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Hundreds of New Jobs Planned for Falls

With an eye on local job creation, the Falls Township Supervisors unanimously approved two land development plans projected to create several hundred new local jobs.

During Monday’s virtual meeting, the Supervisors voted unanimously to grant preliminary and final land development approval for construction of a 254,699-square-foot warehouse and a roughly 300,000-square-foot recycling facility.

Once complete, the warehouse is expected to employ a total of 75 to 100 workers. The recycling facility is expected to be built over a 17-month period and employ 150 to 200 workers during construction and approximately 100 to 110 permanent full-time employees once at full operation.

Supervisors Chairman Jeff Dence noted that the 200 permanent jobs and approximately 200 construction jobs were a “great” addition to the township.

In terms of the warehouse, Alro Steel Corporation plans to consolidate two vacant properties and undertake a three-phase project at Progress Drive and Steel Road South in the heavy industrial district.

Once complete, the 14.63-acre tract would house a 254,699-square-foot warehouse for the company’s metals, industrial supplies, and plastics. Of the total building, 10,744 square feet would be earmarked for office space, company representatives told the board.

Alro Steel has been in business since 1948 and operates more than 70 locations in 12 states.

The company plans to hire for primarily warehouse positions, according to a company representative. Other positions include administrative staff, a general manager, a superintendent for the warehouse, as well as an inside sales manager and an operations manager.

Initially 35 to 50 employees would be hired. Once the company is in full operation, the total number of employees would increase to be between 75 to 100 employees.

Empire Fiber, LLC intends to construct a recovered fiber market pulp manufacturing facility on U.S. Steel property situated at Middle Drive in the township’s materials processing and manufacturing district. The 33-acre parcel is located at the Keystone Industrial Port Complex.

Jim Austin, the company’s CEO and president told the Supervisors that the site was chosen in large part because of its easy access to land and water transport. Empire would either ship 60 containers of pulp out of the plant every day by barge at the KIPC site or would haul product by truck to the Port of Newark and transport on container ships.  

“The beauty of the site is that we do not have to pass the residences coming and going to this property,” Austin said, adding that not impacting the local community is “the only way to run a business.”

Once operational, the state-of-the-art facility will recycle old corrugated containers and mixed paper products into recycled paper. Plans call for processing of 500,000 tons of material from Waste Management, Republic Services, as well as other trash and recycling haulers.

The company anticipates total annual revenues of $135 to $150 million and $6.2 million per year for its payroll, according to Austin.

Unlike other paper processing facilities, Austin said his company’s recycling operation is virtually odorless.

“You could actually be sitting in the parking lot of this plant,” he said, adding that other than cars parked there and steam coming off of the vents you would not know the plant is running because you “won’t hear it running and won’t smell it.”

In terms of production, Austin said dry fiber comes into the plant in bails, is put on a conveyor, then moved into a hydro pulper with hot water at 110 degrees Fahrenheit to break up the cellulose fiber. The material is then put through the processing line to remove contaminants such as tape, Styrofoam, and plastic.

About 4 to 5 percent is sorted out of line and goes into the dumpster. Roughly 10 to 15 percent has been through the recycling process three to five times and is no longer strong enough to manufacture paper and is put into the side collection system to be used for daily landfill cover. Empire has an agreement with Waste Management to truck its unusable material for landfill cover.

From there, the water removed in the manufacturing process would be taken to 20 parts per billion purity. Effluent water would be treated and discharged either to the Morrisville Municipal Authority or U.S. Steel’s wastewater treatment facility.

The plant would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

“It’s essential that the systems run constantly,” Austin said.

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