United States Forest Service
For years Swapp Construction has been called upon to provide Aggregate Base Course for projects located throughout New Mexico and Arizona. Our company provides material as well as road construction services to build roads into local lakes, parks and other recreational areas throughout the community. A few examples of these are the roads to Big Lake (Apache National Forest, Alpine Arizona Ranger District), Snow Lake (Gila National Forest), Quemado Lake Campgrounds (Gila National Forest), Gila Bird Sanctuary (Bill Evans Lake, Gila National Forest) and the forest roads to Jenkins Creek and Bill Night Gap (Gila National Forest) to name a few.
In the summer of 2011, a wild fire in the White Mountains grew out of control. S&M Construction was called to provide equipment support for a fire that was raging wildly out of control towards Luna, NM. This was an emergency job that was close to our hearts, and our homes. S&M Construction built fire lines around the town and for the local community and also provided around the clock water service for the government agencies that were fighting the fires. Meeting the watering demands of the Forest Service was a huge challenge that we were able to overcome.
The Springerville Generating Station owned by SRP and operated by TEP/UniSource provides energy utilizing a state-of-the-art-coal-fired power plant. In 2006 Swapp Construction was contracted to provide the Aggregate Base Course for the large expansion project that began in 1985 and was completed in December of 2009.
Swapp Construction specializes in the production of Aggregate Base Course and has done so for the past 20 years. During that time we had a crushing plant staged in Springerville, Arizona for a period of over 10 years. That plant provided AB to the local construction companies, builders, and government agencies. We currently have crusher locations in Luna, New Mexico and Morenci, Arizona with a new location opening soon in Duncan, Arizona.
Between the historic towns of Clifton, AZ and Morenci, AZ, slag from local smelters had been deposited for many years in Chase Creek. Swapp Construction was awarded the contract to clean up the slag and other waste products that had been dumped there and return the area to its natural state.
Our team faced many difficult challenges due to the highly abrasive slag material causing excessive wear on all the ground engaging parts. Often times the ripper points would only last an hour, rather than the typical 100 hour life expectancy. All the slag was successfully removed and non-mineralized material was hauled in to return the area to a natural state.
In 2008, our company was once again called on to clean up Chase Creek, however this time it was to help stop copper laden electrolyte from entering a local river system. Our equipment was ready to go and our trucks carried the material that helped stop the electrolyte from entering into the Waters of the US.
This project tested all of our skills in quick response, logistics, scheduling, and teamwork with other contractors in a high stress situation. We were successful in responding to the crisis and provided the necessary support for our customer throughout the job.
The East Gold Gulch Pond is an environmental containment pond that stops potentially harmful chemicals and acids from entering the Waters of the US. The plastic lined pond had become filled with silts that reduced the overall volume of the pond which put our customer out of compliance with their environmental permitting. Freeport-McMoRan requested that we clean the pond with the following parameters:
Our group built a small rail system that could be placed on the plastic liner without damaging it. The rail system uses an inexpensive self-dumping trash bin on wheels to remove the mud from the pond and would have been unaffected by any flooding that could have occurred in the pond. We met all of our customers' expectations and this is now the accepted way that the ponds are cleaned.
Swapp Construction's most extensive pioneering and pre-mining accomplishment was preparing Sun Ridge in the Upper Chase Creek area, north of the Morenci Coronado Pit for exploratory drilling followed by pre-mining drilling and blasting.
Our team built over 15 miles of roadway on a ridge that often times was completely inaccessible, even on foot. There were no roads in the area at all and most of the work was bid using binoculars. Some of the challenges of the project were drilling and blasting with up to 8 exploratory drills within our blasting radius and Highway 191 at the bottom of the project. It took great responsibility and coordination to clear the areas for each shot. Scheduling proved to be incredibly challenging due to the importance of the drills moving onto the sites immediately after we had finished them. We were able to overcome the challenges faced on the Sun Ridge Project and we have a great deal of pride when we see large mining shovels now able to access the ridge safely.
Our company began working on the Mine Engineered Heap project at its earliest roots during the research and development stage for Phelps Dodge. During this testing phase of the MEH, the airlines were buried in front of ROM Stockpiles using different techniques to find the most effective means. One method utilized a large 6' wide plow mounted on a dozer that would rip in the ditch, another method used excavators to dig the ditches. Different methods and varying depths of burying the HDPE lines were tried and tested.
The lines were dumped over with ROM material and cameras were put through the pipes to check the survival rate of the different methods of installation. Some of the challenges that we faced were mostly in removing variables for the research and developing methods to improve the survivability of the airlines. This would prove vital for us later when we had the opportunity to install them in a production project.
We received the first MEH project in 2009 and began developing new ways to increase the productivity and reduce costs. There were many hazards surrounding the many miles of walking our employees had over the rough stockpile. Slips, trips and falls were recognized as a high hazard in our HIRA and required our attention. Typically 5 employees would walk a distance upwards of 60 miles per project.
We began working on a method of installing the "Pipe in a Pipe" airline which was based on pushing the HDPE pipe through the corrugated pipe rather than manually placing the corrugated pipe over the HDPE pipe. The development of an entirely new machine was engineered, designed and built by our company and the prototype was tested and approved for airline use in April of 2013. The pusher, along with other specially adapted equipment changed the way the airlines are installed on the MEH and reduced 95% of the walking across the stockpiles and is proving to be a considerable cost savings to our customer.