Committed to Serving Our Communities
At Superior Silica Sands, we believe it is vital to be a responsible partner in the communities where we live and work. That’s why we strive to be a responsive community partner, giving back whenever possible, and thereby adding to everyone’s quality of life. We serve on community boards, take part in local activities and events, and are actively involved in organizations that add to the betterment of our communities. We are guided by a core set of beliefs that we should be friendly, accessible people who believe in working for the greater good. We strive every day to live up to our motto: Culture, Cultivation, & Community.
At Superior Silica Sands, our top priorities are the health and safety of our employees and the communities in which our operations are located. We implement several measures to ensure our employees are regularly and consistently monitored for potential exposure to dust. These measures include pre-employment and annual health screenings as well as air sampling monitors placed on employees during random work shifts to monitor for silica dust in their work environment. As a responsible corporate leader, SSS covers the cost of chest x-rays and pulmonary function testing to monitor our employees’ respiratory fitness. We also have ambient air monitors placed in and around the neighborhoods near our operations to ensure that we are not impacting the air quality in our communities. These monitors run on a year-round consistent basis and automatically collect samples every six days. The samples are submitted to a third-party lab for analysis and results are provided to the air regulatory agency. All analysis results for SSS samplers have been lower than the EPA standards for air quality.
Superior Silica Sands focuses on employee safety every day in many ways. All employees receive ergonomic training on proper lifting, pulling, pushing, and sitting techniques. Weekly “Toolbox Talks” serve as mini safety refreshers on an ongoing basis. Topics include first aid, proper equipment use, environmental safety, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), heavy equipment operation, situational awareness, daily workplace monitoring, and many others. Employee input and discussions are encouraged at these “Toolbox Talks” because communication is an important component of safety. Annual training for MSHA compliance is conducted at all SSS facilities, ensuring that employees are up-to-date with the most current mine safety rules and regulations. SSS maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug and alcohol misuse and abuse. Regular, random drug and alcohol testing includes all employees. Company provided awareness and prevention programs are offered to keep employees safe, healthy, and alert.
The DuPont™ STOP® safety program was recently implemented at all SSS locations in Wisconsin, Texas, and Oklahoma. DuPont™ STOP® is a behavior-based program that provides a pathway to workplace safety excellence by encouraging all employees to be responsible for safety. Every shift begins with a pre-shift safety meeting. Throughout the work day, employees are asked to observe co-workers and note both safe and unsafe practices. The observer then reviews his observations with the person being observed. They discuss the observer’s comments, whether positive or not, and look at possible changes to the worker’s practices or environment to improve safety. The goal of this program is to make safety second nature. The DuPont™ STOP® process has improved SSS’s safety culture by making all employees more responsible for safety. The success of this program is being shown by improved work environments and prevention of injuries.
Superior Silica Sands takes corporate responsibility within our communities very seriously. We continuously evaluate our operations to ensure our footprint in the community is positive. We strive to be good corporate citizens, actively participating in our communities with roadside clean-ups, park improvements, and facility tours to let our neighbors see firsthand how we operate.
With the environment always on the forefront of our thoughts and actions, SSS recycles as much as possible. We collect and recycle everything from paper and aluminum cans to used equipment parts and even water. Thousands of gallons of water cycle through our wet plants every day. Rather than constantly pumping fresh groundwater to wash the sand, we collect, clean, and re-use our wash water. We also collect stormwater on our mine sites and add that to our washing process to further reduce the quantity of groundwater we need to pump.
SSS has voluntarily partnered with the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) and the Wisconsin Geologic and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) to conduct a regional study that evaluated potential impacts to groundwater quantities due to the presence of frac sand mining. Modeling performed as part of the study assumed that every potential mine in the region, based on geology, would be developed and operating at one time and that every potential mine would include a high capacity well. The study results showed negligible impacts to both groundwater levels and surface water flows.
