Memphis Stone & Gravel Company is regulated by numerous entities including the city and county government, state government, and various federal agencies. We currently operate in Tennessee and Mississippi and have a great working relationship with both the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Federal agencies that routinely guide or monitor our activities include the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Interested in learning more about the origins of U.S. environmental law, see this paper.
Before we begin operations we must obtain permits to construct and operate our facilities. After we start operations, regulatory agencies routinely monitor our facilities to ensure we are operating in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. A safe and healthy environment in which to work is in our own best interest and we work hard to make sure this happens each day we operate.
Water use is a major part of our business, so we pay very close attention to how it is managed. Our wash plants use 5000 to 7000 gallons of water every minute. We design our water systems to utilize gravity to move the water when possible. This reduces the amount of pumping we must do, which reduces energy use. Our process water and most of the rain water that comes into contact with our operation is recycled. Before we can release any water into state waters, it must meet strict standards for water quality.
Because we are mining and processing a naturally wet product, our operations are considered a minor source of air pollution and are excluded from major regulation. Sometimes when we have a period of dry weather we may experience dust from the gravel roads we have on our property or from the dirt we are moving around. For this situation we have specially designed water trucks to apply water to the roads or if necessary use a "water cannon" to apply water directly to the dust source.
A practice that we use to minimize dust is using conveyors to move the raw material from the mine to the processing plant instead of trucks. It is not uncommon to have over a mile of conveyor at any one of our operations. Of course we do not want to breathe dust anymore than the public does, but the Mine Safety and Health Administration does in fact monitor our dust carefully.
Any regulated wastes we generate we must be disposed of properly. Strict regulations govern how products can and cannot be used or disposed. Generally speaking, we are not considered a hazardous waste generator nor do we generate large volumes of solid waste. All our land is reclaimed for another productive use following our mining activity.
Noise is controlled by a number of ways. First we typically build berms around our operations. Berms are vegetated hills that are generally about 8 to 12 feet tall. These berms act as a buffer to absorb noise. Also keep in mind that we are often working 20 to 30 feet below the ground surface. These berms also help to conceal our activity from public view.
Memphis Stone & Gravel Company has begun using innovative backup alarms on all our equipment that utilizes white-noise instead of the typical “beep-beep” sound. These have proven to be a tremendous way to reduce noise levels. If you want to learn more about this technology and how it is helping our neighbors, please review this paper.
Trucks are necessary to move the product to the end users in our community and are thus a vital part of our economy. We do realize that some aspects of trucking may not be perceived as positive by the motoring public, so we take reasonable steps to improve this part of the business. We use wheel wash systems to control track-out onto public roads. This also helps control dust.All truckers doing business with Memphis Stone & Gravel Company must agree to follow company policies with regard to safe operation onsite and on public roads.