road construction.  

The recycled products stones are used for a number of different applications, but mostly for road-base, particularly because the aggregate-mix contains fine particles to make the road-base hold together.

The recycling plant operates on a reasonably efficient basis, employing two to three workers to receive the waste product and operate the heavy machinery that undertakes the recycling process.

“There’s always plenty to do here, however because we have a healthy stockpile of product, we aren’t processing every day, and so our staff can be deployed on other company projects if required,” Mr Waters said.

While the public is welcome to bring concrete and brick to the plant, currently the bulk of the product being recycled is delivered by commercial operators. 

If demand in the future calls for access for domestic customers, consideration will be given to opening on the weekends, according to Mr Waters.

In the meantime, the company operates a chargeable collection service to pick up people’s concrete and brick waste, delivering this waste to the facility.

The aim is to alleviate the need for customers to come out to the plant. 

Quotes can be given on request.