Before the installation of the moisture reduction system earlier this year, the Ardmore site was prone to considerable surface saturation and flooding from the stockpile run-off, resulting in large puddles around the site and multiple streamlets discharging directly into Lough Neagh. As well as causing operational difficulties on site, this was proving to be of considerable concern to Northern Ireland’s Water Management Unit, part of the Environment & Heritage Service, which was pressing Emersons to find a solution to the problem.
Having rejected the possibility of creating an extensive drainage system around the entire site on cost grounds, the company decided to investigate the possibility of using an accelerated moisture reduction system. To find out more, Emerson’s management team travelled to England to visit Bathgate Silica Sand Ltd’s Arclid Quarry in Cheshire, where they were able to examine an operational moisture reduction system at first hand. The team were so impressed with what they saw that managing director George Emerson placed an order for a similar system while on the way back to the airport.
The system now installed at Ardmore sand quay consists of a series of horizontal, special prewrapped drainage pipes located under each sand stockpile. These are connected to a manifold, which
in turn is coupled directly to an automatic self-priming electrically driven pump set, equipped with a large-capacity vacuum pump. Each take-off on the manifold is controlled by a gate valve, allowing Emerson’s to rotate their stockpile drying programme as required. Stockpile drainage water is now channelled through sub-surface engineered suction points via an integrated pipe network to an existing central collection point. This centralized water-processing management system passes all water through an enlarged settlement pond before releasing the treated water to Lough Neagh.
The entire system was successfully installed and fully operational in less than a week, and Emerson’s say they are fully confident the system will pay for itself within two years.
Since the system was installed at Ardmore the site has been rendered virtually water free, resulting in a huge improvement in operational efficiency and successfully resolving the company’s environmental issues. In addition, drying time has been reduced from three or four days to around six or seven hours, resulting in a much faster turnaround of products, and the moisture content in the finished stock destined for further kiln drying has been greatly reduced, resulting in considerable energycost savings.
View of the stockpile area after installation of the accelerated moisture reduction system
Stockpile drainage water is treated before release into Lough Neagh
www.qmj.co.uk QM Magazine November 2005
The above article by kind permission of Quarry Management Magazine