Thursday, April 8, 2010

Green Terminal Development

All along the West Coast, ports are in a race to upgrade their facilities to attract and hold tenants. At the same time, the pressure to do so in an environmentally responsible manner has never been greater. The ports and the contractors they employ have risen to the challenge, and have completed projects that meet the needs of the environmental community, the state and federal regulators and, more importantly, the clients.

Oakland Materials Management

At the Port of Oakland, the maintenance, repair, and construction of maritime terminals, wharves, roads, and structures generates substantial quantities of asphalt, concrete and soil, while new construction projects frequently require large quantities of aggregate base, drain rock, and clean fill. The Port of Oakland staff designed a Materials Management Program, under which the Port handles and stores concrete, asphalt, and soil generated by construction projects at a centralized location within the Port’s footprint. The Port has retained a contractor to crush the stockpiled asphalt and concrete to project and regulatory specifications to create drain rock and aggregate base. The Port then provides the drain rock and aggregate base to the project engineers and contractors, for use in constructing new facilities. For crushing activities in the maritime area, the Port issued a RFP and retained Evans Brothers, Inc. (EBI) as the successful bidder. The Port has operated its Materials Management Program at the seaport since 2007, and estimates that it has diverted 119,198 cubic yards of material from area landfills and saved Port projects an estimated $2,974,000 in disposal costs. During the same period (January 2007-November 2009), the Port estimates that it has reused 32,000 tons of crushed material, for a total estimated savings of $150,000. Total savings: $3,124,000.

The Port of Oakland has also developed the Industrial Group Monitoring Program (IGMP) to help marine terminal operators comply with complex storm water permit requirements. Under the IGMP, the Port assists its tenants by providing storm water sampling analysis and testing, facility inspections, compliance and reporting assistance, and training. Tenants benefit from participation in the IGMP by saving significant consultant and monitoring costs, improved compliance with stormwater permit requirements, and reduced exposure to enforcement action. Over the years, the Port has documented improved implementation of best management practices and improved water quality at participating facilities. The Port considers the IGMP a “win-win” for the Port and its tenants by simplifying and improving compliance, reducing environmental harm and reducing environmental liability.

Long Beach Waste Material Recycling

The Long Beach project is expected to recycle 16,300 tons of asphalt, 6,600 tons of base and 60,000 tons of concrete, as well as 5,000 tons of steel. Photo courtesy of the Port of Long Beach.

As the Port of Long Beach plans $3 billion in improvements to its terminals, roads, bridges and railways over the next decade, the Port is including technology and systems that will help clean the air even as container trade increases.

Leading the way will be a new era in emissions reduction from construction equipment with the Port’s upcoming Middle Harbor terminal redevelopment project, where everything from bulldozers to construction tugboats will be required to take steps to reduce diesel exhaust and other emissions with newer engines, cleaner fuels and particulate traps.

Some of the Port’s environmental policies have already been implemented, including shore power and on-dock rail, as well as the aggressive recycling requirements for demolition materials at the Port.

Reclaimed Resources

The Port’s strict recycling guidelines seek out ways to reuse the tons of concrete, asphalt, base aggregate and demolished building materials as a means of saving landfill space, and truck trips, in a region where landfill space is at a premium and air quality is a serious concern.

In the development of new terminal facilities at the port, work crews from contractor Connolly Pacific Co. are demolishing a wharf structure that surrounds a slip slated to be filled in. While the fill-in will one day create a more efficient terminal layout for operator ITS, the port is able to reuse all the demolition material, including concrete deck and pilings that have been sunk in the water for decades.

The project is expected to recycle 16,300 tons of asphalt, 6,600 tons of base and 60,000 tons of concrete, as well as 5,000 tons of steel.

The work is being completed with State air emissions-compliant equipment, including harbor craft and off-road equipment, and has provided the full time engagement of approximately 50 people for 6 months, not including various vendors.

Other materials like excavated asphalt and non-contaminated soil are reused as a matter of course all across the Port, which includes requirements for such recycling in its agreements with contractors. Reused soil alone can amount to up to tens of thousands of cubic yards a year.

The Port is using a new system to reuse the waste base gravel or aggregate underneath the pavement. By grinding up the material and mixing it with cement, the Port can reuse the material, saving money and avoiding trucking out the waste and trucking in new supplies.

