Neat, clean and ANSI/NSC 373 Certified
TexaStone Quarries pioneers the sustainability certification
By Jim Cook
TexaStone Quarries has deep roots in the Lone Star State, having spent 20 years digging limestone out of the West Texas ground and supplying it to customers globally.
The company’s ties to the earth have instilled in TexaStone a deep appreciation and commitment to the land. TexaStone reaffirmed that bond recently, becoming the stone industry’s first company to receive gold certification in quarry operations and silver certification as a processing fabricator under the ANSI/NSC 373 standard, which emphasizes sustainable extraction methods.
“TSQ believes in best practices in our quarrying and fabrication, so this standard fits our values very well,” says Brenda Edwards, TexaStone owner and general manager. “In West Texas, there is a water shortage, so recycling our water has always been one of our good practices. We have enough land that we are able to keep our sites looking clean and productive. We like everything neat and clean.”
TexaStone, which employs about 36 people, quarries and processes limestone from six areas of the Permian Basin, a sedimentary basin stretching from Lubbock, Texas, to southeastern New Mexico. The company provides limestone for interiors and exteriors in both commercial and residential products.
Edwards says she believes the payoff from her company’s investment in obtaining NSC 373 certification will be realized through increased business from architects, designers and homeowners concerned about sustainability and eco-friendly practices. At present, there is no relation between NSC 373 and LEED, but Edwards believes that, in time, architects and designers will be able to receive LEED points by using the ANSI/NSC 373 standard.
TexaStone already has begun to use its NSC 373 certification in its marketing efforts, promoting it via Web videos, trade magazines and presentations.
Obtaining certification took TexaStone about one year and required extensive data collection and documentation. Edwards says the company had to track stone weight, mileage, trucking company vendors, waste processing and recycling information, among other data. She adds that the process helped the company find more efficient methods of operation.
“We now know to the penny the cost of the different ways we pack stone for shipment,” Edwards says. “It was a true eye-opener.”
Edwards says one of the biggest operational changes it made as a result of obtaining certification involved quarry reclamation. Although the State of Texas does not require quarry reclamation, NSC 373 does. As a result, TexaStone filled in four quarry pits no longer in use by the company.
TexaStone invested about $13,000 in obtaining certification, spending $7,500 to purchase the NSC 373, $2,000 for an environmental assessment and $3,500 for data entry and related services.
To maintain certification, TexaStone will need to keep recording and documenting information about its operations for two years, and then submit to a site visit from the NSF to ensure the company continues to comply with standards.
Edwards says TexaStone got on board with receiving the certification because she sees regulation as inevitable: “I have dealt with OSHA, MSHA, EPA and other regulatory agencies to the point that if the stone industry didn’t provide themselves with a voluntary third-party verified standard, that the government would do it for us.”
About the Author
Jim Cook is a freelance writer based in Dothan, Ala. A veteran of daily newspapers and trade publications, he has deep experience writing on a variety of topics.