If the construction slowdown has gotten you down, imagine paying your drivers eighty dollars an hour. By the way, if you need him for an hour, you pay him for a full day. Time and a half or double time on weekends, holidays and, of course, after eight hours. He gets his birthday off -- with pay! What do you suppose costs like this mean to the consumer? Costs within Manhattan are approximately three times higher than service in New Jersey.
What if you needed to cope with three years of forms, prodding of government officials and hassle to get a state permit for your water treatment system? You need to be a state certified laboratory as well – a four year process! Roger Haftek, who operates 64 CWS containers out of Paterson, New Jersey has faced and continues to face some of these challenges while serving northern New Jersey and Manhattan, including the high-profile World Trade Center project.
As part of their ongoing marketing effort, Haftek sends out approximately 200 pieces of mail, Monday through Friday, promoting the benefits of proper disposal of concrete washout waste. Even so, Roger reports that his most effective marketing tool is a free trial offered by a himself or his son to the superintendant at the construction trailer office. Roger estimates that about three-quarters of those that receive a free trial love the product enough to continue on a paying basis, while a quarter just take the trial in the expectation of getting something for nothing and leaving it at that.
J.R. Haftek, Roger’s ongoing paving and excavation company was started over 30 years ago and provided a perfect training environment to start a CWS operation in a challenging and unique business environment. It’s for the best that Roger serves his local area – most of us wouldn’t even know where to start.
Federal EPA Update
Recent staff changes at the EPA have sent CWS and some of our highly-motivated customers into action (thanks to Rich Jeffrey and Jack Hagaman) with phone calls and letters intended to help the EPA provide appropriate guidance to state agencies. The U.S. EPA recommends best practices to states that are generally inclined to codify the recommendations into state (or local) regulations. In California, the State Water Resources Control Board, issues a general construction permit not-so-simply titled, “National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction and Land Disturbance Activities.” (See article below for further details). Your state’s NPDES permitting may be handled by a state EPA, DEQ or DEP.
Out with the Bad; In with the Stimulus Projects. (Happy New Year)
It’s still a challenging environment for all sectors of the U.S. economy and construction-related businesses -- such as yours and ours -- have been particularly hard hit. There's good news in that your business is likely to benefit from increased environmental regulation (and enforcement) and the large-scale stimulus projects that must comply with federal regulations – and are often very concrete intensive. Take a look at the link below to see state-by-state breakdowns of stimulus projects, dollars awarded, dollars received, etc. The vast majority of funds still have not yet been paid. For example, in California, roughly only twelve percent of funds have been paid.
Stimulus funds report: http://bit.ly/5lsbrQ
A Good Sign in a Bad Economy
While 2009 was one of the worst years for the construction industry since the Great Depression, there is evidence that your choice of CWS products puts you well positioned to benefit when the economy starts its inevitable recovery. As more providers come online, lobbying regulators and enforcement agencies to perform their environmental protection duties, we believe a critical mass will be reached – meaning a rapid adoption of the methods pioneered by you and CWS! Consider this: to date CWS has managed to expand into twenty three states and two countries! Most recently we’ve welcomed Concrete Washout Disposal of Newark, Ohio; N.A.T. Transportation, Inc. of Bradner, Ohio; D.D.S. Constructors of Rochester, New York; and A Track Out Solution of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Much lobbying by CWS and (Ted Honcharik) of the California State Water Resources Control Board with respect to the General Construction Permit has resulted in very little improvement to the general permit with an indication that the next general permit will contain more favorable language. CWS had lobbied very vigorously that the permit specify that concrete washout be prevented from contaminating water and soil by being contained in a portable watertight container.
You may wish to model your local or state lobbying efforts on this letter from CWS’ Mark Jenkins to the Water Board: http://bit.ly/91QviW
Our review indicates that there is very little improvement in the permit from our perspective. However, there is this small indication that may help set the tone for the next permit that will probably emerge in several years.
From the General Construction Permit: “The Board should consider Numeric Limits or Action Levels for other pollutants of relevance to construction sites, but in particular pH. It is of particular concern where fresh concrete or wash water from cement mixers/equipment is exposed to storm water.”
All 285 pages of the General Construction Permit: http://bit.ly/6qnvoR
World of Concrete February 2-5, 2010
Join CWS, Jack Hagaman and Roger Haftek at the World of Concrete. CWS will be exhibiting in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center this year and we would like to see you there. We have a limited number of passes to the show available for our customers. Let us know if you can make it.
Those looking to start a new concrete washout business up and running usually are looking to minimize their start-up costs. Let us know if you have equipment for sale and we'll happily put them in touch with you.
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."