Towns and villages in the province looking to find solutions to street sealing and dust suppression have worked with various products over the years. Finding a cost effective and environmentally sustainable process presents a challenge. Now some communities, including the village of Muenster, have turned to an unlikely source of materials. 

The village is currently applying recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) to its roads. The shingles are ground up to a fine consistency, mixed with an aggregate, trucked onto the road and bladed in to cover the surface. As traffic compacts the product, it bonds to form a loose surface similar to asphalt. 

It’s an idea that came to the attention of Muenster Village Councillor Karl Senko as he visited another small community with the application. 

“When we looked into it, it seemed to be a pretty economical option compared to some other dust control methods,” Senko said. “Some of our local residents even say sound control on the roads.”

The village is provided the product by Len’s Hauling of Saskatoon. The company will pick up stored discarded shingles from work sites, or contractors can bring them into their city site. The shingles are mechanically ground up to the consistency of fine gravel or powder. Senko says that there are other advantages to the method.

“You end up with a material that you can work back and forth, or you can peel it back off and put it back on. So far it's been a month we’ve had it on, and we’re pretty happy with it.”

The RAS can be reworked with a grader, so it eliminates the need for additional costly and specialized equipment to maintain the road. When potholes become an issue in the spring, the surface can be reworked and compacted, and additional RAS material can be added through three months of the year as needed.

Muenster has worked with oil based and plant based dust suppression products in the past, but Senko says the RAS has advantages over those.

“You don’t get a residue with this like you do with an oil application. For something being very new, I think it’s going to be a pretty good option.”

In its promotional material, Len’s Hauling also points out other ecological and economic byproducts. The process keeps shingles out of landfills, finds a beneficial use for an otherwise discarded material, and saves roofers and home owners the increasing cost of tipping fees and disposal at landfills. Communities such as Aberdeen have embraced the process and the outcome, with their streets having an asphalt-like finish. 

Application work throughout the village is ongoing. The Range Road on Muenster’s west side provides access to the new residents in recently developed bays. It’s slated for application this week, so residents should be aware of work in that area.