SSS also teamed with Chippewa County and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to research different remediation techniques on our Auburn mine. UWRF students and faculty installed test equipment in undisturbed background areas and adjacent agriculture fields as well as areas being actively remediated. Each remediation test plot received a different treatment (base layer, fertilizer, etc.). Data has now been collected for several years and the university is preparing a final report. Initial results indicate very little difference between mined land that has been properly remediated and land used for typical agriculture. This study will continue to monitor conditions and compare them to the non-mined areas over the next several years as the reclaimed sections continue to stabilize and thrive.
Reclamation planning begins long before a mine is permitted. Landowners are consulted to determine the final land use. Local units of government typically must give their approval of the proposed reclamation plan prior to implementation. We believe that reclamation should be part of ongoing activities as soon as a mine begins operations. SSS does as much contemporaneous reclamation as possible, reclaiming right behind the mining operations. SSS has been successful in receiving final approval for twenty-four reclaimed acres in Barron County WI. Additionally, there are nearly two hundred acres on our Wisconsin mines that are currently in the final approval process.
As an environmentally conscious company, SSS is always looking for new technologies to reduce environmental impacts and improve conditions in our communities. SandGuard™ is one of the newer additions to our product line and does just that. SandGuard™ uses a food grade coating material to protect the sand grains from abrasion during handling, thereby minimizing the creation of dust. The use of SandGuard™ in sand handling areas can reduce the concentration of respirable silica dust to less than detectable levels (25 micrograms per cubic meter). This technology is just one of the ways SSS stays on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability.
Superior Silica Sands takes the initiative to be transparent to our “local community” in many ways, as our presence makes a huge impact on the people surrounding us. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life where we operate. We do so by supporting local businesses, investing, and volunteering in our communities.
It’s important to us to recruit/select local talent to operate our mines and plant operations. This ensures we continue to support the people in our “hometowns” by providing jobs for the local economy. By hiring locally, SSS indirectly creates support for local businesses, such as; restaurants, vendors, and local shops by sustaining a workforce that reinforces the economy. Further, due to the traffic needed to transport our sand, SSS funds a large part of the road repairs and maintenance to ensure transportation within our communities remains smooth and hassle-free.
Giving back to our communities is equally as important as transparency, Superior goes above and beyond when offering support to the locality. Many members of our SSS team have regular attendance at the local township/county board meetings, volunteering in our surrounding communities, and maintaining corporate citizenship with our neighbors. In additional to working closely with our counties and communities, Superior has made it concerted effort to ensure reclamation of our mining properties & make it a focus to be an environmental steward. We feel having a presence with the Chamber of Commerce & being involve with the local communities allows us to understand, not only what’s going on in the communal environment, but also the impact of our operations in the area, as well as, with local churches. In addition to the support of local administration, many of our team members are board members of well-known non-profit organizations, such as Kiwanis International, Be Well Barron County, American Heart Association, Leadership of Fort Worth, Oklahoma & San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and Attitudes and Attire. The volunteering of one’s time is proportionately as significant as monetary donations to many non-profit organizations. We support by volunteering at local schools, homeless shelters, as well as, adopting a portion of the highways, river, park to maintain.
Superior has also made an impact with monetary donations to many worthy organizations as an example of its commitment to providing a better future for those in need. Aside from the support offered to the local law enforcement and fire departments with participation in fun runs, blood drives, SSS has offered regular donations to organizations such as the Food Pantry and the Tarrant Area Food Bank to combat hunger. Superior has partnered with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club and donated sand to local schools’ playgrounds & sports field developments. These are a few of the staple organizations Superior has backed to support the future growth and protection of children. Superior Silica Sands’ commitment to be a responsible corporate leader in our communities, and beyond. Superior has opened our doors for Open House event for the community to visit & schools to tour our plant operations for field trips.
Join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to follow our community campaign & the monthly volunteer initiatives that all our Superior employees are involved in with our local communities.