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Taking the lead: Art Kroot of The Kroot Corp. prefers to be proactive when it comes to environmental compliance.

In June of 2005, USA Today named Columbus, Ind., one of "10 Great Places to Discover Midwest Charm." The city is nationally recognized by the American Institute for Architects for its architectural innovation and contemporary structures. In addition, according to the Columbus Area Visitors Center, the National Recreation and Park Association has ranked the city's park system No. 1 among cities of Columbus's size.

Art Kroot is a third generation owner and operator of The Kroot Corp., a scrap yard and secondary aluminum smelter located in Columbus that recycles aluminum, steel, paper and iron scrap. Art is also a lifelong resident of Columbus and is proud of the city's accomplishments. As a result, Art and The Kroot Corp. are dedicated to exceeding environmental compliance at the city, state and federal levels.


"My grandfather started The Kroot Corp. in the late 1890s in southern Indiana. Shortly after the turn of the century, he moved the company to downtown Columbus," Art says. "In the mid-1960s, the scrap yard was moved to a 27-acre lot with appropriate buffer zones located on the outskirts of Columbus. I knew then that the nature of our business was less-than-ideal and wanted to do my best to reduce the impact of our operations for the city and the people who live here," he adds.

As a result of World War II, the company's operations became mechanized and, therefore, an outdoor operation. Today, The Kroot Corp. is comprised of four divisions--ferrous, nonferrous, new steel and paper-and receives discarded materials from a variety of customers and industries, particularly the automotive sector.

On any given day, more than 400 customers visit the yard to purchase or to sell as much as 1,000 tons of scrap material that comes from farms, appliances or automobiles. Depending on the needs of its customers, The Kroot Corp. will process the scrap in a variety of ways. Operations that take place on a regular basis are baling, shearing and melting.

In light of the nature of The Kroot Corp.'s operations, the facility is required by law to have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) plan, which should outline oil storage and handling procedures, as well as spill response procedures. Because the company frequently uses equipment that operates hydraulically or includes hydraulic lines, the possibility of a fluid line break or a leak is significant.


Eager to stay ahead of environmental compliance regulations and the company's competitors, Art Kroot contacted August Mack Environmental Inc. for assistance with The Kroot Corp.'s SPCC plan and other environmental needs. August Mack, headquartered in Indianapolis, specializes in the development, implementation and monitoring of EH&S (environmental health and safety) programs. In 2000, the company developed eCAP, an outsourcing program created to manage all aspects of a facility's EH&S program.

Kroot says, "I started to notice, especially within the last three or four years, that EH&S compliance is a lot more complex and is only going to continue in that direction. For that reason, I want to take a proactive approach to ensuring Kroot's compliance in every area possible." He continues, "Unfortunately, I don't have the time or resources to devote to internal monitoring, so I contacted August Mack. When the company introduced me to eCAP, I knew that August Mack could offer exactly what our company needed."

August Mack's initial review of Kroot's operations consisted of a comprehensive compliance audit and development of a list of issues to be addressed to guarantee compliance, along with suggested best management practices. Through the eCAP program, August Mack identified several areas for improvement and, with approval from The Kroot Corp., took the necessary steps to rectify the compliance-based issues.

The first order of business was Kroot's SPCC plan. August Mack worked with Kroot to prepare and implement an effective plan in the event of a spill or leak. The facility now has three separate areas with spill prevention kits, and all of Kroot's employees are fully trained and educated in the area of spill prevention control. Because an SPCC plan is very specific to a facility, it must be reviewed and updated regularly. August Mack visits Kroot monthly to observe changes at the facility, such as those pertaining to storage locations, proper procedures or new on-site products, and to ensure that the SPCC plan always reflects the most up-to-date conditions.

Recently, legislation required The Kroot Corp. to obtain an air permit for its aluminum smelting operations. Prior to contracting with August Mack, the company computerized its operations to efficiently manage data. The company quickly realized that the requirements for the air permit exceeded its expectations. Company employees did not possess the knowledge base necessary to achieve and maintain compliance with the numerous applicable regulations. August Mack now provides constant re-evaluation of Kroot's aluminum furnace by reviewing monitoring data, notifying company officials when a stack test is necessary and seeing that such tests are performed properly.

In the fall of 2005, Kroot underwent its first on-site, multi-media inspection administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and the results are a testament to the success of eCAP. Kroot did not receive a single penalty and was complimented for its file organization and the availability of relevant data.

"It's very unusual for a scrap yard to be in compliance at all levels," Art says. "Environmental compliance has always been important to me, which is why partnering with August Mack was a very wise choice. Because they offer professional expertise at a fixed cost, I can make necessary changes on a timeline that I can afford."


August Mack has also assisted The Kroot Corp. with its storm water management procedures. Through the eCAP program, August Mack developed and implemented a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), which consists of monthly site visits and suggested best management practices. As a result of the SWPPP, The Kroot Corp. has made considerable progress in the areas of material storage, drum management, labeling and identifying chemical containers and waste handling.

Even though Kroot is in compliance with current storm water regulations, Art is looking to the future. The Kroot Corp. is working with August Mack's engineering staff to design and construct a storm water management system for the facility. This system will involve the installation of subsurface conveyances, oil and water separators and pumping and lift stations. The company also plans to complete the concreting and paving of additional material storage areas.

"So much of the material that comes to our scrap yard is contaminated and, when it rains, ends up on the ground. You can run a sweep, but there is still a possibility that contaminants are missed, and this is what we want to control," Art says. "Although a storm water management system is expensive, controlling storm water runoff has always been a personal goal of mine. Without the help of August Mack, we wouldn't have been able to get this project off of the ground."

August Mack and The Kroot Corp.'s partnership has proven valuable. Kroot has been able to focus on its bottom line, while August Mack's team of regulatory experts, intimately familiar with Kroot's process, maintains and ensures routine environmental, health and safety compliance.

This feature article was submitted on behalf of August Mack Environmental Inc.
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Publication:Recycling Today
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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