Ensuring the quality of our stormwater is an important part of maintaining an environmentally sound workplace. Water treatment and management occurs across all aspects of our business and an example of our stormwater management practices can be demonstrated at our Penrose Concrete plant.
Managing the effects that cement products have on stormwater pH is a major issue for the concrete industry. High pH levels can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life. Additionally, fine particles associated with aggregates can increase the suspended solids component of stormwater, which can also adversely affect the aquatic environment.
The team at our Penrose concrete batching site has made great progress in assessing the risks to the aquatic environment associated with the operation and has begun to mitigate these risks. The main initiative has been to limit the footprint of the processing area where concrete is mixed. We introduced a system of drains that keeps stormwater from this area separate from run-off from other parts of the site.
Other initiatives include ‘bumps’ to release sediment caught on truck tyres and keep it within the processing area and a planting programme that will help stop sediment from other parts of our site reaching waterways. We have also installed filtering systems on the cement silos and covered chemical storage areas to prevent potential stormwater contamination.
These initiatives have significantly reduced the pH in stormwater discharged from the site and we now have a monitoring programme in place to make sure pH levels remain within acceptable limits.