Preliminary site preparation for the Port’s new administration and maintenance complex included the razing of a truck depot structure and the recycling of the tons and tons of pavement and base. When it’s complete, the preparation will have recycled 95 percent of the demolition materials, and assisted in the Port’s efforts to gain a “platinum level” Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating for the building.

New Materials

Under the Port of Long Beach’s Green Building procedures, contractors are required to obtain a substantial amount of the construction materials from local sources.

The Port prefers to transfer reusable soil and fill from one project to another that may need it, but when there’s not an imminent project, the Port is working on setting aside vacant land at the Port to store material for another time. The Port would have to forgo potential income on the site, but would save landfill spaces and truck trips.

Currently, Manson Construction Co. is acting as the contractor in a joint project between the Port and the US Army Corps of Engineers to dredge parts of the Long Beach Harbor. Not only is the dredge material being reused right in the Port as slip fill material, Manson is using an electric-powered dredger, rather than diesel. The Port has mandated that all capital dredging will use electrical power, thus reducing substantial amounts of emissions for large projects.

In early 2009, the Port dedicated its new Port of Long Beach Security Command and Control Center, a three-story, 25,000-square-foot facility that qualified for silver LEED certification. As part of earning that certification, contractor FTR International was required to recycle more than 75 percent of the demolition and construction waste materials at the site. It exceeded this requirement by recycling more than 90 percent of all construction waste materials.

For its upcoming Middle Harbor terminal redevelopment project, the Port of Long Beach has created a “sediment management plan,” a comprehensive plan to maximize the reuse of dredged sediments as slip fill to avoid dumping it in landfills or the ocean, or having to dig somewhere else – a “fresh dig” – just for fill. The project will also accept dredged material from other dredging projects in the region, unrelated to the Port, to provide a useful way to reuse that material.

LA’s Green Wheels

Across the harbor, the Port of Los Angeles is concentrating its efforts on wheeled equipment. The Port’s Clean Truck Program is a central element of its Clean Air Action Plan, which targets major sources of air emissions at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – ships, trains, trucks, cargo handling equipment and harbor craft. In its first year, the Port estimates the program reduced the rate of port truck emissions by 70 percent. When fully implemented in 2012, the port expects truck emissions to be reduced by more than 80 percent.

One way the port hopes to reduce emissions is with an all-electric drayage truck, built as a demonstration project co-funded by the Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Intended specifically for short-haul or “drayage” operations, the electric tractor, designed and produced exclusively for the Port by Balqon Corporation, is the result of nearly a year of development and testing. The heavy-duty electric short-haul drayage truck can pull a 60,000-pound cargo container at a top speed of 40 mph, and has a range of 30 to 60 miles per battery charge. Up to four electric trucks can be charged simultaneously by one charger in four hours, or as much as 60 percent of the charge in one hour to meet peak demands during daily operations.
Seattle’s Green Goal
When Seattle Port Executive Director Tay Yoshitani took the reins three years ago, he announced his commitment to make Seattle “the cleanest, greenest, and most energy-efficient Port in America.” 

When Yoshitani took over, the Port had already switched to alternative fuels in seaport equipment, and two cruise ship berths had been fitted with shore power. Further steps toward Yoshitani’s goal include green product purchasing, sustainable building practices, reduced energy consumption, recycling, air quality improvement and noise reduction measures. 

In addition to the port’s shore power at two cruise ship berths, an at-berth clean fuels program, in partnership with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, provides up to $2,250 per vessel call for participating ships that burn 0.5% or less sulfur content fuel while at berth in Seattle. Nearly 200 pieces of cargo handling equipment at the port have been retrofitted with emissions reduction devices or are running on low sulfur fuel or biodiesel.

The Port’s ScRAPS (Scrappage and Retrofits for Air in Puget Sound) clean truck program has removed 100 pre-1994 trucks from the Port’s drayage fleet. Owners who scrap trucks through the program can receive up to $5,000 for their pre-1994 trucks. More than half of the scrapped trucks have been replaced with newer, cleaner models.
Seattle’s ongoing piling maintenance and replacement program replaces old, creosote soaked wooden piles with more environmentally friendly concrete or steel piles, as well as corrosion resistant plastic piles, made of recycled material and impervious to marine borers, which the Port recently installed at its Maritime Industrial Center facility.

