Accident pits gravel against the clock

By KATHY KORENGEL

Herald Writer

A shutdown at CSR Associated’s Everett gravel plant forced an Arlington-affiliated plant to run all night for two days, way past the 10 p.m. cutoff specified in its permit.

But the general manager of the Everett-based company, Neill Evans, said Monday that if the company erred in its decision to operate past permitted hours without giving proper notice to the county, it was to avoid temporarily laying off 100 or so employees at the Everett plant.

Evans said the Arlington facility is permitted to run 24-hour shifts occasionally, as long as it gives the county two days’ notice of the longer hours.

He also said it’s not unusual for Arlington to run around-the-clock operations for short periods of time in the summer, during asphalt production. Currently, the plant produces only aggregate.

"With the crisis with the (Everett) plant here, we didn’t have two days’ notice," Evans said.

"In the heat of the moment, the person that made the decision (to run the Arlington plant 24 hours) may have misunderstood the (need to give) notice," Evans said.

Evans said the Everett facility shut down for about two and a half days after an accident Wednesday night.

He said a storage bin "came down" and knocked out one of the support legs of the aggregate plant. No one was hurt.

Repairs, which ran about $50,000, were made and the plant was running again Saturday.

Evans said the company moved around its Everett employees during the shutdown, so all of them could continue to work while the repairs were under way.

To deal with the shortage of aggregate production in Everett, CSR shipped some aggregate up to Everett by barge from another company’s facility in Dupont. The company also added an extra shift at the Arlington plant Thursday and Friday nights.

Evans said the company’s failure to give proper notice was "clearly something we’ve never done before."

Evans said there may have been a misunderstanding of the requirements of the Arlington plant’s permit because the plant sometimes runs around-the-clock during the asphalt season.

"We take good relations with our neighbors and the county and other members of the community very seriously," he said.

"If we erred, it was in the interest of keeping and avoiding laying off 100 people."

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