CanWest takes reins in environmental leadership

Being the largest company of its kind in Western Canada means that CanWest Concrete Cutting & Coring must be leaders in safety and environmental responsibility.

“We’re in the position where we must be leading the pack,” says Dan Hambrook, Canwest’s Owner and President. “Because we’re the largest, we’re the ones being watched.”

This environmental commitment has lead to the recent investment in a modern concrete cutting process to safely recycle slurry. Slurry is created when water is used with the diamond blades to cut concrete. Until recently, CanWest has been collecting slurry in a vacuum, storing it in a tank and taking it to concrete dumps. But as the company has grown, the amount slurry is too great for those concrete facilities, Hambrook says.

They’re now using specialized dehydrating machines that collects the slurry and, using air pressure, pushes the clean water out. It also produces a completely dry puck that can simply go back into the concrete pile.

“Now we can reuse this water for the next project. It’s completely clean and recyclable,” Hambrook says. “These machines are making a big difference.”

It’s a modern approach to the issue of slurry collection, and one that may be too expensive for CanWest’s smaller competitors.

“Most of our competitors are not dumping it properly,” he says. “People have been dumping slurry down drains for years. People will do a concrete driveway and just wash the slurry down the drain.”

But environmental responsibility is a priority both for CanWest and its partners, who want to know dumping is being done legally.

“Nobody wants to be dumping slurry in the drain. The water goes in the ground and contaminates the earth,” Hambrook adds. “We care about the environment. The world has to change — we want our kids to have clean water.”

In addition to these new machines, CanWest has converted various equipment to electric in a bid to further their environmental responsibility. This includes excavators, concrete saws, bobcats and more. Now when working on projects in food plants, or other interior buildings for example, the adjacent workers aren’t getting fumed out, Hambrook says. The company has also begun to use a vegetable-based hydraulic fluid instead of oil based. All part of stringent environmental policy, hazard assessment and controls, to ensure there’s no contamination.

The first two slurry recycling machines are now up and running, with full time employees whose sole responsibility is to look after slurry. This reflects CanWest’s industry-leading safety standards.

“Anybody can go out and buy a concrete saw,” Hambrook adds. But these smaller companies that people hire because they’re cheaper don’t have the same safety controls.

“They might not have safety programs, or full-time safety employees, or on-site safety meetings. It’s a problem in this industry.”

To learn more about how CanWest can meet your concrete and coring needs, contact one of the regional offices.

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