New York Construction Report Special Feature
While 2021 is starting out similar to how 2020 ended with the impact of COVID-19, Concrete Washout Systems (CWS) is predicting that the construction industry will make a bold comeback, caching or surpassing pre-pandemic building rates in the not-to-distant future.
“We would not be surprised to see a building boom in the second half of 2021,” said Patricia Haftek, president, New York Concrete Washout Systems.
With that return to normalcy, however, there will be some lasting changes including a renewed commitment to health and safety.
The pandemic really got people focused on safety, which is always a good thing,” she said. “There has also been a focus on remote and staggered work setups, meaning much more attention to details and documentation.”
Although much of the economy was shuttered to help slow the spread of the virus, some services deemed essentially remained open and in business, including CWS, located in Paterson, New Jersey, and serving customers across that state, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Essential businesses heightened their attention to safety of employees working through the pandemic.
“There’s a saying that’s even more relevant in these times: ‘Safety doesn’t happen by accident.’ Safety means keeping yourself and others free from harm or danger by being careful with what you are doing,” Haftek explained.
That means ensuring employees are using face shields, masks, gloves and sanitizer. Crews also take extra precaution to clean their equipment before a shift and after each use, and also do individual job-site audits to determine where employees are touching shared surfaces and making sure those surfaces are disinfected frequently throughout the day.
Recycling and waste disposal were also considered essential during COVID-19 in New York, and CWS continued working at numerous sites, including the Javits Center, Astoria Power Plant, PANYNJ Projects, NYC DOT Projects, and numerous Con Edison, school and housing sites.
In a time when people are more concerned than ever about the health the environment, CWS is leading the way with its environmentally friendly method of removing and disposing of residue and contaminants most commonly created by washing down equipment at construction sites, like concrete trucks, pumps, mixers, chutes, hand tools and wheelbarrows.
“We are focused on safety of the environment, which is a benefit to all of us. So, the increased focus on personal and overall safety aligns well with our environmental vision,” Haftek said.
The washout system is a portable, self-contained and watertight roll-off bin that controls, captures and contains concrete washout material and runoff, making it easy to clean concrete trucks, pumps and equipment onsite and recycle concrete materials and wastewater. The system is deployed by some of the largest residential and commercial builders in the country.
By keeping associated runoff from entering storm sewers and contaminating the ground, the system protects the environment.
It’s not only a ’green’ thing to do, it’s a legal requirement, and builders ignore that at their own peril. In New York City, not properly handling concrete washout can result in a fine of $6,000 a day. The city’s local law 70 requires a builder or developer or anyone pouring concrete to utilize a manufactured container, specifically for the purpose of collecting concrete washout.
The innovative CWS container designs have been granted patents and numerous awards, including the prestigious Most Innovative Product Award at the World of Concrete.
Essentially, the system created the concrete washout service industry. Thousands of containers have been sold to independent washout service providers throughout the country and beyond.
Our flagship, CWS ramped container, provides a place for all concrete workers to clean their equipment,” Haftek said. “CWS bins also provide superior value because every bin is lined with a poly liner that wears seven times better than steel and offers a lifetime of superior stick resistance.”
CWS takes the material to its treatment plant, reducing it to a pH value of seven. The heavy metals and solids are removed, and it becomes clean, reusable water that is delivered to the Passaic Valley Sewage Commission.
Haftek believes that the industry’s commitment to safety will have contractors looking for ways to lessen their impact on the environment – and that aligns with CWS’ work.
“That the new focus on safety and how it aligns with our efforts continues to grow, allowing the construction industry to evolve and improve,” Haftek>said. “It’s what we do every day to help clients diminish and eliminate damage to the environment. It’s all about limiting detrimental impacts.”
“Our products, along with a wonderful network of customers, have saved the soil and water from millions of gallons of caustic waste – watery slurry that typically has a pH over 12, similar to Liquid Drano,” Haftek explained.
“We have created the gold-standard in containing and removing a harmful pollutant.”