Perhaps one of the biggest sustainability factors affecting the Port of Seattle and other Pacific Northwest ports is the “fish window” from mid-August to mid-February. During this time, no in-water construction work can take place although he dates vary a bit from location to location. 

Most Pacific Northwest ports are operating in areas with active native commercial and subsistence fisheries, which, by law, must be accommodated. In an ongoing effort to sustain the fisheries, the Port of Seattle has launched an interesting innovation at Terminal 115, which is home to barges that move between Puget Sound and 200 large and small ports throughout Alaska. One of the Port’s engineers has designed a structural element on the Terminal 115 subtidal sheet pile wall that protects tribal fishing nets from damage as they blouse over the top of the wall. 

Regionally, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma continue to work with Vancouver, BC on the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, a partnership to reduce diesel particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions in the Puget Sound region. Proposed performance standards would reduce particulate matter by 70% from ocean-going vessels at berth, 30% from cargo-handling equipment, and emission reductions from heavy duty trucks.

Portland’s Environmental Management
While the Port of Portland, Oregon, has been practicing environmental stewardship for years, recent developments have stepped up the port’s participation in mitigation and conservation programs.
Some of the Port’s environmental programs include the conservation and protection of water resources in order to minimize the impact of commercial shipping to regional waterways, and the enhancement and protection of natural resources to safeguard native habitats and species.

Efforts include waste management and recycling programs, as well as air quality standards to reduce emissions from Port-controlled sources with an emphasis on particulate matter and greenhouse gases. Energy management efforts center around increasing fuel efficiency of port sources, as well as the reduction of energy usage, and the use of renewable sources of energy.

Air Quality

In 2009, the Port of Portland completed a Port-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventory in accordance with the Climate Registry protocol. Some of the Port’s fleet has been replaced by alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, and all container-handling equipment at the Port’s Marine Terminal 6 uses ultra low sulfur diesel. The Port has worked with operators and labor at Terminal 6 to institute an idling reduction program for cargo handling equipment during lunches and scheduled breaks. Port staff has also educated truckers using Port facilities about resources available to them from Cascade Sierra Solutions, a not-for-profit organization that helps upgrade older freight-moving vehicles with new, more fuel-efficient engines.

Some older yard equipment has been replaced or retrofitted with diesel oxidation catalysts to help reduce diesel particular emissions. At the same time, the Port has invested in cleaner-burning cargo-handling equipment (7 new reach stackers) to reduce diesel particulate matter; this same equipment uses low-ash, lower emission oil.

On the waterside, the dredge Oregon and her support vessels use low sulfur diesel, as do all the switcher locomotives at Portland’s marine terminals. At Terminals 2, 4 and 6, shore side power applications allow cold ironing for select vessels while docked to reduce fuel consumption emissions.

Power Use and Recycling

The Port of Portland, which is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a major purchaser of renewable energies, has completed extensive emissions inventories for its marine facilities, and is using the data to determine where further reductions can be achieved. An initial decision to purchase 10 percent of the Port’s electricity needs in the form of renewable energy has now grown to a commitment in the Port’s strategic plan to purchase 100 percent renewable energy.

Ninety percent of all the Port’s construction waste is recycled, and Portland’s marine facilities have received “Conditionally Exempt Generator” status by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality by demonstrating responsible materials procurement, handling, and waste management practices, including the removal and recycling of obsolete grain silos at the Port’s Terminal 4 redevelopment.
Like Seattle, Portland is replacing creosote-treated wood with environmentally friendly materials, including the replacement of 33 percent of treated timber chocks with recycled plastic chocks at Terminal 6. The Port also installed 35 acres of porous asphalt at the T6 auto facility to handle heavy rain. Between the asphalt and adjacent bioswales, 100 percent of stormwater runoff from this portion of the terminal is now managed onsite. In addition to educating Port employees and tenants about the connection between stormwater and river health, a phased catch basin retrofit program has been recently implemented at the marine terminals, and runoff contaminants have been reduced or eliminated, using best practices as well as swales and natural vegetation. The Port offers a mercury awareness training program and mercury disposal areas at the marine facilities, and at Terminal 2 the Port has completed a stormwater system clean-out project. A simple but powerful step has been for the port to increase the frequency of sweeping at our terminals to help protect stormwater.
The Port has developed partnerships with various groups on species protection, including western painted turtles and streaked horned larks, and maintains a vigilant program for invasive species control both on land and in the water, with invasive species monitoring stations in place at Terminals 4, 5, and 6.

