Jul 27, 2020
CalAPA member Sully-Miller hosts ‘virtual’ asphalt plant tour for local air quality regulators
BY California Asphalt Pavement Association
This article originally appeared in California Asphalt Pavement Association’s weekly newsletter, Asphalt Insider. Sign up to receive the newsletter here.
CalAPA member Sully-Miller conducted a “virtual” asphalt plant tour last week for representatives of the South Coast Air Quality Management District as regulators work on new air-quality regulations that could impact the industry.
CalAPA has helped coordinate similar tours, including one that took place on March 3 hosted by DeSilva Gates materials at their Sunol facility and attended by representatives from the California Air Resources Board and the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, however, in-person visits have become increasingly difficult to put on.
As CalAPA Environmental Committee Co-Chair Scott Taylor with Taylor Environmental Services, remarked, “After waiting and trying to figure out a way to conduct a site visit in person, it became obvious that South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) was continuing with rule development and a virtual tour was the best way to provide the first-hand information they needed for their work.”
CalAPA member Sully-Miller, represented by Ken Barker and William Quach, joined Taylor and representatives of the California Construction and Industrial Materials association (CalCIMA) and the California Asphalt Pavement Association to “virtually” tour Sully-Miller’s Sun Valley plant July 22 to inform the South Coast AQMD’s proposed rule 1147.1 ‘NOx Reduction from Equipment at Aggregate Facilities’ rule-making.
As Barker used his phone to conduct a live walk-through of the plant, assisted by Quach with a camera-steadying device known as a gimbal, the regulators asked numerous questions via a chat box and had them answered in real-time by Barker and Taylor. The event took approximately one hour.
Afterward, Michael Krause, Manager of NOx/Sox/RECLAIM/Toxics/VOC Rules 3, called the tour a “shining example” of transparency and industry-regulator educational collaboration. The air district covers air quality regulation for a sprawling area that includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Other SCAQMD staff who attended the tour included Shannon Lee, senior air quality engineer; Gary Quinn, program supervisor; air quality specialists Yanrong Zhu and Steve Tsumura and Susan Nakamura, Assistant Deputy Executive Officer.
The tour coordination team included Suzanne Seivright-Sutherland, director of local governmental affairs for CalCIMA, Adam Harper, CalCIMA’s policy director, and CalAPA Regional Director Bill Knopf. In an after-action report, Seivright-Sutherland wrote: “This was the first virtual plant tour South Coast AQMD participated in, and their team expressed significant accolades for the excellent job the Sully-Miller team executed!”
Commented Barker after the tour: “I think we have opened up a new door with these virtual tours. We can make life easier for industry and the agencies to understand what we do and how we do it.” In addition to cutting-edge virtual technologies, Barker used an old-school pointing tool repurposed from a fruit picker pole. “We are adapting because of COVID-19,” he said. “With a pointer like that, you can make darn sure people know what you are talking about.”