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Holcim: Outdated equipment removal to change local skyline


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Two projects are underway at the Holcim plant on Route 9W, formerly known as LafargeHolcim. File photo

RAVENA – A pair of projects at the Holcim plant are expected to give Ravena and Coeymans a new look, according to the company.

Robert McGehee, director of Environment and Land at Holcim, formerly known as LafargeHolcim, presented an overview of the company’s plans at the town council’s February meeting.

The first project, known as the Reclamation and Beautification Project, will remove outdated equipment at the plant.

“We are very dedicated to the environment, to the relationships that we have with the community members,” McGehee said. “As part of that goal, we are investing $5 million in a reclamation project at the plant. This was not spurred by any action other than us just wanting to be better neighbors than we have been in the past.”

“This project will see some of the old legacy equipment brought down at the facility. It will begin this March,” McGehee added.

The reclamation phase of the $4.5 million modernization project will dismantle, remove and recycle old, outdated structures and equipment at the plant, and is expected to impact the community’s skyline with the removal of several large structures., including the plant’s original kiln and the precipitator building.

The project is expected to be completed in the second half of this year, McGehee said.

The structures that are slated for removal were installed in the 1960s and have not been in use since around 2014, he said. Removal will not involve explosives or implosions, according to McGehee.

“The reclamation will take place using modern methods to dismantle equipment safely,” he said. “No explosives whatsoever will be used. Obviously we are very close to the school, so that was the biggest thing for us for this project – zero use of explosives. All the processes and methods that are employed will minimize any vibration, dust, noise, etc.”

Air quality will be monitored during removal, and most of the work will not be visible to the community.

“Most of the work that we will be doing nobody will be able to see – there are only a few parts of the project that will really be visible. It will mostly be visible to our across-the-street neighbors, which is the school,” McGehee said.

Work could be completed by the fall of this year.

“You’ll see probably in September, October, that these pieces of equipment are no longer there,” McGehee said. “The precipitator building that you can see from Route 9W and also the original kiln lines that when they were installed in the 1960s… they were the largest single pieces of moving equipment in the entire world and they were heralded as the future of the industry, but we have changed that game – we are now working on something better than that.”

The company is also looking at another project – building a new access road for the quarry, with the goal of redirecting truck traffic off portions of Jarvis and Mountain roads and onto plant-owned roads and county streets, according to the company website.

“Reducing truck traffic on these roads will improve air quality, reduce noise and improve overall quality of life for residents along the roadway,” according to a statement from the company.

The proposed road construction project is under review with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“Once the DEC has approved the project, then we have to go into what’s called SEQR review (State Environmental Quality Review),” McGehee said. “The SEQR review process is where they look at all of the cumulative impacts, so they’re not just looking at air emissions, which is generally what they look at, but they look at community impact, traffic impact – all of these other impacts that are associated with the project.”

If the SEQR process is completed, then there will be a public comment and review period before final approval can be granted.

That phase of the project will involve explosives to blast about 60 feet into the hillside to extend the road, he added.

The proposal to build the road to redirect traffic was developed in response to feedback from the community and elected officials with regard to truck traffic on local streets, which residents have complained about for years.

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