Keeping impacts under control
Whether in terms of waste, soil pollution, atmospheric emissions, eyesores and/or noise and odour pollution, all the Group's companies in all business sectors are directly affected by the issue of managing the environmental impacts of their production facilities and activities. Similarly, making sustainable use of resources is helping to reduce the Group's ecological footprint and prepare the group to adapt if resources become scarcer, as predicted.
he divisions set out their impact management commitments in binding documents such as the policies produced by APRR and AREA’s Operations department and the Quality and Environment charters drawn up by Eiffage Energie.
Eiffage’s Sustainable Development department has made its GEODE operational environmental management software application available to the Group’s establishments, enabling them to list, measure and control their environmental impacts. This application features a new Environmental Accidents module providing the necessary transparency and traceability for monitoring accidents affecting the environment.
Making activities more acceptable by reducing nuisances
APRR and AREA are continuing their programmes to protect nearby residents against the nuisance of motorway noise in the context of the 2014-2018 planning contracts agreed with the French State. Near the A40-42 motorway intersection, four sites have been identified - after consulting the elected representatives and residents of three communes – as candidates for work to improve the local population's living conditions by installing noise-abating solutions. On the AREA network, work to protect people living near the A41 continued in 2015, with the construction of a second soundwall located, this time, along nearly 600 metres of the northbound carriageway.
Eiffage Route pushed ahead with its commercialisation of road surfacing techniques designed to reduce road noise – using a technique tested by Microphone® or the more innovative Nanophone® solution. These phonic coated aggregates reduce noise levels by a factor of 3 compared with conventional coated aggregates. Their performances provide a suitable response with respect to the implementation of environmental noise prevention plans (PPBE) drawn up by the public authorities in 2013.
Pursuing another line of action, the division modelled sources of noise at the aggregate coating plants in Montescourt (Aisne) and Marly (Nord) in order to pinpoint the main sources and define areas for improvement and action plans. Following a modelling phase, studies began prior to the installation of noise-abating screens.
To deal with odours given off by processes, operations to identify risks and nuisances and implement appropriate management solutions are regularly carried out at the division’s installations.
A number of technological solutions were implemented in 2014 at Bonneuil-sur-Marne plant in Val-de-Marne and the binder manufacturing plant in Collonges, Ain, on the basis of feedback from several installations and in-depth diagnostic studies. The actions taken were focused on the actual constituents of pollutant emissions as well as on reducing the amount of waste produced and environmental impacts. Innovative solutions to eliminate odours were tested and developed at the Bonneuil plant, and they are now implemented at all new industrial facilities. Best practices introduced by Eiffage are being used by the odours working group set up by this industrial sector.
Examples of the solutions adopted include :
- manufacturing warm mix coated aggregates coated and lowering the temperature of bitumen during manufacture to reduce odours released via the chimney by 40%,
- collecting and treating gas vented from bitumen tanks,
- land installing truck loading tunnels reducing odour emissions by 93%.
Air under protection
Independently of the obligation upon facilities to manage their atmospheric emissions, Eiffage has taken various steps to combat atmospheric pollution, relating in particular to the implementation of prevention procedures and the search for less-polluting processes.
Teams from APRR-AREA are working to ensure that motorway traffic flows as smoothly as possible, in terms of both quality of service and safety, and to avoid congestion which causes pollution peaks. In practical terms, their work ranges from drive-through electronic tolls to regulating speeds on some sections of the A40 and A6 motorways but they also include planning works that require lanes to be closed and managing incidents causing traffic disruption.
They also take steps to enforce permanent or temporary speed limits, notably in areas covered by atmospheric protection plans.
The potential health risks posed by atmospheric releases from Eiffage Travaux Publics aggregate coating facilities are covered by a French national strategy in partnership with USIRF (the French road industry association) which receives active support from the Eiffage Route scientific department.
Upgrading the Infrastructures division’s site machines
To cut emission from bitumen-coated aggregate laying machines, a fume suction system is installed on all new vehicles. Older vehicles in the fleet are to be equipped by 2020
Dust management is also of paramount importance for the operation of industrial installations and to secure the acceptance by nearby residents of the activities carried out. A dust suction system with the finest fractions collected being recycled into the sand was installed, for example, at Roche Blain quarrying sites at Fresney-le-Puceux (Calvados). This system limits direct interventions by personnel in the area and reduces the consumption of water used for spraying which is normally performed to keep dust down. Renovation work carried out at the Chartres Enrobés coating facility in Lucé (Eure-et-Loir) included the cladding of the plant’s main components which will significantly reduce the risk of blowing dust.
Recent improvement made to installations mostly involved equipping hoppers with covers (on the side facing the prevailing wind) and suction systems in locations producing the most dust.
All-round approach to prevent soil pollution
The divisions have adopted strategies based on a comprehensive approach to soil pollution risks relying not only on emergency response and protection solutions, such as retaining pits and absorbent material kits, but also on monitoring and detection systems as well as employee behaviour. These strategies are supported by practical guides and dedicated procedures.
