Turning Waste into Dollars – Georgia producer reclaims fines for aglime markets

A Georgia aggregate producer has found an added source of income and solved a production problem by selling reclaimed crushed fines to local farm markets for use as agricultural lime.

While producing 800 to 900 tons of crushed rock per hour, Dalton Rock Products Co., Dalton, Ga. has been able to reclaim 65 tons per hour of fines, a product previously regarded as waste, from the company’s only water reservoir. The fines are worth about $2.75 per ton as agricultural lime.

“We started thinking about ways to recover the fines 6 or 7 years ago,” remarked Claude Baston, Dalton’s plant manager. “Besides being a product we could sell, the fines were filling up our only water supply reservoir. Water from this reservoir is used in the washing process and is essential to our entire operation.”

To stop siltation of the reservoir, the company purchased a 175 HP Mud Cat, a portable dredge marketed by the Mud Cat Division of Mud Cat International. “The Mud Cat cuts through the sediment, agitates the material, and then sucks it up and pumps it out,” explained Baston.

The Mud Cat is 8 ft. x 39 ft. with an 8 ft. auger attached to the front end. The auger can cut up to 18 in. of silt per pass in depths up to 15 ft. below the water’s surface. As the auger rotates, it cuts out and feeds the sediment deposits to a central intake tube where they are sucked up by the pump. Sediment deposits then travel through an 8 in. discharge pipe to a designated disposal area.

Several dikes of crushed stone were built on the 7 acre disposal site to slow the water and allow the fines to settle and dry. “The solids separate from the water which runs back down to the pond,” explained Baston; “when the solids are dry enough to transport, we dig the fines up and sell them by the pound.”

Mud Cat Div of Mud Cat International