First-Of-Its-Kind Contaminated Soils Wash Plant Commissioned For Posillico Materials.
By Mark S. Kuhar
Established in 1946, Long Island, N.Y.-based Posillico Inc., a fourth-generation family business, has steadily grown to become one of the premier engineering contracting firms in the tri-state area and a leader in public works projects in New York.
Founded by Joseph D. Posillico Sr., the business started out as a small trucking contractor.
Today, following a six-decade-long pattern of reinvestment in the business and underpinned by a commitment to quality and performance, the likes of which has led to the business securing contracts for major civil engineering and construction projects, Posillico provides a range of integrated services from heavy civil work for the public and private sectors, to environmental remediation, paving, drilling, and utilities contracting.
Now approaching its 50th year in business, Posillico Materials, the business unit which specializes in producing recycled sand, aggregates and clay, has revolutionized the way environmental contractors, construction companies, utility businesses, and engineering firms manage waste on Long Island and in the Greater New York area with the support of state-of-the-art CDE wet processing technology.
Cleaning up the Island
Committed to protecting the island, its community, and its resources, Posillico Materials recognized the need to address mounting concerns over ground pollution and landfill capacity.
“There’s a big need to clean up the island,” said Thomas Posillico, Material Division manager.
For many years, Long Island has been troubled by pollution from toxic dumping and industrial pollution, in part due to its proximity to New York City. Ground pollution has the potential to adversely affect the island’s groundwater and drinking water, so the Posillico team recognized the urgency of the matter given that the local water supply is managed via three major source aquifers close to the ground’s surface.
Historically, contaminated soil would be transported off the island where it would be destined for landfill, however with the right technology this material can be processed to remove contaminants, extract value, and to return land to good use to meet the growing demands of urbanization.
Soil washing is not a new concept to Posillico, explained Robert Tassey, facility manager, but the company’s mission to clean up the island was restricted by the available technology.
“Our history with soil washing goes back more than 15 years. We had designed a plant; we called it the Frankenstein plant, because we took a piece of equipment from here, a piece of equipment from there, and we put it all together.”
He said a chance encounter with CDE at ConExpo-Con/Agg helped Posillico to see how its innovative wet processing technologies could enable the business to accelerate the pace of change and reinforce its commitment to establishing a more sustainable future for Long Island.
“Both Posillico and CDE share a very similar commitment to innovation,” he said. “Neither company is afraid to take a leap, neither company is afraid to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
Using its co-creation approach, CDE worked in collaboration with Posillico to understand its requirements and to design and build a wet processing solution that would enable the business to realize its sustainable and profitable vision.
Tassey continued, “We spent about a year and a half on the design. We have various laws and requirements that we have to meet here, and CDE was absolutely willing to help in making any adjustments we needed to the plant to satisfy our regulatory requirements.”
After considering the Farmingdale site’s smaller footprint (about 3 acres) and the customer’s requirements, CDE proposed a tailored wet-processing solution to efficiently process incoming contaminated material to produce high-quality washed construction sand and aggregates, all happening in a built-up urban location situated close to the source material.
Installation, Tassey said, was very simple due to the fact that the plant was assembled and subject to factory acceptance testing, “and most of the pieces are modular so it made the install go quickly and efficiently.”
A first of its kind in North America, Posillico’s new recycling system incorporates the R2500 primary scalping screen feed system, AggMax portable logwasher, M4500 with integrated Attrition Cells, CFCU for density separation, EvoWash, and full closed-circuit water recycling with the inclusion of an AquaCycle thickener and PlatePress.
Michael J. Posillico, Posillico Inc. principal, said, “When I visited CDE I knew I’d picked the right company to work with and I could see that from the design floor, to the people that were testing the equipment, to the people that were in charge.
“This is the largest soil wash plant in the world,” he added. “Not only is it the largest but it’s the most sophisticated plant.”
Thomas Posillico said, “This is really a one-of-a-kind operation that can take so many different varieties of soil and run it through the same plant. Nobody is doing anything like this on Long Island or in the U.S., that I know.”
High Material Recovery Rate
One of the largest and most advanced contaminated soil washing facilities in the world, the wash plant boasts a high material recovery rate. Posillico can now reduce the unsuitable content in the raw material to approximately 10% on average, with the remaining 90% being diverted from landfill.
The Farmingdale facility has the capacity to recycle up to 3,000 tons of soil per day while simultaneously recovering high value recyclable and saleable products, such as sand and aggregates, that meet NYSDEC remediation standards.
Posillico is now producing a range of materials, including concrete and mason sands, and three different aggregates: ¼ to 5/8 in.; 5/8 to 1¼ in.; and 1¼ to 4 in.
As a vertically integrated operation, more than 60% of the certified sand and aggregates recycled are used by Posillico Materials in asphalt production with the remainder sold directly to the market.
Within its first few months of operation, the plant processed over 65,000 tons of contaminated soil from the 12-acre Harbor Isle brownfield site. Formerly a Cibro petroleum storage facility, the site had been contaminated for decades and was subject to a major remediation project. Fuel and oil had contaminated the soil and groundwater and Posillico set out on a 20-year journey to return the land to good use.
Now, the site will soon become a multi-million-dollar luxury apartment complex.
Due to the variable nature of contaminated soils, the Posillico wash plant can accept a wide variety of feed material.
Tassey said, “We can now feed ourselves with not only contaminated material but our unsuitable fill from jobsites that’s left over, our excavation waste, our drilling spoils.”
As well as processing material from its own operations, the plant is available to process material from other local construction and engineering companies which lowers the cost of waste disposal, diverts valuable material from landfill, and lowers carbon footprint due to reducing the need for transporting material off the island.
Feed material the advanced contaminated soil washing plant can process includes, excavation waste, recognizable and uncontaminated materials (RUCARBs), contaminated fill, dredge waste, mixed loads, and more.
“You name it this CDE plant can process it,” Tassey said.
He continued, “With population expanding, our infrastructure is getting old. The emphasis has to be on rebuilding and investing in our infrastructure. With that there’s going to be a ton of material that needs to be processed and it needs to be processed responsibly and efficiently, and the way to do that is to recycle it through a plant like ours.”
Customer for Life
Every CDE project benefits from its customer for life model, which ensures transparent and effective communication from the beginning of the project until commissioning and unrivaled aftersales support.
Sean O’Leary, CDE CustomCare manager, North America, said, “Where the project ends, that’s where CustomCare comes in. What we do is we maintain that relationship with the customer, through parts, through service, through technical advice, and just overall operation of the plant.”
One of the challenges with Posillico, he said, is that the material coming in is constantly changing. “It’s never a steady feed material, so you’re always making adjustments to the plant to make sure you get the requirements you need.”
The Beginning of Something Really Important
Commenting on the success of the plant, Michael J. Posillico said, “We believe in a sustainable future and with our partners at CDE we are uniquely positioned to ease the burden on virgin materials in the tri-state area through our wash plant.
“We are looking at every aspect of our operation to see where we can minimize our environmental impact and reaffirm our commitment to sustainability on Long Island. These are attributes that are reflected in the very design of the plant, too, which operates all-electric drives and recycles up to 90% of the process water we use. Not only that, but we collect and recycle 3.6 million gal. of stormwater annually to maintain our top-up water supply.”
He concluded, “What we have here is the beginning of something really important,” referencing Posillico’s leadership in contaminated soil washing for North America.