Northwest's Recycling Rocks St. Mike's

Edited by Matthew Phair | September 28, 2010

Northwest Construction and Excavating of Rockaway, New Jersey, recently completed prepping the site for St. Michael's Church Day Care Center, a 5-acre site adjacent to St. Michael's Church in Netcong, New Jersey. This new Day Care Center will be used for St. Michael's Church aftercare program. Situated in the hills of northern New Jersey, the 5-acre site sits on the side of a small mountain along Route 46.

The first phase of this project consisted of clearing hundreds of trees and stumps from the entire 5-acre site. To save St. Michael's money, Northwest sold the trees and stumps to a Campbell's Soup Company plant for energy.

Phase two of the project consisted of cutting an access road into the mountain, clearing top rock, stripping and stockpiling topsoil, installing 29 catch basins, installing 3,000 feet of storm pipe, cutting a pipe trench across Route 46 for the storm pipe hook up, and installing over 1,000 yards of sewage pipe ranging in diameter from 8 inches to 24 inches.

Northwest brought in their heavy equipment from South Plainfield, N.J.-based dealer Jesco, which consisted of John Deere excavators and dozers to remove the 15,000 yards of top rock, 8,000 yards of topsoil and over 30,000 yards of fill dirt. Northwest also had to blast and hammer 25,000 yards of additional buried rock to meet grade specifications.

"Once we removed the topsoil and top rock we found that the majority of the mountain was either solid rock or filled with massive boulders," states Joe Vaia, co-founder of Northwest Construction and Excavation. "We brought in our blasting crew and rock hammers to loosen up the rock in order for us to continue to excavate the site and meet our grade requirements." With the site full of rock and fill dirt, the firm came up with another idea to save St. Mike's money.

"We had an enormous amount of material at the site and I knew that we could recycle it or sell it to save some money," continues David Ur, president of Northwest Construction. Northwest found a buyer for the fill dirt and used their dump truck fleet to haul 30,000 yards of it to the city of Newark, New Jersey. Newark would use the fill dirt for capping a public park. Once the fill dirt was removed, Northwest brought in a rock pulverizer and crushed thousands of yards of rock, which they then used for the parking lot bedding and the detention basin wall.

Originally, the detention basin wall was to be built with keystone, an expensive block that would create large, steep walls on the side of the project. Northwest met with their engineers and decided to use the natural rock on-site and engineered a 3-to-1 pitch wall.

Another issue was dealing with surplus of large boulders that were excavated and blasted from the mountain. Northwest used the rocks instead of keystone for stone walls that line the access road and other parts of the project.

"We recycled 90 percent of the rock on-site, enabling us to save St. Mike's 4 percent of their overall project cost," continues Ur. While the project went through its various phases, Ur and Vaia realized something was missing.

"St. Mike's and the Day Care Center are situated on a very steep mountain side with little room for a playground or even a large parking lot where kids could have recess," states Vaia. They looked over the site plan and found a small area behind the Day Care Center. "We came up with a plan and decided to donate a park. We cleared a 2-acre site behind the project and surrounded it with natural large rocks, spread topsoil and planted grass and trees. Now St. Mike's and the kids will have some room for outdoor activities," adds Ur.

Northwest Construction and Excavating is a full-service construction company focused on environmental soil remediation. Northwest's team of professionals ranges from civil engineers to environmental soil engineers who provide site management, soil sampling, creation of sampling plans, in-house data analysis, and other services.