Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 9, 2013

‘Million-dollar’ medical waste plant to open in Boyd

ASHLAND — Medical professionals have relied upon the autoclave to sterilize instruments and kill germs for many decades. The same technology will continue to serve the needs of the post-patient waste stream inside a new million-dollar facility within Boyd County’s Paul Coffey Industrial Park.

“There is zero pollution that comes from this facility. You could drive by and never know it is there,” said Accu Medical Waste Services president Jim Parks this week as he made calls inviting the public and elected officials to visit the new Medical Waste Disposal Services Inc. site near Coalton.

The business, at 12221 Kevin Drive across from Hudson Tire, will be open for tours and serving food and refreshments from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Parks said, explaining the cutting-edge facility’s system is relatively easy to understand.

“It’s actually an autoclave and it can handle 50 tons a day,” he said, explaining medical waste arrives in purpose-designed lined, cardboard containers and is then loaded into lined metal carts wheeled into the massive chamber, which is locked on both ends and super saturated with steam.

“It comes out the other side absolutely sterile,” Parks said.

Victor Ward, who recently moved to the area from Florida just to run the Boyd County plant, said the process isn’t especially labor intensive and the entire system can be used to process at capacity with a team of two. A standard industrial boiler provides all of the steam needed to heat the inner contents of the medical waste packages to 280-degrees, he said, explaining the facility’s flow of material from loading doors into the autoclave before being compacted into truckload-sized loads and hauled to a nearby landfill.

“Once it comes out of here it’s considered just regular waste. It’s completely sterile,” he said.

While the initial loads will be processed by Ward and one laborer, he said the company expects strong demand for its local services and agreed with Parks’ projections the Ashland facility could ultimately employ 20 to 30 more and maintain 24-hour operations.  

Parks praised the efforts of local residents including Bob Craycraft, Lynn Prichard, Jennifer Galloway and others for guiding their business to Boyd County, and making arrangements for them throughout their transition into the new property. Electrical and plumbing contractors for the project were also local, he said, as well as their general contractor, who he said seemed to be a good guy “even though he is a Hatfield.” Prichard and Craycraft were especially instrumental in the deal, Parks said.

“Bob, especially, was the biggest cheerleader. Bob was behind us all the way,” he said, later adding, “This Lynn Prichard, he’s an outstanding gentleman.”

Parent company Accu Medical Waste Services sought no tax or financial incentives for the new facility, “which is opening totally debt free,” Parks said, noting the million-dollar price tag for the facility. “We paid for the whole thing.” The Boyd County site, with easy access to I-64, serves their purposes well due to anticipated waste streams coming south from Columbus and east from Lexington, he said.

Parks said the local company will have a local office and hire local workers. Accu Medical Waste Services is a family company founded in 1986, Parks said, with an excellent record for environmental and industrial compliance.

“We have never had a violation, not one. We feel very proud of that,” he said, citing recognitions and honors from numerous medical organizations. “We have done everything by the book.”

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