"We've always had a reputation for taking care of our customers," says Rhett Anderson, president of Waskey Bridges Inc., Baton Rouge, La. So it's not surprising that they established a concrete recycling program that can become a model for the precast industry.

Anderson's impetus for establishing such a high standard comes from a friend's having to close down his tannery after severe fines made it uneconomical to continue or rebuild.

"We have a good market and great employees, and I wanted to build a reclamation system that would set me well above the environmental requirements," says Anderson.

Waskey Bridges transformed its facility into a model operation. Because the facility has a limited demand for concrete, Anderson elected to adopt a zero-discharge operating philosophy. All unused wet concrete and all washout and process water are recycled to the batching operation. Anderson's plan also emphasized the separation of process water from stormwater.

Anderson recently invited an environmental consultant in for an independent audit. The consultant admitted that aside from minor procedural adjustments, the plant and management were well ahead of many operations in complying with current and upcoming regulatory requirements.

"We might be a small producer, but we wanted to show our neighbors, employees, and even our competitors that attention to environmental issues pays," says Anderson.

The article includes photographs illustrating the company's recycling operation.