BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 812
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          Date of Hearing:   May 2, 2011

                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                   AB 812 (Ma) - As Introduced:  February 17, 2011

           SUBJECT  :  Solid waste: recycled concrete: recycled asphalt

           SUMMARY  :  Modifies provisions related to the use of recycled 
          materials in contracts awarded by the Department of General 
          Services (DGS) and the California Department of Transportation 
          (Caltrans).  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Modifies the prohibition against selling recycled concrete to 
            DGS and Caltrans by eliminating the requirement that the 
            agencies must request its use.  

          2)Requires Caltrans to increase the allowable amount of recycled 
            asphalt pavement (RAP) used in its projects to 50%, as 
            specified, unless Caltrans determines that using the material 
            is not practical, cost effective, or appropriate on a given 

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Explicitly prohibits recycled concrete from being be offered, 
            provided, or sold to Caltrans or DGS unless its use is 
            specifically requested and approved by the respective agency.  

          2)Requires Caltrans to use recycled materials unless it 
            determines that the use of these materials is not cost 

          3)Defines "recycled materials" to include, but not be limited 
            to, recycled asphalt, crushed concrete sub-base, foundry slag, 
            ash, glass, glassy aggregates, and paving materials utilizing 
            crumb rubber from automobile tires.  

          4)Requires state agencies to make maximum use of recycled 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown 

           COMMENTS  :  This bill deals with two different paving materials, 


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          concrete (usually a light-colored pavement) and RAP (usually a 
          black-colored pavement).  

          With regard to concrete, Caltrans selectively uses two types in 
          its transportation projects:  

           1)Hardened recycled concrete:   This type of recycled concrete is 
            derived by crushing hardened concrete to make aggregate.  
            Caltrans allows for a liberal use of "hardened recycled 
            concrete" in numerous applications, for example, up to 100% in 
            base and sub-base construction.  

           2)Plastic recycled concrete  :  This type of concrete is typically 
            what is left in the mixing truck after a concrete pour.  
            Caltrans does not generally allow for the use of plastic 
            recycled concrete because engineers cannot reliably predict 
            whether or not the material will perform according to project 
            design specifications.  Plastic recycled concrete can 
            jeopardize a project's structure integrity, hence, the 
            existing ban on its use for Caltrans and DGS projects.  The 
            explicit ban also protects DGS and Caltrans in that it vests 
            the contractor or the supplier with the onus to ensure no 
            plastic recycled concrete is being delivered to a job site.  

          Prior to the passage of AB 574 (Wolk) Chapter 693, Statutes of 
          2005, it was unlawful to mix new and returned concrete in the 
          same truck and concrete trucks were required to be completely 
          discharged (i.e., emptied and washed out) before introducing a 
          new batch of concrete.  AB 574 was sponsored by the Southern 
          California Rock Products Association and the Southern California 
          Ready Mixed Concrete Association to allow the recycling of ready 
          mixed concrete.  To assuage fears that AB 574 would result in 
          recycled concrete ending up in DGS or Caltrans projects (and 
          jeopardize the structural integrity of the project), that bill 
          included provisions to specifically prohibit the mixture from 
          being sold to the departments unless it was specifically 
          approved and requested in a particular project.  

          This bill would replace the prohibition against providing DGS 
          and Caltrans recycled concrete (unless specifically requested) 
          with the authority to do so if approved.  Presumably, the 
          purpose of this bill is to increase the opportunity to sell 
          recycled concrete to DGS and Caltrans.  

