LYONS – With about 700 trucks coming in an out of Reliable Materials in Lyons every day, things are bound to get a little dirty.
The trucks come in to the old quarry seven days a week, carrying loads of sand, dirt or gravel – what’s called clean construction or demolition debris – and dump their loads in a large pit that is slowly being filled. They then exit out on to First Avenue, sometimes bringing a bit of the load with them.
“Each truck is going to carry a little bit out with them – in the tires, beds,” said Jerry Treder, manager of operations with Reliable Materials.
Previously, the company hired giant street sweepers to drive along First Avenue multiple times a day to clean up the streets. However, when rains came and the ground became muddy, the trucks would unavoidably bring the mud out with them.
“It had been working,” Treder said of the sweepers. “Except on bad weather days – it kind of built up.”
After complaints from nearby residents and a visit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the company decided the best thing to do was make an investment.
“This new system is a solution to the problem,” said Diego Nunez, an engineer with Reliable Materials. “This should eliminate 99 percent of [the loose rocks and mud carried out by trucks].”
The new system is basically a very expensive, glorified car wash, except instead of getting the trucks looking bright and shiny, it’s meant to get them clean of any ride-along debris that could be carried out.
The $300,000 system works by having the trucks pass over a series of rumble grids that shake off any loose rocks or dirt, which then fall through a grate below. The system’s wheel wash then goes into play, shooting a fine curtain of mist at 500 to 1,000 gallons of water per truck, which sprays off the wheels and sides, cleaning it of dirt or mud.
Each wash takes about 30 seconds per truck, Treder said.
“We don’t see it as an expense as much as it is an investment,” Treder said. “Keeping the residents happy is our main goal.”
For the village’s part, Village Manager Tom Sheehan said they couldn’t be more pleased with the company’s investment in Lyons.
“The village is very pleased with the upgrades and investment they have made,” Sheehan said. “We’re glad we have a great neighbor in Reliable.”
And neighbor is right – the company’s lot sits on 35 acres behind the village’s police station and their office headquarters is right next door to Village Hall.
The system recently was installed and put into effect Monday, according to Nunez.