Cajon Valley Middle School Field Trips to Sycamore Landfill and Hanson Aggregates Rock Quarry in Santee

Written by Alyssa Burley.

On March 1, 2, 15, & 17 2016, sixth grade students from Cajon Valley Middle School toured the Sycamore Landfill and Hanson Aggregates rock quarry in Santee, CA.

The students learned about the partnership between the rock quarry and landfill.  Hanson Aggregates mines the aggregate (rock) used in construction materials like concrete and asphalt, which makes space for Republic Services to dispose of the region's solid waste (aka trash).

Students were pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness of the entire facility.  Several students asked, "where's the trash?"  Gabe Gonzales, Operations Supervisor for Republic Services, explained the mountain they were driving on was made of waste and is now covered with the yellow fill.  Yellow fill is a by-product from the rock quarry.  Hanson Aggregates mines the rock from the site; the left over dirt (aka yellow fill) is used to cover the trash on a daily basis.  Mr. Gonzales also explained how methane gas is collected from the decomposing waste and used to generate power that is sold to San Diego Gas & Electric.

After touring the landfill, students split into small groups to learn about the rock quarry and the various construction aggregate products it produces, and the heavy equipment that is used, perform a gradation analysis on aggregate samples, and make their own concrete.

The field trip was designed to introduce students to the real-world Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) that are involved in the construction aggregates industry, and to show how the industry is vital to our communities.

Photos by Alyssa Burley

Photos by Alyssa Burley

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Towards the end of the field trip, one student excitedly explained he would be old enough to be the Hanson Aggregates Plant Manager by the time Eric Inouye, the current Plant Manager, retires.  Many students were curious about the various careers within the facility.

"This field trip is so excellent for our students. This industry should not hide, but broadcast how they support and their importance to our communities," said a one of the teachers on the field trip.

Additional field trips to this location are scheduled for March 15th and 17th, 2016.

We would like to give a special thank you to RDO Equipment Co. for providing the equipment that was on display for the field trips.