- Who are the Ross companies?
Ross Consolidated Corp. is the parent company for three operating companies: Ross Environmental Services, Inc., Ross Incineration Services, Inc. and Ross Transportation Services, Inc. The companies have been located in Lorain County, Ohio for 60 years. Combined, the companies have about 200 associates. Ross Incineration and Ross Transportation are based in Eaton Township while Ross Environmental is located in its Business Center in Elyria.
Ross Incineration specializes in the destruction, by incineration, of industrial waste materials. Ross Transportation provides transportation services to industry. Ross Environmental provides sales, marketing, community relations, human resources, technical services, purchasing, information services and regulatory assistance to the other Ross companies, to the community and to customers.
- What types of waste do you handle? Are they dangerous?
Ross Incineration incinerates many different types of industrial wastes. The majority are paints, petroleum products and used or off-spec household chemicals like cleaners, hair mousse, automotive chemicals and even suntan lotion. Only wastes deemed appropriate for incineration by the Environmental Protection Agency are treated by Ross Incineration.
Ross Incineration recognizes that some of the materials received for storage and incineration can be hazardous to human health and the environment. Associates are thoroughly trained in the safe handling of waste. Procedures are established to ensure the safe handling of materials from their receipt through incineration. The incinerator is designed with the latest and best safety features. The company is continuously upgrading the system to incorporate the best technology currently available.
- What materials are not accepted at Ross Incineration?
The facility operating permits issued by the United States and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies (U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA) specifically list those materials that can be accepted for incineration. Ross Incineration does not accept nuclear waste, wastes with high concentrations of PCBs, or dioxins. Only materials which can be effectively treated by incineration are accepted.
- Is incineration really a good way to dispose of waste?
Incineration is one of the best methods for waste disposal. In fact, in regulations established by the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA, treatment by incineration is required for many different types of waste that cannot be recycled or reused.
- How does incineration work?
Waste materials and air are fed into the incinerator where they are burned at a very high temperature. The typical operating temperature of the incinerator is around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The intense heat causes the organic compounds in the waste to chemically break down into simple compounds, in effect, destroying the hazardous characteristics of the wastes. When waste materials are incinerated, approximately 90% to 95% of the waste volume is destroyed. This means that only 5% to 10% of the waste (ash) goes to a landfill. In light of the crisis in landfill space we are currently facing, this is a substantial benefit.
- What do you do with the ash?
Ash from the incinerator is classified as a hazardous waste by the EPA because it contains heavy metals like cadmium and lead. The ash is chemically solidified to bind the metals into a concrete-like substance and is then disposed of at a hazardous waste landfill.
- What comes out of your stack?
In some ways, the incinerator is like your home fireplace. When you burn something, the fire creates ash and smoke. The incinerator does the same thing, producing ash and combustion gases. These combustion gases are treated in a state-of-the-art air pollution control system where they are neutralized, cooled and scrubbed to remove particulate and acid gases. Emissions from the stack must meet very stringent EPA standards established for companies that treat waste by incineration. These standards, called the Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards, are the most stringent emission standards in the country. During 2002, Ross Incineration completely replaced its air pollution control system to ensure that the company is using the latest technology and remains in compliance with the stringent EPA emissions standards.
As a result of this extensive air pollution control system, what you see coming out of the stack is primarily steam. It contains water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and minute amounts of particulate.
- Do you monitor air emissions?
Ross Incineration uses a continuous emission monitoring system to track and record air emissions from the stack. The Ohio EPA has access to this information. Ross Incineration performs audits of its air emission monitoring equipment to ensure that the instruments are working properly. In addition, a computer control system monitors the incineration system to be certain that it is properly operating. This system provides for the automatic shutdown of the incinerator in the event any of the key operating conditions are out of specification. The company also performs air emission performance tests on a regularly scheduled basis to verify compliance with EPA standards. Ross Incineration has an outstanding operating record and a state-of-the-art system. The company cares about the environment and is continuously upgrading the system so that it can be made even more efficient and effective in preventing pollution.
- Do your operations have an impact on groundwater?
Ross Incineration does not pollute the water. Great care is taken to make sure that no hazardous chemicals can reach the groundwater. First, wastes are stored in closed tanks and containers in specially designed storage areas. There are containment and collection devices in the storage, handling and incineration areas. These are inspected daily and associates are trained to prevent problems. Also, the groundwater is sampled and tested to verify that the facility is not polluting the groundwater in the area. RIS has a system of 67 groundwater monitoring wells, 20 of which are sampled twice a year. These wells were selected for sampling as part of an EPA-approved monitoring program. To date, there has been no indication of groundwater contamination at the facility. In addition, RIS is a zero discharge facility, meaning that there are no discharges of process water or stormwater from the facility. The company has a water management system that collects rainwater on-site and reuses it.
- What if there was a spill or an accident? What would you do?
Although our associates are trained in the safe handling of waste and the facility has been designed with all of the latest safety features, Ross Incineration must be prepared to respond to an accident. Ross Incineration associates receive extensive training in emergency response procedures and the company maintains emergency response equipment at the facility at all times. Mock drills are conducted to practice emergency response procedures. In addition, members of the Eaton Township Fire Department and Lorain County Emergency Management Agency take tours of the facility in order to maintain a working knowledge of the area. Several associates of the Ross companies are members of the fire department staff. The Eaton Township Fire Department is also the local response center for the Lorain County Haz Mat Team.
