Total Wrecking WESTROCK, VA
Total Wrecking WESTROCK, VA


• Project Scope: Dismantling a 21,000 square foot Rail Dock and a 126,000 square foot 100-year-old two-story brick and concrete building.
• Historic Structures: Handling 100-year-old yellow pine wood beams and columns in the first and basement levels.
• Safety Considerations: Implementation of continuous safety reminders and protocols.
• Environmental Impact: Management of asbestos and PCB removal, and minimizing dust and non-friable asbestos roofing debris.
• Asset Recovery: Focus on recovering historic wooden beams and columns.


Total Wrecking & Environmental’s undertaking of the WestRock Old Bag Mill demolition project in Hodge, LA, involved the meticulous dismantling of a century-old two-story brick and concrete building, accompanied by a 21,000 square foot covered Rail Dock.

The challenge was twofold: first, to ensure the careful separation of these structures from four adjacent active buildings, and second, to preserve the building’s foundation for future development.

The site featured historic 100-year-old yellow pine wood beams and columns, most prominently in the first and multilevel basements, adding a huge element of complexity to an already sensitive project on an active site.

Total Wrecking & Environmental, as with all of their industrial demolition projects, needed to navigate this project with precision, balancing environmental hazards, asset recovery, surgical dismantling, and more.


The removal of beams presented a significant challenge as well. These beams, integral to the building’s structure, were not only historically significant but also needed to be carefully handled and preserved for recycling and sale.

Being a century old, many of the beams had deteriorated over time and required sensitive handling to preserve their integrity for recovery and reuse. The team couldn’t use standard demolition tools like grapples or shears, as these would crush or damage the delicate wood. Instead, Total Wrecking & Environmental invested in specialty rotating grapples that allowed for the gentle handling and precise placement of these beams.

Not every beam was salvageable due to rot or damage, and the team had to meticulously sort through them to identify which could be preserved. This process was time-consuming and required significant space and manpower, adding to the complexity of the project.


Total Wrecking & Environmental performed a thorough assessment of the site to identify areas containing asbestos. Given the age of the building, certain parts, especially in the insulation materials and old construction elements, were likely to contain asbestos.

After identifying the asbestos-containing materials, Total Wrecking developed a comprehensive removal plan that adhered to strict environmental regulations and safety standards. Containment and air filtration systems were also established to ensure that asbestos fibers did not spread to adjacent areas. Continuous monitoring was conducted to ensure that the asbestos fibers were contained and that there was no risk to the workers or the environment.

Once removed, another thorough inspection and clearance process was conducted to confirm that all asbestos had been safely removed and that the area was safe for subsequent demolition.


Total Wrecking & Environmental faced considerable hurdles in building a capable local workforce for the project. Given the specialized nature of the demolition work, particularly with handling historic materials and operating specialized equipment, finding skilled labor in the local area was a challenge.

This led to a cycle of hiring and training new employees, only to lose them due to the demanding nature of the work or a mismatch in skills. The need for constant recruitment and training of new personnel added to the project timeline and complexity.


Another major challenge was the scarcity of local trucking resources. The project’s remote location in Hodge, LA, meant there was only one local trucking company available. This limited availability often resulted in delays, as the company could not always meet the project’s demands, especially for specialized tasks such as hauling asbestos or steel for recycling.


Total Wrecking & Environmental employed several unique approaches and techniques throughout the project, demonstrating their capability in managing the most demanding demolition projects.

Total Wrecking & Environmental utilized specially designed rotating grapples to preserve the historical value and fragile nature of the century-old yellow pine beams. To manage the limited space and heavy materials efficiently, the team implemented a meticulous material sorting process crucial for organizing the demolition materials for either recovery, recycling, or disposal.

As with every demolition project, the Total Wrecking & Environmental team adhered to strict safety measures and environmental compliance, particularly when it came to careful asbestos removal and dust control measures to minimize environmental impact.

The project required close collaboration with West Rock and other stakeholders. Total Wrecking & Environmental maintained open communication lines, ensuring that all parties were updated on project progress and any emerging challenges. This collaborative approach facilitated a smooth workflow and helped in promptly addressing any issues.

Every Westrock employee, whether relevant to this project or not, expressed their satisfaction and gratitude for the professionalism and expertise conveyed during every challenging phase.

“It is without reservation that I recommend Total Wrecking and Environmental for any future projects requiring their specialized services. I am confident that their expertise and professionalism will continue to bring success to any project they are involved in, and I look forward to having them back for our future projects.”

Eric Taylor
General Manager – Westrock Hodge, LA