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Ciba Specialty Chemicals officials joined with government, regulatory and community leaders to officially open the only wastewater treatment plant of its kind in the state of Arkansas. The advanced technology utilized in the new facility has been used with great success in industrial applications in Europe. Engineers from Ciba Specialty Chemicals’ global headquarters in Switzerland have worked closely with colleagues at the company’s West Memphis, Ark., site to bring this technology to the U.S., under the oversight of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Office of Wastewater Permitting.
The opening of the new plant is the latest in a series of investments totaling nearly $50 million that Ciba Specialty Chemicals has made in the site, which produces a broad range of chemicals used in municipal and industrial water treatment and industries ranging from adhesives and sealants to oilfield drilling applications and household cleaning products.
Mike McFarlane, plant manager at Ciba’s West Memphis site, remarked, “Construction of the new wastewater plant demonstrates Ciba’s commitment to environmental protection and our efforts as a good corporate citizen in West Memphis.”
Colin Mackay, NAFTA region president for Ciba, was on site for the formal ribbon cutting ceremony and commented, “At Ciba, we place the highest priority on operating a safe and environmentally sound facility here in West Memphis and at our sites around the world. West Memphis is an important part of Ciba’s global production network. This new wastewater plant in West Memphis brings advanced technology and greater flexibility and efficiency to our operations and will significantly improve environmental performance at the site.”
The wastewater plant is designed to treat over 200,000 gal of water per day and uses a new technology utilizing a combination of bacteria and a high performance filtration system instead of the conventional method of settling ponds and gravity clarification used by many industrial wastewater plants. This unique ultra-filtration system was designed by an environmental engineering firm in Germany and was constructed on-site by local contractors. The company chose this new technology platform after studies conducted in West Memphis and in Switzerland generated positive results.
The ultra-filtration technology in this new system makes it possible to filter solids at the micron level and results in a much cleaner water discharge to the environment. In addition, the wastewater treatment plant will help to improve the site’s overall environmental performance, reducing water treatment related air emissions by more than 95% and significantly minimizing odors at the plant. Through its reduction in air emissions, Ciba will help the West Memphis- Crittenden County area achieve reductions in ozone levels mandated by new EPA standards that take effect in 2007.
Ciba Specialty Chemicals invested $6.1 Million in this new wastewater treatment plant, which is part of the company’s continued strategic plan to improve and optimize operations at the West Memphis site and has the flexibility to accommodate the site’s future production needs. Construction and start-up of the new facility were completed in September 2005. It has been operational since early October.