- What does Ross Transportation do to prevent accidents?
If you have seen Ross Transportation trucks on the road, you have noticed that they are clean, well-equipped and well maintained. The appearance of this fleet reflects the quality of the entire program at Ross Transportation Services. Only the best, most experienced drivers are hired. They receive extensive training in spill prevention and control, fire prevention and emergency response procedures. Each truck is outfitted with spill containment, fire fighting and emergency communication equipment. Mechanics maintain the trucks in top operating condition at all times. All of these precautions are working. As a result, Ross Transportation drivers have travelledmillions of safe-driving miles.
- What government agencies monitor your operations?
Ross Incineration is regulated by multiple federal and state authorities with overlapping environmental, health and safety responsibilities. These include the United States and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA), the United States Department of Transportation and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These agencies have the right to enter and inspect the facility at any time. Ohio EPA has primary oversight of the facility's hazardous waste activities. Typically, routine inspections are handled by the Ohio EPA's Division of Hazardous Waste Management, which has assigned one full-time inspector to the site. The Ohio EPA has an office on the company's premises and an inspector visits the facility two to three days per week. In addition, Ross Incineration has put electronic systems in place to enable the inspectors to monitor facility operating parameters 24 hours a day. They can use these computerized systems from their office at the Ross Incineration facility or from the Ohio EPA offices in Twinsburg.
- How do you know what wastes you are receiving?
Before any waste can be sent to Ross Incineration, customers must complete a Waste Product Survey (WPS) form which describes the chemical composition of their waste. Upon arrival at Ross Incineration, the waste is visually inspected. Then, the on-site laboratory tests the material to be certain that it is consistent with the WPS form. Processing and handling instructions are written for each load of wastes before they are received. This ensures that the waste is handled safely every step of the way from transportation through storage and incineration.
- How do you keep track of the waste at the plant?
A computerized tracking system is used to monitor all wastes received at the facility. As part of this tracking system, all drums received at the plant are bar coded. This is similar to the bar coding used at grocery stores to keep track of their inventory. Computerized controls monitor the levels of all storage tanks on a continual basis.
- What if the computerized system fails?
There are several back-up systems built into the computer that would automatically operate if the computer system would fail. In addition, we keep track of the waste manually as a back-up procedure.
- Why is Ross Incineration located in Eaton Township?
The Ross companies were founded by Robert and Ada May Ross more than 60 years ago at the same site on Giles Road. This property had been in their family for many years. Today, the companies are owned and operated by Maureen (Ross) Cromling and her husband Bill. They grew up in this community and have a strong commitment to Eaton Township and Lorain County. They have made a significant financial investment to continually improve the facility and will continue to invest not only in new technology but also in their associates and the community as well.
- Who are your customers?
Our customers are nationally and locally known producers of consumer and industrial products. Many are located within a 500 mile radius of the Ross Incineration facility. Our customers produce: plastics, paints, automotive, pharmaceuticals, adhesives & sealants, photographic, petroleum, lawn & garden care and cosmetics. Many of them are household names. In addition, we work with environmental remediation companies that clean up government and industrial sites; waste brokering firms; recycling companies; hospitals and universities.
- I heard you made changes at your facility. Did you expand?
At the Ross companies, we are committed to using the best available technology in all of our operations. We are committed to protecting our associates, our community and our environment. So we continuously make upgrades to the Ross Incineration facility, to Ross Transportation vehicles and to our business centers.
During 2002, the company reinvested $11 million in new technology at the Ross Incineration facility when we replaced the air pollution control system and the main combustion chamber. This did not affect the amount of waste that Ross Incineration is permitted to accept at its facility. Improving the incineration system enables the company to keep pace with changes in the hazardous waste marketplace and to continue to comply with stringent EPA standards.
During 2003, we opened the Ross Environmental Services Business Center at the Great Lakes Technology Park on the campus of Lorain County Community College in Elyria, OH. This new facility incorporated the newest technology into our office operations so that we can continue to meet the needs of our customers.
- Have the Ross companies increased security since the 9-11-2001 terrorist attacks?
Safety and security have always been important issues for the Ross companies and, like many companies, the 9-11-2001 tragedy caused us to re-evaluate our security measures and to implement new measures.
Ross Transportation drivers have received highway watch training from the State Highway Patrol and now report suspicious activities on the roadways. All trailers are padlocked and tanker loads sealed while on the road and during layovers.
Ross Incineration has registered with the FBI for alerts on all terrorist threats. All deliveries to the facility must be scheduled in advance and all visitors must show identification to gain facility access. The company has sent out special communications to its customers regarding security. The facility is surrounded by a six foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire to discourage unauthorized site entry. Entry gates are electronically monitored 24-hours a day, 365 days a year by security guards.
At the offices, doors are locked and visitors are identified through an intercom before being allowed entry into the building. Finally, the Ross companies provide training, drills and guidance for associates, contractors, service providers, suppliers and others to enhance security awareness and response capabilities.
- Can community members tour your facilities?
Yes, members of the community are welcome to take tours of the plant and offices. Presentations are also given to community groups and organizations about the Ross companies. Tours and presentations can be scheduled through the Ross Environmental Community Relations Department. Click here for more details.