C.S.S. Technology dba Roadbond Service Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Ryan Fecteau
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
C.S.S. Technology dba Roadbond Service Inc. has been providing chemical soil stabilization solutions since 1986. Now in its second generation of family ownership, Roadbond was established by Ervin Merritt. His sons, Steve and Tom Merritt now operate the business and Steve’s son-in-law, Jacob Hutchings is also actively involved in the company. While the company began with a target market of municipalities and roadway contractors, its customer base has grown significantly to include businesses in the oil and gas and mining industries.
The company’s trademark Roadbond EN 1 soil stabilizer is a patented product designed to improve the strength and load-bearing capacity of soil, and to alter the ability of clay to hold adsorbed water through a chemical process in which the stabilizer causes clay to release weakly ionized water molecules and replace them with strongly ionized sulfate radicals. The process is permanent and takes place at normal pH levels. This process improves the durability of roadways and can be used as an environmental agent to encapsulate and contain heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons.
Developing a reliable product
“Our product is a chemical blend that hardens the soil under the road,” says Steve. “When used properly, it reduces the need for maintenance. My family was originally in cotton farming and my father developed a liquid foliar fertilizer as a side business to keep things afloat. He wanted to add trace elements to the fertilizer along with the standard nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. He developed a chemical blend to leach trace elements out of crushed rock which he then added to the foliar fertilizer. The chemical blend also made soil extremely hard, and out of this Roadbond EN 1 was born.
“Our first customer base was county commissioners,” continues Steve “My father used to say, ‘Do you have a road that’s giving you trouble?’ The county commissioners would do part of the road with EN 1 and see its success. I became a believer in the product the same way; my father brought me to an unpaved county road in Archer County where one end was constructed using water and the other was constructed using EN 1. The section where our product had been used still had a perfect crown and smooth surface after six months. The other section without EN 1 had ruts and potholes and looked like any other unpaved road. I looked at my dad and said I think I can help you sell this. That was 1987 and I have been doing it ever since.”
Now Roadbond is taking the brand a step further by marketing EN 1 as both a green product and a green solution. The business is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and utilizes recycled and rapidly renewable resources to manufacture the stabilizing agent.
“We use a byproduct from the mining industry that would otherwise go to waste as well as a byproduct from the citrus industry which makes us a green company,” says Steve. “In addition, our product can be used to reduce traditional Portland cement stabilization and replace lime stabilization completely. We are also significantly reducing the carbon footprint of road projects by decreasing the frequency of road repair and maintenance.”
A range of applications
EN 1 has been used on a number of diverse projects. Roadbond targets public and private projects in the US, although the product is also widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and other countries in North America.
“Our product has been used for several warehouse projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” notes Steve. “We were also involved in the construction of an Airbus manufacturing facility in China and some of the 2008 Olympic facilities were built using Roadbond. One of our biggest clients is the largest uranium developer in Kazakhstan. They use Roadbond for their roads, which heavy equipment travels over frequently.”
One of the fastest growing applications for the product line is in the oil and gas industry. Roadbond EN1 is used to encapsulate and contain oil base drill cuttings to provide long-term prevention of leaching of heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons into the environment. The Roadbond approach offers several advantages over other drill-cutting disposal methods such as soil-farming which involves distributing potentially harmful waste over several acres.
According to Steve, the process to install EN 1 is simple and utilizes common techniques and principles currently employed in the construction of drilling locations and lease roads.
- The processed drill cuttings are hauled from the stockpile to the drilling location or lease road that is to receive the drill cuttings.
- The cuttings are then spread evenly over the area to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Next, a pulverizing mixer is used to blend the material with 6 to 8 inches of the underlying soil, for a total depth of 10 to 12 inches.
- Roadbond EN 1 is then distributed evenly over the treated area, and the blending machine mixes the profile full-depth until a homogeneous mixture is achieved along with the optimum moisture content for compaction. The treated soil is then shaped, compacted to density and placed on grade.
- The encapsulated area is then capped with a 2- to 4-inch lift of crushed rock or other suitable material and then the drilling rig may mobilize to the treated site.
This application has been in the works for some time, though Steve says his team has been targeting these specific customers for only the past few years. Roadbond is working with distributors to boost the product’s demand, although the process has not been easy.
“One of the issues we run into is overcoming entrenched thinking,” Steve says. “Our product is not inexpensive; but the long-term savings can be great.” Because of the added strength gain EN1 offers, municipalities, commissioners and state highway departments can reduce the frequency of road repair and maintenance significantly.
Another roadblock to growth has been the reputation of other manufacturers, many of whose products simply do not perform. “There are other chemical stabilizers out there and unfortunately most of them have not worked,” Steve explains. “Thus, chemical soil stabilizers have been given a black eye. Because of that, our challenge is to overcome preconceived notions. I hope there are other products out there that work because I am competing against industry acceptance. If there are other chemical stabilizers that work, I would rather sell on the qualities that we have rather than sell the entire concept.”
“Unlike some products, EN 1 installs easily and reduces the permeability of the soil to shed water to the drainage area and away from the road.” Steve adds. “Lime accounts for a lot of fuel and water consumption during mining and processing. Then it needs to be burned in kilns and that process releases carbon dioxide right into the air. In contrast, using Roadbond instead of lime on just one drilling location offsets enough energy consumption that it’s like taking 90 houses off the power grid for a year.”
For a cleaner, greener, more efficient alternative, government agencies, oil, gas and mining companies all turn to C.S.S. Technology’s Roadbond EN 1 for low-hassle, high-value soil stabilization and encapsulation.
Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in US Builders Review” badge that links directly to your article!
Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing