Too many times, the asphalt industry is seen as being on the wrong side of environmental issues. The asphalt production industry is often seen as dirty and stinky. For those of us in the asphalt industry, we know this is far from the truth. And with businesses like the BoDean Company in our corner, perceptions will change quickly.
For over 20 years, the BoDean Company has been one of the foremost suppliers of quality crushed rock and asphaltic concrete in the Napa County and Santa Rosa areas of Northern California. The company is operated by Belinda (Bo) & Dean Soiland. The couple started their journey by taking over the operations at the Mark West Quarry, near Calistoga, in 1989. Before the Soilands took it over, this quarry ran as a crushed stone operation under several different operators dating back to 1910.
In the 1980s, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors developed the “Aggregate Resource Management Plan” (ARM Plan). In order to reduce impacts and preserve the Russian River, the ARM Plan called for reduced terrace and in-stream gravel mining within the Middle Reach of the Russian River in favor hard-rock hillside mining where environmental impacts can be better managed. The 1994 ARM Plan called for the complete phase-out of all river terrace mining by 2006.
In 2001 BoDean acquired its asphalt plant on Maxwell Drive in Santa Rosa. Since the ARM Plan phased out sand extraction from the Russian River, BoDean found itself having to purchase sand from British Columbia, Canada in order to produce its asphalt. The company felt doing this, however, was not sustainable, environmentally responsible, or cost effective. In order to address this dilemma, BoDean invested in the construction of its own wash plant.
Adapting in a tough climate
For BoDean, the economic downturn of the last few years has forced them to adapt to changing times.
“In many respects, BoDean has had to re-invent itself over the last six years,” says Bill Williams, general manager. “This has been done by diversifying its products as well as creating products that meet a growing need in the environmental market segment.”
Williams says the company managed to find work on larger government projects, including a highway revival and widening project being contracted by the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) for which BoDean was one of the primary suppliers of asphalt.
“Most all of our work in the last couple of years has been municipal in nature with the largest percentage being state highway projects through CALTRANS,” says Williams. “Both Sonoma County and the City of Santa Rosa make up the bulk of remaining work and then to a smaller degree commercial and private jobs.
“However, this has not always been the case,” he continues. “Prior to the economic downturn we had significant work in private development and commercial jobs. Hopefully 2012 and 2013 will see a turnaround with more and more commercial and private work being done.”
BoDean offers several types of mixes, including recycled mixes, to both large and small paving contractors. The company produces several hundred-thousand tons a year. Mix types include typical ½”, ¾” ¼”, 38” asphalt, as well as Topeka, Berm, Open Grade, permeable/porous, and rubberized asphalts.
“We can produce these asphalts as hot mix asphalt (HMA) or as warm mix asphalt (WMA),” says Williams. “Our ½” and ¾” asphalt also contains between 15% and 25% reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP). We also have used recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in our mixes and will be doing more starting later this year. We also produce an all-weather cold patch mix, Bond-X Green, used for pot-hole repair. This product is environmentally superior to typical ‘cut back’ mixes and will actually last longer as well.”
Using recycled materials during the production process allows the company to simultaneously cut costs as well as reduce its carbon footprint. BoDean uses a mechanical foaming process to create its WMA. The company felt the foaming process was a more sustainable choice than using an additive.