Town of Richmond Hill (near Toronto, Ontario) is not only one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, it's also one of the most affluent. The investment potential of any available property in th...
Town of Richmond Hill (near Toronto, Ontario) is not only one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, it’s also one of the most affluent. The investment potential of any available property in the town is continually on the rise. For Rick Sova, the owner of Cornerstone Landscaping, the challenge was to help a leading developer in the area to get full value from the property.
Rochon Building Group saw plenty of opportunity in a parcel of 15-acres it had purchased there. Plans were in place for a large residential project. But years ago, long before today’s stringent regulations on land use and waste management, the site that Rochon planned to develop had been the property of a construction contractor. The developer found it had inherited the contractor’s dump site. Under a large section of the property lay a daunting mix of rubble, asphalt and assorted demolition debris. Rochon called Cornerstone for a solution.
Rick Sova describes what he found.
“One corner of the building site was filled with concrete, curbs, rebar, wiring, steel, wooden beams … pretty much anything the contractor wanted to dispose of,” he recalls. “It was completely unusable as a base for building a roadway or parking lot, as my the developer had planned. We had no choice but to dig it all out.”
Established in Brampton, Ontario over 21 years ago, Sova’s company came into the world as a landscape design/build firm. Over the years, Cornerstone has expanded its activities to include, among other ventures, processing its own soil. This experience provided Sova with a solid grounding in screening equipment which, in turn, led Cornerstone into “green” services such as waste processing and recycling operations.
Right idea, right equipment
Sova’s approach was not to simply clear out the dumpsite, but to “mine” it for recyclable materials. With the right equipment, he could reclaim much of the value of the buried materials along with the value of the property itself.
Sova tested his remediation system by bringing in excavators and loaders to dig out the materials, plus a McCloskey 621 trommel to separate the various materials for recycling.
“We had the trommel fitted with a vibrating ‘grizzly’ that scalped off any materials larger than four inches before it entered the hopper,” he explains. “The remaining material was screened through the trommel drum with a two-inch mesh. Screening it this way allowed my crew to separate out the larger materials to be recycled, including anything from four to tow inches in diameter. The remaining material, anything under two inches, was fine enough to recover and use to backfill the excavated area.”
The sorted materials turned into a number of recycling streams. Chunks of concrete and asphalt were put through a grinder for re-use. Wood waste was chipped for mulch or composting. Metals and clean plastics were sorted for delivery to recycling operations. In the end, Cornerstone had to send only the small percentage of the total material to a landfill site.
The principle is simple enough, but the amount of material to be processed was huge, and the developer was on a timeline. Cornerstone ramped up with additional equipment, including a second 621 trommel Sova purchased for the project. With the process in full swing, the two trommels were running 10-hour shifts, with four excavators and two wheel loaders operating continuously to feed them, plus two stackers to pile the screened materials.
Start to finish, Cornerstone processed close to 50,000 cubic yards of dirt and debris over a period of 10 weeks.
“We cleaned out a pretty big hole,” Sova admits. “The remediation area covered a full acre, and we excavated a good nine meters deep — about 30 feet! As we backfilled the site with the fines, we were also compacting it in six-inch lifts, and brought the whole thing back up to grade.”
Sova credits the onsite support he received from the McCloskey factory as an important part of his success with the project. The two trommels that Sova took to Richmond Hill are now working at two Cornerstone soil-processing locations in nearby Caledon and Barrie. The 621 trommels both feature McCloskey’s “Drum X-Change System”, allowing Cornerstone to easily switch out the two-inch screening drums for 3/8-inch screens suitable for soils and composting.
In the beginning, Sova began grinding and screening his landscape debris to produce his own soil mixes. His soils became a successful venture on their own, including production of private label brands for leading retailers. He takes pride in producing soils with no peat content, just “100 per cent compost.” The resulting demand for soils spurred the expansion of Cornerstone’s waste recycling services for other contractors and landscapers.