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Clean Harbor Christens State-of-the-art, $120 Million Industrial Incinerator In El Dorado

Executives from Massachusetts-based Clean Harbors Inc. gathered with South Arkansas government and business officials on Tuesday (Dec. 6) to christen what company officials are calling the nation’s most technologically advance incinerator of its kind to be built this century.

Headquartered just outside of Boston in Norwell, Mass., publicly traded Clean Harbors unveiled its expanded $120 million incinerator at the company’s 370-acre site in El Dorado. Clean Harbor first announced the expansion project in September 2014, saying then that development would mark the first time new incineration capacity would be constructed in the U.S. in almost 30 years.

Company officials said the project employed some 120 workers during the two-year construction phase, and infused nearly $21 million into the South Arkansas economy.

“The expansion is the largest capital investment to a facility by Clean Harbors in the company’s 36-year history,” company officials said. “The El Dorado facility will be the first American incinerator to not only meet, but exceed, newer regulatory requirements.”

The El Dorado incineration facility, which is regulated by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, specializes in the destruction of hazardous and industrial waste generated by a variety of businesses, industries and numerous governmental entities at the local, state and federal levels.

The updated state-of-the-art facility will use world-class air emissions control technologies, officials said, and is engineered to safely and efficiently dispose of the most dangerous and toxic byproducts of manufacturing across a range of industries from cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to chemical, automotive and agriculture.

At the time the project was first announced, Clean Harbor officials said total costs would amount to about $100 million. Company officials said stringent standards under the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal Clean Air Act and the permitting complexities make construction of such incinerators extremely difficult for the builder.

In a recent 10Q quarterly filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Clean Harbor officials said the South Arkansas project will make up a major portion of its capital spending in 2016.

“We anticipate that 2016 capital spending will be approximately $200 million. This includes the construction of the new incinerator at our El Dorado, Arkansas facility, which will account for approximately $50 million of capital expenditures in 2016,” the company said. “However, changes in environmental regulations could require us to make significant capital expenditures for our facilities and adversely affect our results of operations and cash flow.”

Besides its environmental and landfill division, Clean Harbor also provides cleanup and maintenance services for the oil and gas industry and selected industrial customers, including specialized quick response cleanup for major events such as oil spills and natural disasters.

In September, Clean Harbors sold its Catalyst Services division to the privately held Zachary Group, a global industrial construction and engineering services giant based in San Antonio, for an undisclosed sum. That business, which had 500 employees and operations in the U.S., Canada and Trinidad, offered catalyst change-out services to the refining and petrochemicals sector.

In the third quarter, the East Coast environmental and industrial service giant reported total revenues of $729.5 million, down 18.4% from $893.4 million in the same period a year ago. The company said the decline in revenue was primarily related to lower levels of emergency response projects, continued weakness in energy related markets due to lower commodity prices, and an overall slowdown in industrial production.

Wesley Brown is the Business Editor for Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by email at wesbrocomm@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @BrownOnBusiness.
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