The Group’s activities generated more than 1.3 million tonnes of waste in 2015, and managing this waste is a major environmental and economic challenge. All the divisions have a waste management policy and regularly renew their requirements and partnerships.
The policy – introduced at APRR more than 10 years ago – is strongly rooted and well suited to business needs. Care is taken in organising collection procedures, selecting processing service providers and, in particular, deciding on the location of sorting stations. Personnel, who receive regular training and information updates, are provided with a Practical waste guide.
The waste produced by motorway users was the subject of new studies in 2015. At APRR, the problem of litter and waste dumping was examined in collaboration with operating entities and local and regional organisations including institutions, local and regional authorities and associations in the context of the Bioterre masters programme. A number of lines of action were identified to reduce negative impacts on the environment and ensure the safety of motorway employees. Waste sorting systems were examined for the AREA network with the aim of making them more efficient when carrying out renovation work at rest areas. Various solutions were assessed as regards their ease of use for customers, environmental impact, local recycling systems, and collection and recycling costs.
Focus on the monitoring and optimisation of recycling remains a matter of priority, with regard to the waste generated both by business activities and by customers. APRR issued instructions for the deployment of sorting station for the voluntary disposal of glass and packagings at motorway rest areas, service areas and toll stations. Sorting containers, installed in addition to unsorted waste containers, are inventoried and described in the motorway operating information system.
The programme for the renovation of rest areas between 2015 and 2018 in line with planning contracts is promoting the implementation of sorting at source in the AREA network and the upgrading of equipment in the APRR network. The same applies to service areas in the context of the renovation of commercial installations
Eiffage Construction purchasing department rolled out a nationwide framework contract for waste services in 2014 with the aim of standardising the technical and environmental requirements for service providers. This text is being updated to bring the specifications into line with the circumstances at each division so they can be implemented throughout the Group.
For the Docks de Ris-Orangis programme, in particular, steps were taken in partnership with Tarkett. Eiffage Construction Résidentiel participated, on a voluntary basis, in the Restart programme enabling more than 90% of PVC flooring offcuts to be recycled without causing any significant inconvenience for the project.
Studies are being conducted at a number of divisions :
- In 2014, Clemessy drew up a report on its waste management – highlighting the percentage of waste recycled per entity – with the aim of ensuring consistent environmental performance assessment. Sorting errors formed the subject of a personnel awareness-raising campaign. Feedback on the rate of waste recycling in 2015 showed percentages of between 33% and 100%. (Entities with a recycling rate of 100% do not measure their volumes of non-hazardous waste as this is managed by local authorities).
- A waste study – regarding types, quantities, hazardousness and management costs, etc. – was conducted at Eiffage Travaux Publics in 2014, covering industrial activities, work sites and commercial buildings. This study identified the types of waste having the greatest impacts, possible improvements and best practices. On this basis, operating indicators are to be recommended for each business line in order to optimise waste quantities, costs and management budgets.
Eiffage Génie Civil has installed “sorting boxes” to optimise the sorting and safe processing of the most hazardous categories of waste at some of its work sites. The chemical storage unit is equipped with a spill retaining platform for more effective management of pollution accidents. Employees were also issued with fire extinguishers, anti-pollution kits and information sheets.
Decontamination activities, skills and innovations
The Infrastructures division accounts for most of the Group’s expertise in demolition, dismantling, decontamination and asbestos removal, and it includes acknowledged specialists such as Gauthey, Boutté, Forézienne d'Entreprise and Budillon-Rabatel.
Decontaminating with mycelium in the Smartseille ecodistrict
Mycoremediation is an experimental soil decontamination technique proposed by French startup company Polypop. Eiffage Construction tested this technique at the Smartseille site with the support of the Group’s sustainable development department. Good results were obtained in this study, which has now been completed. The great attraction of this biomimetic technique is based not only on its completely innovative nature compared with conventional soil treatment solutions but also on the comprehensive environmental benefits it offers in terms of energy savings and reductions in carbon emissions by avoiding the use of trucks to transport skimmed soil and the use of extremely energy-intensive techniques such as thermal desorption.
Sustainable use of resources
Accotements, talus, terre-plein centraux et aires constituent pour APRR-AREA un patrimoine naturel de plus de 10 000 hectares, objet d’une politique d’exploitation spéciﬁque « espaces naturels », qui, outre le respect de la réglementation, vise la sécurité des salariés, des riverains et des clients, la moindre gêne à la circulation, le tout dans le respect des politiques de développement durable et de management de l’environnement de l’entreprise, et la pérennité des ouvrages.
Verges, embankments, central reservations and motorway rest areas are seen by APRR-AREA as a natural heritage extending over more than 10,000 hectares covered by a special “natural spaces” operating policy which, in addition to upholding regulatory compliance, aims to ensure the safety of employees, customers and local residents, avoid any traffic nuisance, ensure compliance with the company’s sustainable development and environmental management policies, and preserve structures over the long term.
