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WNY GOING GREEN: EARTHWATCH WASTE SYSTEMS

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 11:52 AM ET / Blue & Gold Make Green
By Michael Jafari  - Graduate Assistant (2010)
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WNY GOING GREEN: EARTHWATCH WASTE SYSTEMS
Earthwatch Waste Systems is a waste provider that has operated in Buffalo since 1990.  The business handles hazardous and non-hazardous streams for corporations, contractors, government agencies, and much more. 

“We provide the transportation and disposal of all types of waste streams such as: garbage, construction demolition debris, asbestos, sludge, and manufacturing process wastes,” said Earthwatch President and COO, Tom Wagner.  “We also handle recycling houses up and down the east coast and bring them to separate burners to avoid landfills.  We have a processer that solidifies materials that are harmful for landfills.” 

According to Earthwatch’s website, they are credited for being the first commercial hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility and the first engineered synthetic and clay-lined landfills, also known as “security landfills”.  In addition, they work with other companies to help them take the necessary precautions to protect the environment.

“We are instrumental in consulting with landfills and how to classify various non-hazardous wastes as beneficial sites.  What that means is, if you have a demolition project and you grind your concrete into a real fine powder, you can use it as a cover for the land fill so you don’t have to waste clean soil,” said Wagner.

Earthwatch has worked with numerous companies in the United States and Canada.  Most of their business comes from Fortune 500 companies, Solid Waste Transfer Stations, Municipalities, Industrial Manufacturers, Demolition Contractors, Rail C&D Transfer stations, and Public & Private Disposal facilities.  Wagner’s company has done work in Western New York, patching up some areas that were unsafe for the community.

“We just did a cleanup in Tonawanda, and consumers need to understand that people have been living with lead contaminated soil in their yard for years from a steel-making company.  We went with a contractor and took the soil all around the houses, and refilled them with clean soil,” recalled Wagner.  “In certain parts of South Buffalo, people are living 500 yards from a heavily contaminated waste site and they may not even know that.” 

Earthwatch Waste Systems may handle the dirty work to protect the environment, but they also come across jobs that are one of a kind.  As they became nationally recognized, they got involved with bigger jobs like giant landfills, professional sport stadiums, and Ground Zero.  Wagner said it was an experience like none other.

“Some of the unique things that we have done are removing the entire debris from the Steeler stadium, and we recycled 180 tons of concrete.  We also did a lot for the World Trade Center.  People don’t realize that the World Trade Center was built on an old landfill, and when the original debris went away, they came upon a bunch of asbestos from the 40s and 50s.  I got to go to the bottom of the World Trade Center and remove 40 thousand tons of asbestos debris from the site. It was very chilling,” recalled Wagner.

Cleaning up the environment is the company’s goal, but they cannot do it alone.  Wagner said the best support the local community can offer is to educate each other about the dangers of polluted land.

“The awareness and concerns over all the contaminated property that we live around should be something people need to be aware of.  If people understand and rally behind the government to convince them to clean up contaminated sites in this area, we can clean up our heavily contaminated areas like Lackawanna, South Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and other towns with big manufacturers. “

To learn more about Earthwatch Waste Systems, you can visit their website: http://www.earthwatchwaste.com/
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