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© Can Stock Photo / shirophoto

Thermaldyne began operations at the company’s first indirect thermal desorption facility in Port Allen on Monday, April 15. 

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the company all permits necessary for operations, according to company spokesman Paul Rainwater. LDEQ approved the recycler’s request for a feedstock variance on Jan. 10, 2019, which was met with opposition from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN). 

Misconceptions about the company spread following its request for the facility’s final required environmental permit, a Feedstock Variance, which allows the facility to accept material for recycling. 

LEAN filed suit against Thermaldyne and LDEQ earlier this year, claiming vague and misleading public notices. The lawsuit resulted in District Judge William Morvant requiring LDEQ to re-evaluate the water pollution permit issued to Thermaldyne. 

The facility is regulated heavily by LDEQ and the EPA, and exceeds requirements in several areas, Rainwater said. The facility does not discharge water into local waterways nor does it emit toxins into the air. Wastewater from the facility is hauled to a local disposal facility for proper handling. 

Thermaldyne is not a disposal site, nor is it an incinerator. Any material brought into the facility leaves it as well, Rainwater said. 

“[Thermaldyne] is not a fly-by-night company. It is experienced and is environmentally and fiscally responsible to the community, to the state and to the environment,” Thermaldyne President Richard Cates said during a public hearing on the variance request in September 2018. 

The environmental solutions company recycles crude oil using thermal desorption to separate contaminants in industrial products, such as tank bottoms, that would otherwise go to waste.

Industries rely on this technology to safely and efficiently remediate waste into clean, reusable material.

“...Thermaldyne was created based on one goal: recycle 100 percent of the oil that comes through the door,” Rainwater said. 

The company announced it would build on the West Side in 2015. Since then, Thermaldyne has invested more than $50 million in the Port Allen facility. Thermaldyne is headquartered in Louisiana with its first and only indirect thermal desorption site located at the Sun Plus Industrial Park in Port Allen. 

The Port Allen location currently employs 45 people from the Greater Baton Rouge area and is expected to generate approximately $7 billion in local sales and property tax revenues over 20 years, according to Cates.

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