Industry raises concerns

Published 6:22 am Wednesday, July 25, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Atmore mayor Howard Shell expressed his concerns during the Monday afternoon city council meeting regarding a new manufacture locating near Atmore.
The new industry will manufacture Aluminum Sulfate, a product used for coagulation in drinking water and wastewater treatment. Local municipalities that collect drinking water from rivers and lakes use the product to precipitate out the dirt and silt.
Shell's concerns were based around the location of the new facility, which will be on Woods Road.
"My big concern is the location of the facility in a residential area and the people that live in the area and in very close proximity to it," Shell said. "It's outside of our controls, outside of the city limits. The county does not have zoning that prohibits this, so at this point there is not much the city can do about this, but I felt like the people that live in this area needed to be aware of it."
According to an email received by Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority director Wiley Blankenship from Mike Chandler, vice president of the company locating in Atmore, the process of making Aluminum Sulfate is done by reacting Bauxite (a mined ore) with Sulfuric Acid and water. Sulfuric Acid is mixed with water to generate heat. Bauxite is then added so that the Sulfuric Acid can extract Alumina. The Sulfuric Acid and Extracted Alumina form Aluminum Sulfate while the excess water remains to result in a finished product that is diluted at 50 percent.
In the email, Chandler went onto explain that this process is "closed system in the sense that there will be no discharge from the facility. He added, "the reaction takes place in an open-top reactor and therefore, there is nothing in the system that is under pressure."
The Bauxite will be shipped into the Port of Mobile via ship, which will then be transported to and stored at the facility in Atmore. Sulfuric Acid will arrive at the plant in trucks on an "as-needed" basis.
A building roughly 10,000 square feet will house the storage facility for the Bauxite. The company's initial investment will be approximately $500,000 and will generate three jobs. Within a year to a year and a half, once the industry has built a client base, the company plans to invest an additional $1.5 million into the project that will likely produce eight more jobs. According to the email, the company pays an average of $35,000 a year with benefits.
In other business, the council:
The council also agreed to pay an invoice in the amount of $49,945.94 on behalf of the Utilities Board as part of the grant.

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