SEP 22, 2023

When It Rains, It… Cleans!

EcoChampion team finds Earth-conscious solution to wash fleet vehicles

EcoChampions – Edson IBS

EcoChampion John Zafra likes to say there are two types of weather in Edson, Alberta: hot and dusty or wet and muddy. Last year, John and his team came up with an ingenious solution to an ongoing problem.

“Our loaders were getting caked with mud or were really dirty, and then the air filters would get clogged with dust, so Operators had a hard time starting them,” recalls John, Terminal Manager at CN’s lumber reload and International Bulk Services facility.

John brought an outside vendor onsite to pressure-wash the four fleet vehicles, but when he saw the bill –– he knew the team could find a better way.

“There was no way we’d be paying this every time we need to get washed, so I looked up rain catchers online,” he says.

John then visited the local recycling depot and picked up a free plastic tank that could hold 1,100 litres of water. The team purchased some PVC attachments and fittings to craft a nozzle for a hose that had been discarded by the utility company. They connected that to homemade tin gutters attached to a storage container roof.

“We wanted gravity to do the work, so we placed a board that pitched down so the water would drain from the gutters directly into the tank – it became our new rain catcher,” says John. “From there, we could easily attach our hose to our pressure washer, which was donated to us by Craig Black, who was a Loader/Operator at CN until he passed away a few years ago – so we call this Craig’s Wash.”

Now, every Friday when the team maintains its fleet, it uses rainwater from the tank to wash whatever needs cleaning. John is proud of his EcoChampion team, which includes Regional Manager Jacelyn Pickup, Operator Jacque Nelson, Operator/Labourer Jersey Buenaflor, Labourer Arles Bruza, and Operator/Yard Lead Hand Eric Pagaling.

John says the project has improved employee morale, especially for employees who used to work with Craig and are now using his pressure washer.

“Jacque, Eric and I were close to Craig. When I first met him, my first thought was that this older fellow can out-work any 20-year-old; he was tough as nails. So, we were always trying to match his energy. We all had a hand in this rain catcher, and I think he’d be proud seeing what we’ve done with his pressure washer.”

CN’s EcoConnexions Employee Engagement program – in partnership with Earth Rangers – drives sustainability across CN's network by empowering employees and their families to conserve energy, reduce waste, and improve housekeeping.

Visit our Delivering Responsibly section to learn more about sustainability at CN.