Port of Tacoma Demolition Achievements

Like other ports on the West Coast, the Port of Tacoma has made significant progress in reducing impact on the environment through programs that not only encourage, but require, Port staff and contractors to reduce waste.

When the Port demolished almost 60 structures during the past two years to make way for planned development on the Tacoma Tideflats, its contractors diverted from landfills an average 87 percent of the waste. 

In addition to minimum requirements, pro-rated cash incentives were offered for those contractors that achieved diversion rates higher than 65 percent, and contractors were required to use ultra-low sulfur diesel (USLD) in their equipment to the greatest extent possible. 

From June 2008 through December 2009, the Port and its tenants removed 57 structures from the Tacoma Tideflats area. Many of the structures were old and abandoned, posing both environmental and human hazard. These structures varied from a single-story wood-framed residence to multiple-story concrete, masonry and steel-framed industrial buildings.

Demolition resulted in the Port and its contractors diverting 7,071 tons of material from landfills—enough to fill about 275 dump trucks. Diversion efforts also generated 19,671 tons of recycled masonry, concrete and asphalt for reuse on other Port projects. 

By weight, the contractors on these projects were able to divert an average 87 percent of all non-hazardous waste from landfills. Reusing the on-site recycled material eliminated the need to mine new native material and significantly reduced truck-related emissions that would have resulted from importing new material to the Port.

Material Reuse

In addition, more than 1,500 creosote-soaked wood pilings were removed from Commencement Bay waterways. The Port’s diversion requirement prompted Port contractor Northwest Demolition to seek other ways to dispose of these items. By selling the piling to farmers and growers in Eastern Washington, a significant portion were salvaged for reuse in pole barns and storage facilities. 

Through this program, several World War II-era pier structures and supporting mooring dolphins also were removed, eliminating more than 85,000 square feet of overwater coverage and clearing debris from about half a mile of shoreline. 

The contract requirements and cash incentives pushed contractors to look for alternate, creative means of disposal or reuse in lieu of simply transporting waste to landfills. Two of the contractors, DEMCO and R.W. Rhine, went well beyond the Port’s requirements to reach diversion rates of 99.24 percent and 98.52 percent, respectively.
On one demolition site, DEMCO worked out a creative, mutually beneficial deal with Recovery One, a company that converts and separates construction debris into salvageable material. DEMCO wanted Recovery One to transport and recycle materials from the site. Recovery One offered discounts in exchange for tanks and equipment from the demolition site that it wanted for a stormwater treatment system. This collaborative effort reduced costs, kept material from the landfill and helped protect water quality on another Tideflats site.
The Port and R.W. Rhine worked together to find a business that could reuse a specialized treatment system found on one demolition site. The treatment system, which uses chemicals to remove oil and other materials from water, was dismantled and taken to Petroleum Reclaiming Services, where it will be reinstalled to process waste oils.
To assist the Port in this demolition program, the Port contracted with ReUse Consulting to analyze each site and provide a report identifying items for reuse or recycling. This information provided valuable ideas for contractors on alternate means of disposal, including potential contacts and sources.
The Port also found the information useful in determining what items potentially could be sold as surplus before demolition began. As a result, two buildings were sold and dismantled for reuse elsewhere, tanks and equipment were salvaged for reuse by a Port tenant to expand within compliance requirements and usable equipment was sold rather than scrapped. 

In addition to the 57 structures removed, the Port of Tacoma also sold four retired straddle carriers at auction, with the stipulation that as many of the pieces as possible should be reused or recycled. The buyer, Goshen Forest Products, dismantled the cargo-handling equipment and followed through. Contractors will reuse the long steel columns as rollers for moving structures and heavy pieces of equipment, and Wingfoot Commercial Tires purchased the wheels and rims for reuse. The engine oil was recycled as well, and most of the remaining pieces were salvaged by Schnitzer Steel for reuse or recycling.