From Debris to Dollars
On-Site Screeners, creates value-added products from debris
By Kurt Glaeseman
Often, there’s usable land or even valuable real estate under that topping of bark, dirt, rocks, and metal. But the question is, “how do you get to it?” A massive cleanup is often required to get down to the original topsoil, or too often the site is simply abandoned, a visual eye-sore that diminishes property values and invites inquisitive bureaucratic probing.
Ronnie Lyon and Earley Johnson, co-owners of On-Site Screeners near Medford, Ore., have developed a practical and efficient process to clean up such a site. They can simultaneously restore it back to its original topsoil and recycle valuable by-products. Their solid track record and long-range maintenance plans could well be the answer for logging companies periodically drowning in their own debris.
Working with an Idea
Add to that, Lyon’s dad’s interest in biomass, one of the potential by-products when a mill needed a yard deck cleaned up.
The wheels started to turn. What other products might there be? Defining the products helped develop the process. Basically those products fall into four categories:
On the Site
The 322 loads the hopper, or feeder, of this Power Screen, and the material runs through a shaker screen a six-inch screen on top, down to a three-quarter-inch screen on the bottom. The material finer than three-quarter inch (called “3/4 minus” or “fines”) goes to a mulch pile. Volume-wise, there is usually a lot of mulch. Anything bigger than six inches is handpicked from the top, and a magnet is used to locate metal.
The majority of the material screened will be in that six inch to three-quarter inch range. That goes to a water bath about the size of a semi-trailer (around 2,500 gallons of water). The wood floats in the current and the rock drops to the bottom. Each set is then taken away and stacked by a conveyer.
The Right Tools
But it’s Lyon and Johnson you’ll see doing the machinery maintenance. According to Johnson, this process incorporates lots of moving parts, so keeping the bearings replaced and everything greased are top priorities.
A company seeking the service of On-Site Screeners may want them to get rid of all materials, or the company may want to recycle the material. A bid is usually based on the number of cubic yards to be moved to get down to the natural topsoil. Among other things, transportation of equipment must be considered because it takes seven low beds to move the whole operation.
Sometimes a job request may be a little unique. A Portland company had an old concrete ice house in Washington’s Tri-Cities area. Could On-Site Screeners separate the wood from the concrete? They could and they did. They ran the mixture through their water bath and all worked well. Lyon and Johnson learned that they can work from a bid (like cleaning up a log deck) or on a cost plus basis (the concrete demolition job).
A Mammoth Project
“There are mill sites with millions of yards of topping just sitting around, getting in the way,” says Lyon. “Our whole goal is to go to four or five mills a year and run 30 to 40 thousand yards annually to give the owners time to get rid of the by-products. We can come back the following year and make the same loop. The mills don’t need to spend a huge lump sum, and they could budget for equal, or smaller, subsequent or maintenance work. If nearby mills could work together, geography would not be an issue. The savings could run into millions of dollars.”
And that’s something to take to the bank.
On-Site Screeners can be researched at www.onsitescreenrsinc.com, or contact them by phone at (541) 865-3811.