Re-refinery project ‘on track’
Plans to build a $40 million oil re-refinery in north Athens are moving forward, according to officials familiar with the project.
Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, said representatives with Alabama Green Lubricants LLC are now working to secure funding for the project. He said an official announcement about the facility could come as early as next month.
The refinery will be located on 23 acres near the intersection of Airport Road and Alabama 127.
“They had to get the site nailed down before they could get financing,” Hill said, adding AGL first worked to secure permits with the city’s zoning and planning departments. “The project is basically on track.”
City Planner Mac Martin said on Friday it was his understanding AGL is still working with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to finalize permits. The company will also have to submit an official site plan.
“If they have a site plan and it’s reviewed and approved, (Planning Commission approval) remains valid for one year,” he said. “They just haven’t made it to that stage yet.”
The oil re-refinery will process used motor oil only. The used oil will then be distilled, a process that also creates byproducts.
For every 100 gallons of used oil, 5 percent, or 5 gallons, will be discarded as a wastewater product. Ten to 15 percent will produce a liquid that is comparable to gasoline, which will be incinerated or sold as fuel to other companies.
Seventy percent is turned into base oil, which is then sold to other companies for use in new motor oil or other lubricants. The remaining product is a heavy particulate matter that will be sold as asphalt.
In April, the Planning Commission gave conditional-use approval to the project, thereby forcing AGL to adhere to specific guidelines. Because the re-refinery would be built within 500 feet of the nearest residence, many of the conditions were created to lessen the impact on citizens and infrastructure.
One condition makes AGL responsible for improvements to Airport Road that would meet industrial and Alabama Department of Transportation standards. Trucks carrying oil in and out of the facility will also not be permitted to travel through the heart of the city and must instead take Exit 354 from Interstate 65 to access the site.
Other conditions include the installation of a landscape buffer with a berm that would be 6 feet tall and run the length of the northern property line. The width and length of the buffer can be adjusted to accommodate an adjacent railroad spur.
AGL will also be responsible for the conservation of vegetation along the western and southern boundaries and provide perimeter landscaping. One medium-to-large tree should be present every 50 feet. A chain-link fence measuring 8 feet tall must also be installed around the site.
Lighting from the re-refinery must not exceed one foot-candle in intensity on adjoining properties. Also, the city asked that a structure be built at the oil off-loading site that would regulate smell suppression.
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