Two projects approved Monday evening by the Falls Township Board of Supervisors are expected to bring as many as 200 new permanent jobs and 200 related to construction.
The first project saw the supervisors approving preliminary and final land development for construction of a 254,699-square-foot warehouse on 14.6 acres for Alro Steel Corporation on Progress Drive at Steel Road South in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex.
The company plans to build the warehouse for firm’s metals, industrial supplies, and plastics. About 11,000 square feet of the facility would be used for office space, company officials said.
Alro Steel Corporation plans to hire mostly warehouse workers but would also have open some jobs for administrative functions and sales, the company official said.
The company would start with 35 to 50 workers and expand to 75 to 100 over time, officials said.
To begin the project, Alro Steel Corporation received approval to consolidate two vacant properties into one.
Alro Steel Corporation has been in operation since 1948 and has dozens of locations spread across 12 states.
The second project would see Empire Fiber LLC construct a roughly 300,000-square-foot building on Middle Drive in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex.
Under the plan that received preliminary and final land development from the supervisors, Empire Fiber would construct their facility over a 17 to 18 month period and then run the plant around the clock to recover recycled fiber pulp for use in products.
Jim Austin, Empire Fiber’s CEO and president, said the market has changed and a void in the Mid-Atlantic area was found where there were limited facilities that recycle old corrugated containers and mixed paper products to turn them into pulp used for making new products.
The company expects to process 500,000 tons of material a year from Waste Management, Republic Services, and other trash and recycling haulers.
Empire Fiber plans to ship 60 containers of pulp out of the 33-acre site that is not far from the international port every day by barge or haul it by truck to the Port of Newark and transport on container ships for export, Austin said.
The township, citing Austin, put out the following explanation of how the plant would operate:
In terms of production, Austin said dry fiber comes into the plant in bails, is put on a conveyor, then moved into a hydro pulper with hot water at 110 degrees Fahrenheit to break up the cellulose fiber. The material is then put through the processing line to remove contaminants such as tape, Styrofoam, and plastic.
About 4 to 5 percent is sorted out of line and goes into the dumpster. Roughly 10 to 15 percent has been through the recycling process three to five times and is no longer strong enough to manufacture paper and is put into the side collection system to be used for daily landfill cover. Empire has an agreement with Waste Management to truck its unusable material for landfill cover.
From there, the water removed in the manufacturing process would be taken to 20 parts per billion purity. Effluent water would be treated and discharged either to the Morrisville Municipal Authority or U.S. Steel’s wastewater treatment facility.
Austin said the facility would be operational 24 hours per day and have as many as 100 to 110 “good, hard-working” employees.
The plant would be virtually odorless and quiet, Austin said.
In speaking with the supervisors, Austin said the Falls Township site has close access to the port and land transportation, a plus for the company.
“The beauty of the site is that we do not have to pass the residences coming and going to this property,” Austin said. He further noted that not impacting the local community is “the only way to run a business.”