Roanoke Cement Validates Green Credentials

The Natural Resources Conservation Service recently hosted a tour of the Roanoke Cement, Troutville, Va., farm conservation project.

Bill Keith, district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said he hoped farmers would see how alternative water sources can provide a cleaner source of water for livestock and also improve creek habitat.

The Roanoke Cement plant has won a host of awards in recent years tied to efforts to reduce the site’s environmental impact. When Roanoke needed to expand its limestone quarry, the company pledged to make changes to land it owned nearby that is leased to a farmer. Among other things, the work was designed to improve the water quality of Catawba Creek, a tributary to the James River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.

Last fall, while working with Bill Keith along with the Farm Service Agency and the Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District, Roanoke Cement and contractors launched work along Catawba Creek. Measures included fencing to exclude cattle from the creek and providing two wells, one equipped with a solar-powered pump, for water sources. Additionally, the company hired a contractor to plant about 17,000 trees and shrubs that were native species, including sycamore, river birch, black willow, maple and oak.

Lance Clark, environmental manager at Roanoke Cement, estimates the company spent more than $500,000 to restore and improve the riparian zone along Catawba Creek. He and Lindsey Layman, a lab analyst for the company, have helped shepherd the farm project.

Roanoke Cement, a subsidiary of Titan America and the only portland cement plant in Virginia, is poised for an ambitious retrofit in anticipation of stricter pollution standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration. The price tag could range from $15 million to $30 million.

Clark said Titan America has enthusiastically supported environmental initiatives at the Roanoke Cement plant ranging from stocking trout at the abandoned quarry to planting apple trees and siting beehives at a former boneyard for scrap metal.

Related posts