A busy ThyssenKrupp Waupaca means that a project at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Community is ahead of schedule.
“We are now between 50 and 60 percent complete,” said Len Brasch, who is the church’s director of special projects.
On Oct. 4, Faulks Bros. Construction began hauling foundry sand to fill the low area between the church and State Highway 22.
The church signed a contract with Beneficial Reuse Management of Milwaukee – a company that has been contracting with the foundry for three years and also works with other companies to find uses for industrial byproducts. BRM approached the church about doing the project.
The foundry sand is an example of an industrial byproduct and it qualifies under state law for geotechnical fill projects.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approved the project, and Dan Schuurman, BRM’s regional manager, said they believe the project is going well.
“We expect the hauling to be completed ahead of schedule this winter,” he said. “As soon as weather allows in the springtime, the native soils cover, including topsoil, will be applied. Vegetation will begin in the spring but probably not be fully achieved until next fall.”
Schuurman said that with production up at the foundry, more material is available.
Projects such as this one mean the foundry is able to divert the sand from its landfill.
And, for St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Community, it will result in a recreational area that includes a baseball field and amphitheater, as well as a storm water retention pond.
“The project is being done for the purposes of environmental and recreational advancement and is not costing the church anything,” Brasch said.
The two retention ponds, which have already been built and completed, will take storm water from the church’s roof and its parking lot, preventing further erosion. He said there had been some erosion. Storm water retention ponds were not required when the church was built.
Brasch said much research went into the project.
The safety of the material was researched by both environmental attorneys and the Department of Natural Resources, he said.
“We went beyond the regulations to make sure the material was safe,” he said.
Other safety concerns were also addressed.
Road signs were put up to alert traffic about the truck traffic. The truck traffic is watched when the church’s bus brings students to the church for religious education classes.
In addition, there is a water truck on site to keep the dust down, and there is also a street sweeper on site to keep Shadow Road clean, Brasch said.
He said there is also a pad that the trucks drive over so that material is cleaned off of the truck tires before the trucks go back onto the road.
On the church property, “the sand is compacted and covered with topsoil from St. Mary Magdalene,” Brasch said.
Schuurman said the material only has to be hydrated if it dries out. The material comes out of the foundry with moisture in it. “This time of year, it takes a lot longer for it to dry out,” he said.
The foundry sand passes federal drinking water standards, and Schuurman said they have the “utmost confidence that the project is being completed according to the regulations” to make sure there are no threats to the public or the environment.
As part of the project, any trees that were taken down will be replaced.
Grass will also be planted, and how soon members of the parish will be able to play on the new baseball field will depend on next spring’s weather.
Schuurman said the high visibility of this project means he is receiving inquiries from others about the material and whether other projects in the area could be appropriate.
Brasch said they know it was unnatural for the area between the church and the highway to be that low, and that once the vegetation is planted, they will be able to see the contours of the land.
“This is an act of restoration,” he said.