Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders visited Veolia North America’s (VNA) hazardous waste treatment facility in Gum Springs on Tuesday, April 25. She expressed her strong support for the new state-of-the-art thermal treatment facility that VNA is building on the location, which will bring numerous environmental and economic benefits to the state.
“I’m proud to have a company with the reputation of Veolia that operates all over the world choosing to make a large investment in Arkansas,” Gov. Sanders said at a welcome ceremony that took place beneath a tent outside the main entrance to the plant.
After being greeted by VNA’s Bob Cappadona, President and CEO of the environmental solutions business, the Governor said the company’s investment of more than $300 million will bring economic opportunity to the local community and the state, and will also promote environmental sustainability by using the most advanced technologies for managing waste as cleanly as responsibly as possible.
Gov. Sanders then toured the Gum Springs site with Bob and other Veolia leaders, visiting the construction site for the new facility as well as the adjacent, fully enclosed landfill, one of the most environmentally responsible in the country.
“Governor Sanders, we are thrilled and delighted to have you joining us today to tour the operation and get a first-hand look at the work we are doing to promote economic growth and environmental sustainability in the State of Arkansas,” Bob said.
The tour took place one week after Bob and Jon Freedman, VNA’s Chief Government Affairs Officer, and Britt Scheer, VNA Gum Springs Director of Facilities Affairs, met with Gov. Sanders at her office in the state capitol in Little Rock. The meeting went so well that the Governor expressed interest in seeing the Gum Springs project up close.
Here are some highlights of the new facility:
- By the time it is completed in 2024, Veolia will have invested approximately $300 million in modernizing a facility that will result in the lowest emissions among any plants of its kind, capturing more than 99.999 percent of pollutants through thermal destruction.
- The new facility will also be an engine for economic growth in Gum Springs/Arkadelphia region, as well as the state of Arkansas. By the time it is completed, VNA will employ more than 200 people from the area community, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion.
- Gum Springs will be the first plant in North America to use its own waste heat to generate power to run operations on-site, greatly reducing emissions. In addition, VNA plans to install a field of solar panels on the site to make the entire project carbon-neutral.
- The new, state-of-the-art facility will convert the most environmentally harmful materials into byproducts that can be safely handled. For example, materials that contain chlorine can generate acidic gases during the disposal process that are extremely harmful to the environment. The technology at this facility will convert those harmful gasses into water and salts that can be easily reused or safely discarded.
Photos from the event: