Groot Ind. Seeking More Than Just A Debris Site

but I will get to that in a bit…..

Tonight I attended the “open house” pertaining to Groot Industries proposed Construction & Demolition Debris application held at Park School in Round Lake. There was a steady stream of residents and concerned members of the public throughout the two hour presentation which consisted of representatives explaining the numerous diagrams on display. Representatives on hand were Groot, their facility designer, the health department, SWALCO, Round Lake Park’s attorney, and Representative Sandy Cole who pushed for this meeting. Cole pointed out that the topographical map that Shaw Engineering was using in their application request was done in 1993. She objected, saying it was outdated. When questioned by Cole, Shaw Engineering told her that their 1993 topographical map was the latest available and it was all that was required. Yet Cole was able to go on line to the Lake County GIS site and print out a topographical map of the facility site (with little effort) and print a current map (not one that is 19 years old). The more current map clearly included Bright Meadows, Madrona Village & developed areas around Hainesville Road that were NOT included in the 1993 Shaw engineering map. In fact, Cole stated that the GIS website even said that the info listed on the Lake County GIS Topographical map legend said “As of May 2012 this dataset has replaced the older 2002 Two Foot Contours” Kinda makes you wonder if Shaw was mistaken (at best) or deceptive in their application to the IEPA since 2002 maps were available — as where even newer ones from May 2012.

During the “open house” Representative Cole attempted to display the most recent map alongside the 1993 map being displayed but was abruptly told “take your map and go over there……..this is our stuff and we don’t want your map by our stuff”. Wasn’t the whole idea to let people know versus trying to hide things?

This is a more current map, readily available showing several new subdivisions within a one-mile radius (red circle). Shaw Engineering used one from 1993 in their application process which showed mostly vacant land surrounding the site.
This is a more current map, readily available showing several new subdivisions within a one-mile radius (red circle). Shaw Engineering used one from 1993 in their application process which showed mostly vacant land surrounding the site.


Proposed Groot Industries "Construction and Demolition Debris" facility at Rt. 120 and Porter Dr.
Proposed Groot Industries “Construction and Demolition Debris” facility at Rt. 120 and Porter Dr.

Although the law does not require a meeting for this type of application, Representative Cole felt that residents living near the proposed site SHOULD have been informed prior to acceptance of the application (which has not happened just yet). I had several questions of my own so the following is more of what was told to me.

First of all the site’s operation fell within the properties zoning so they could have opened up for business once their application was approved. In today’s Daily Herald it was reported that the facilities application was for processing up to 500 tons of ‘debris’ per day. I discussed that figure with a SWALCO rep who estimated that the average weight of a 30 cubic foot ‘roll-off’ container (like you see at construction sites) was probably around 6 tons when filled. If the facility was operating at full capacity that would mean over 80 trucks entering and exiting Porter Drive every working day of the week.  Keep this number in mind for reference when I get to the last paragraph. I asked who would foot the bill for deceleration and turning lanes at that intersection when capacity was running at close to maximum. A lot of finger-pointing went on with nobody really saying it would be Groot’s expense. In fact, Mayor Dietz of Round Lake, hoped that more traffic delays on Belvidere Road would actually help to speed up the Route 120 bypass. The attorney for RLP ‘thought’ any road widening would be at Groots expense, but he was NOT the attorney directly involved in the agreement. The regular village attorney was probably at the evenings village board meeting tonight.

Although Groot Industries has never operated this type of facility I was assured that similar types of operations that they operate made them well qualified for this one. Attempting to visit any similar facilities received a varying degree of knowledge as to where any were at, one person saying Palatine while another saying locations that were a half-days ride away.

Hours of operation were a major concern of those in attendance especially when it comes to the shredders operating and the noise they will create. Someone mentioned that they originally wanted to run 24 hours a day while others suggested they may be open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Starting that early may mean they would be operating before many of us are allowed to mow our lawns before 8:00 AM due to local noise ordinances.  I asked if anyone would have access to inspect the facility unannounced and was told that the health department had that authority and would be exercising it.

Nobody had a really good answer as to how it was determined that 75% of the waste coming in would be recyclable but that is what their application guarantees. Anybody who has peeked inside a construction site dumpster knows they are filled with old mattresses and any type of garbage people want to dump in them in the dark.

Layout of building interior for Construction & Demolition Debris sorting
Layout of building interior for Construction & Demolition Debris sorting

All trucks entering the site will pass over the scales and also have a quick review of their contents to make sure it will meet the 75% requirement or be turned away. Then the trucks will enter the building where they will dump their load.  Containers will not remain at the site, but will leave on the truck they came in on. Once the load is dumped the operators will take a quick inventory of its contents to determine whether most of it is wood, shingles, drywall, etc. and use front end loaders to move it to its next destination within the building. Most debris will wind up in the large shredders with the final recyclable products moved outside to separated bins until they are hauled away. For the most part all debris will be processed inside under the roof unless it is too large of a piece(s).  With no similar facility in close proximity it will be hard to compare the shredder noise to existing traffic noise, thus it remains an unknown issue.

Here is an interesting item that I found out tonight about the sweet deal that Round Lake Park will be getting if the site reaches maximum capacity They will receive $.75 per ton based on 75% recycled. Thus 500 tons per day would mean $.75 for 375 ton each operating day or $281/day in revenue for the village. If they were open six days per week that’s about 24 days per month or 288 days per year. That translates into about $81,000 per year for Round Lake Park IF at full capacity which I was told was doubtful during the current economic climate. Here’s the best part! Groot didn’t have to pay them anything! No, not a single dime since the properties current zoning allowed for such a facility and all that was needed was the permit. What’s even better for the village is that there is a cost of living clause built into the agreement which says the price cannot drop below $.75 but CAN go up if the value of the recyclables increases (think how copper and aluminum prices have escalated).

So we finally arrive at the final paragraph where I mentioned earlier to remember the 80+ truck traffic entering and exiting Rt. 120 at Porter Drive. Representative Cole brought along a copy of Groot Industries “Notice of Intent” to build a non-hazardous waste transfer station across the street from the Debris site (3.9 acres on the NE corner of Rt. 120 and Porter Drive) which would temporarily store, consolidate, and further transfer general municipal, commercial, and industrial waste. The copy I have has a handwritten date of 11-9-12 on it so it may be very current information that few know anything about. Groot will be filing a “Request for Site Approval” with the Village of Round Lake Park on November 30, 2012.  The application will be available for inspection after that date at the RLP village hall. RLP must hold at least one public hearing no sooner than 90 days nor later than 120 days from the date of receipt of the “Request”. At that time questions will be allowed from the public. Just think of the amount of truck traffic these two sites will generate for an already overloaded Route 120.

Looks like Groot Industries has their sights on being a major player when it comes to ‘waste management’.

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One Comment

  • Brian Brubaker

    So it appears that RLP is happy to become the waste capital of Lake County. I understand times are tough and RLP has always been a mess as far as revenue sources into the Village bank account but I would hope that they would see that this is short sighted and only a quick influx of income from this propery. I think it would be best to continue to wait it out and partner with RL and work that corridor for better commerce options. There are serious land tracks in front of Madrona, Bright Meadows, off Porter, etc that if marketed TOGETHER and properly would be enticing to developers at some point. They are all zone commercial so that would eliminate homes, although Kimball Hill has repeatedly approached RL to re-zone the BM property to allow housing.

    We can only pray that the Trustees of RLP take a serious look at this and do what is best for the future and not necessarily the now.

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