          RAP is the term given to reprocessed materials containing 


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          asphalt pavement.  RAP is created when asphalt pavements are 
          ground up, crushed, screened, and recoated with a binder before 
          being re-applied as pavement.  Current Caltrans specifications 
          allow for the use of up to 15% RAP in an asphalt surface paving 
          mix; however, Caltrans is currently evaluating increased amounts 
          of RAP use in surface paving projects.  In fact, Caltrans 
          indicates they have contracted with the California State 
          Polytechnic University, Pomona, to analyze national efforts on 
          use of RAP at percentages exceeding 15%.  The study is expected 
          to be available in June 2011.  Additionally, Caltrans notes that 
          it is currently working on two long life pavement projects to 
          evaluate increasing RAP use in interim pavement layers to 25%.  
          The results of this study are expected in 2012.  Using 
          information obtained from these studies, Caltrans plans to 
          conduct a trial project using higher amounts of RAP, which may 
          lead to the development of specifications for increased RAP use 
          in surface paving projects.  

          This bill would require Caltrans to allow up to 50% RAP in 
          surface paving projects, a level at which the sponsor believes 
          would reflect current national standards.  

          According to the author, the intent of this bill is to encourage 
          higher usage of recycled concrete and asphalt and promote 
          recycling of oil and natural resource aggregates.  

           Committee concerns:   

          1)This bill seeks to modify the existing ban on using recycled 
            concrete to provide that Caltrans or DGS need not specifically 
            request it. Thus, the bill creates a situation where a 
            contractor may "offer" recycled concrete to DGS or Caltrans, 
            placing the burden on the agencies to specifically  reject  the 

          2)This bill only specifies that a product may be "offered" but 
            does not describe the method by which an offer must occur.  As 
            a result, it is plausible that a contractor could consider a 
            verbal request an "offer" which could conceivably lead to 
            confusion and the potential, inadvertent, use of materials 
            that are not specifically required in the project 
            specifications, the consequences of which could be project 
            design failure, the need for costly repairs and, likely, 
            questions of legal liability.  
          3)Caltrans currently allows for high levels of recycled concrete 


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            in all but the most design-critical aspects of project 
            construction.  For these remaining design-critical components, 
            it is imperative that Caltrans and DGS maintain close control 
            over the products used, to ensure that projects meet the 
            established design and performance criteria.  Given that this 
            bill could result in situations where recycled concrete 
            products are used without full evaluation of the potential 
            effects on design and performance criteria, the committee 
            feels the risks of the bill do not outweigh the potential 

          4)While increasing the use of RAP is certainly a laudable goal, 
            the benefits of increasing RAP in Caltrans surface paving 
            projects do not adequately offset the potential impacts that 
            could result.  This bill would undercut ongoing scientific 
            investigations as to the proper and prudent use of RAP, the 
            ongoing process of evaluating increased RAP use, and would set 
            a precedent for circumventing the current process by which 
            Caltrans, with input from industry, scientifically evaluates 
            products and sets engineering standard specifications.  

           Previous legislation  : AB 484 (Nava) of 2007 would have 
          prohibited Caltrans, and its contractors, from dumping 
          recyclable materials in landfills.  That bill was vetoed by then 
          Governor Schwarzenegger on the grounds that the bill was 

          AB 735 (Wiggins) of 2007 would have require Caltrans and its 
          contractors, to track information regarding the use of recycled 
          and virgin materials used for sub-base, base, and lean concrete 
          base.  That bill was vetoed by then Governor Schwarzenegger 
          based on cost implications.  

          AB 574 (Wolk), Chapter 693, Statutes 2005, defined recycled 
          concrete and exempted Caltrans and DGS from purchasing recycled 
          concrete unless they are specifically requested and approved by 
          Caltrans or DGS.  

          SB 403 (Machado) of 2001 would have authorized the use of 
          recycled concrete, as defined, if the end user was been fully 
          informed that the concrete is recycled concrete.  That bill was 
          vetoed by then Governor Davis on the grounds that the bill would 
          have circumvented the process by which standards for 
          construction and building materials are appropriately developed 
          and that SB 403 would pose a substantial risk to public safety.  


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          California Construction and Industrial Material Association 
          CalPortland Construction Company
          BoDean Company
          Lehigh Hanson Heidelberg cement Group
          Sierra Club California
          Teichert Aggregates


          None on file.

           Analysis Prepared by  :   Victoria Alvarez / TRANS. / (916)