APRR specified amendments to its policy and related measures for the use of plant care products in non-agricultural areas in spring 2015. Instructions regarding decision-making procedures for their utilisation, storage, preparation and application and for the optimal final steps after treatment were restated and completed. Specifications for spraying equipment were also issued. At the same time, the watch for alternatives to plant care products is continuing, especially in the most sensitive areas such as the pollution of aquatic environments.
Sheep, the ideal mowing machine
Thirty-five Ouessant sheep from Finistère, Brittany, were released in the area of a basin near the Saint-Denis-lès-Sens toll station on the A19 motorway in summer 2014. APRR’s Brie district volunteered to test this eco-grazing method proposed by the Ecomouton company. These very small sheep (only 50 cm high at the withers and weighing no more than 20 kg) do not compress the soil when grazing. Being of little use for wool or meat, their utilisation for cropping grass provides a means of protecting this rustic race from the island of Ouessant. APRR conducts seasonal checks on the state of plants. This trial was continued and completed in 2015. Flocks may be introduced in other areas where this maintenance approach may be beneficial.
Supervising the sustainable working of Eiffage Route quarries has become a specialised job requiring close collaboration with public authorities, nearby residents, farmers and other interested parties. The setting up of local cooperation and monitoring commissions on several sites has promoted dialogue and plays a part in ensuring the sustainable use of resources – i.e. water, biodiversity and farmland, etc. All the quarrying sites have signed up for the environment charter – Charte Environnement Professionnelle – drawn up by UNICEM, the quarries and construction materials industry association. This charter involves monitoring the observance of 80 recommendations and best practices regarding biodiversity, water, noise, vibrations and collaboration.
From the extraction of raw materials to the worksite, the Infrastructures division manages every area of expertise connected with the life cycle of projects in its business field. Having signed the French road industry’s declaration of firm commitment in 2009, the division complies with ambitious, regularly renewed goals such as increasing the proportion of coated aggregates re-used to 15% (by 2017)and doubling the areas of road surface treated in situ. That 15% target was achieved by Eiffage Route in 2015.
Actual practices have been implemented. As a result, recycled inert waste has become a significant source of raw materials and the division is developing technical and industrial solutions to increase the proportion used in its products. Crushing and grinding units process concrete obtained from demolitions and inert waste obtained from old road surfaces, and produce reusable aggregates. Using the BIOCOLD® range of cold-coated bituminous mix for road repairs, it is possible for the final product to consist of up to 100% recycled aggregates. Study of the development of this type of technique is continuing, notably through Eiffage Route’s participation in the European BioRePavation project focused on the regeneration of asphalt using an organic adjuvant.
Some coating facilities were improved in 2014, such as at Haute-Marne Enrobés and Chartres Enrobés which can now incorporate up to 30% and 60% respectively of recycled coated materials in their processes.
The goal for new installations is now to increase the proportion of recycled materials to more than 50%.
Savings on new materials can also be achieved by implementing special processes such as Granuchape®, a high-performance system for laying very thin and ultra-thin bituminous concrete layers. This process, which halves the consumption of raw materials per square metre was used on more than 700,000 sq. m of road in 2015 (more than three times the 2014 figure).
Road surface in-situ treatment systems (ARM and ARC) designed by the division since 2015 reuse the aggregates forming the old road surface and improve its drainage. In this process, the old materials are treated with a bituminous hydraulic binder to provide a stable, homogeneous, durable base that is ready for a new life cycle. It avoids the production of waste, the propagation of hazardous dust, reduces the use of natural resources and promotes energy savings (cold process with high efficiency). While these tools were widely redeployed in 2015, improvements continue to be made with Recyclean®, Eiffage Route latest innovation for road recycling which also protects against the emission of polluting dust particles (PAH and asbestos). This new process won several awards in 2015.
Eiffage Route is also active in the area of reprocessing waste from industrial activities - such as fly ash from power generation activities at coal-fired power stations, non-hazardous waste incineration clinker, steel-making slag, foundry sand and old tyres - to use them as substitutes for new materials. Some 3,000,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste incineration clinker are produced every year in France. After suitable treatment, the bulk of this can be re-used for landfill, capping layers or road foundation layers in compliance with environmental requirements.
APRR and AREA are stepping up the implementation of their policy of using recycled materials for road maintenance. Of the aggregates amounting to nearly 4,888,000 tonnes and 255,000 tonnes they used in 2015, about 99,300 and 88,000 respectively were obtained by coated mix recycling.
Internal initiatives to improve organisational structures and practices with the aim of managing companies’ consumption and optimising energy performance are presented in the section on tailor-made energy performance offerings. Data on water is set out in the chapter headed: Water, a shared resource that must be preserved