Luck Stone quarry waste reuse

Much of the sand, dirt and other debris that had been peeled off to get to bedrock and then pushed aside or trucked to the dump goes into the Luck Stone’s Luck Ecosystems products.

“The one we’re most proud of is used in biofiltration for storm water runoff off blacktop and parking lots,” said Jimmy Rodgers, business development manager for Luck Specialty Products.

“It’s kind of a neat thing. We’re helping to clean up the waterways with products that had been landfilled or wasted.”

Luck Biofilter, as the biofiltration product is called, is a mix of sand, silt and clay that comes partly from the company’s Caroline County quarry. It’s used to help filter rainwater in the rain gardens, or bioretention ponds, that developers are installing in place of stormwater retention ponds due to state and federal regulations.

“Over the years we’ve found out what works in the blend and what does not,” Rodgers said. “The State [Department of Environmental Quality] has tough benchmarks that you need to hit in order for it to work correctly. We’re on our third different revision since it came out 10 years ago.”

Among the companies using Luck Biofilter locally is Schools & Townsend, a civil engineering and land surveying firm based in Manassas that has installed 20 rain gardens in three Stafford County subdivisions.

Luck Ecosystems also uses sand from the Caroline and Green County quarries in its CourseScience Golf Media, a variety of top dressings used to fill in the holes groundskeepers make each spring and fall to help aerate the greens. The division can also produce custom blends for tee boxes, bunkers and other areas of the golf course.

Kenny Dotson, whose Locust Grove-based Titan Construction had used Luck Biofilter in rain gardens, decided to use CourseScience sand for the grounds and tee boxes at Meadows Farm Golf Course, which his company bought last May.  “Their product is PGA approved, and they’re within a good distance for us for transportation,” he said.

Dotson said that there are similar products on the market, but buyers have to be careful because they can contain weed seeds and harmful bacteria. Some companies heat their golf course sand mix to purify it, but Luck doesn’t because the sand it uses is mined at 15 to 20 feet below their quarries’ surface where no seeds or pathogens lurk, Rodgers said.

Luck Stone quarry by-products including soil, sand and aggregate also go into a third line of Ecosystem products called GreenScience. They include a premium topsoil developed with the help of scientists at Virginia Tech. It’s made with overburden soil from Luck Stone quarries that’s been blended with compost and requires little fertilization.

“We know that will help the environment when used on sports fields or in a homeowner’s yard,” Rodgers said. “Very little nutrient is needed to establish grass.”

The GreenScience line also includes a lightweight structured soil designed as a growing medium for plants on green roofs. He said green roofs are becoming particularly popular on banks in Washington and in the Richmond area.

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