Rumpke optimistic about plans

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2005

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP - Officials with Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc., only await state approval to build a $3 million solid waste transfer and recycling station in Hamilton Township.

The Cincinnati-based company hopes to build its new facility on 12 acres of land adjacent to Duke Energy, along County Road 1A, moving its operations from Ashland, Ky., but has to wait for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to sign off. Officials have said company has outgrown its facility in Ashland, because AK Steel and other surrounding businesses hedge it in, leaving no room to expand.

"We are still in the EPA permitting process," said Jonathan Kissell, corporate communications employee. "The proposed plan is to begin construction in the fall of 2005 and begin operation in summer 2006. That is, if permitting goes as planned."

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Officials estimate the facility would process 25-30 tons of recyclables daily and 750 to 1,000 tons of solid waste each month.

Despite being unable to control the EPA timeline and the fact that some residents have spoken out against the facility coming to the community, Kissell said company officials remain optimistic that the plan will move forward on time.

Following a meeting in April, the EPA prepared a list of questions that Rumpke then answered, Kissell said. Once the responses are reviewed, the EPA will host a public meeting of its own, he said. Meanwhile, Rumpke is preparing bid specifics that will be provided to contractors when the project gets the green light.

"We are very committed to working with Lawrence County, the local businesses and the residents," Kissell said, adding that the company always tries to be a good neighbor and support community organizations. "We want this situation to be one that benefits the entire county."

Ideally, Rumpke would create 30 new jobs during the next three years. Also, 10 jobs would be moved from Ashland bringing the company's local annual payroll to $1.5 million. The jobs would pay wages from $8.50 an hour up to $20 an hour and include benefits.

Currently owned by Dow Chemical, the Lawrence County Port Authority has an option on the land and would lease a portion of the property to Rumpke.

"The services Rumpke provides are something badly needed in this area," said Carl Darling, a member of the county port authority and also plant manager at Dow. "The EPA is strongly in support of having a facility such as this. And of course, it does supply some employment to the area."

Darling said he has had a limited role in the plans and will not vote on measures because his ties to Dow.

The county's port authority would utilize the remaining 30 acres for other tenants to promote economic development.

Rumpke's preliminary plans for its Lawrence County Business Center call for a 14,400-square-foot building with enclosed bays where solid waste would be brought in by smaller trucks and loaded onto larger trucks that would haul the garbage to nearby landfills.

The facility would also have an enclosed area where recyclable materials such as plastic jugs and bottles, aluminum cans and newspapers would be collected and shipped to companies that utilize the goods to create new products.

A 6,4000-square-foot facility would house administrative offices and mechanics' quarters.

Rumpke announced Monday it had purchased Waste Management service areas in Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence,

Scioto and Vinton counties.

Acquisition includes approximately 800 residential customers and 200 commercial customers.

Kissell said this was unrelated to the ongoing plans.