Weekly News Bulletin: Jul. 20-26, 2010


Waste Connections Posts Second Quarter Rebound

Waste Connections (Folsom, CA) reported better-than-expected second quarter profit and revenues that were up 9.1 percent year over year. "Year-over-year increases in landfill volumes, roll-off activity, and recycled commodity prices enabled us once again to exceed the upper end of our expectations in the quarter. Strong organic growth and an approximate 150 basis points expansion in adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization as a percentage of revenue contributed to an almost 30% increase in adjusted earnings per share compared to the year-ago period," said Chairman and CEO Ronald J. Mittelstaedt.

Net income for the quarter was $30.40 million or $0.39 per share, compared to $30.44 million or $0.38 per share last year. However, adjusted net income for the quarter was $37.2 million or $0.48 per share, compared to $29.6 million or $0.37 per share last year. Revenues for the quarter increased 9.1% to $330.48 million from $302.83 million in the prior-year quarter.

Mittelstaedt added, "We remain on track to repurchase five to six percent of outstanding shares in 2010. Our strong operating results and free cash flow have further strengthened our credit profile despite our active share repurchase program."...Read More »



Ancient Ship, Once Landfilled, Found at WTC Site

An old ship, believed to date from the 1700s, was discovered at the construction site of the new World Trade Center in Manhattan. As reported in the Associated Press, a 32-foot piece of the vessel was found in soil 20 feet below street level at the site of what was once landfill used to expand the then tiny island into the Hudson River basin. Archeologists, already at work excavating it, have also discovered a 100-pound iron anchor nearby. A similar find was made in 1982, when archaeologists found an 18th-century cargo ship on Water Street...Read More »



Casella Gets Good Marks from S&P Rating Agency

Casella Waste Systems is getting good marks from Standard & Poor's Ratings Services which raised its outlook on the waste management company to "stable." S&P notes Casella's improving results and gains in solid-waste and recycling volumes, as well as "our belief that management will continue to make progress with its goal of reducing debt," said S&P analyst James Siahaan. S&P noted that those debt reductions could come from money the company receives by divesting some of its assets. Earlier this month, Casella sold its Cape Cod, MA operations for $7.8 million in order to reduce borrowings and streamline operations. In June, the company reported that its fourth-quarter loss narrowed after impairment charges the previous year weighed on the bottom line, and posted solid revenue growth, helped by a recent rebound in recycled commodity pricing...Read More »



EPA Gives California Hazardous Waste Landfill Green Light

The US EPA is allowing Waste Management's Kettleman Hills hazardous waste landfill to restart operations now that it has cleaned up cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, from the site. However, the company must also search for the source of other PCBs and remove them, as well. Kettleman City residents suspect that PCBs in the 1,600-acre landfill are responsible for a recent increase in birth defects in town. Waste Management officials assert that there is no evidence linking the landfill to the trend. However, after the EPA inspected the site, they did their own testing and found other PCB-contaminated areas. Officials are mindful that high-tension power lines in the area, pesticides and chemical fertilizers routinely sprayed on nearby fields may also be factors...Read More »



US Demolition Industry Reports Improving Volume

A recent survey by the National Demolition Association reveals tepid optimism among its demolition industry members about current business prospects. 41 percent of respondents said they are seeing a positive change in business volume, whereas 25 percent said no. 44 percent of respondents said that the federal government's $787-billion stimulus program, approved last year, had no effect on the market for demolition services in their area, whereas 33 percent said it did. "These numbers are no surprise," says Michael R. Taylor, executive director of the National Demolition Association. "So much of our work flows from activity in the construction industry and takes a little more time for us to benefit from an upturn in that industry. McGraw-Hill Construction reported that new construction starts in May climbed three per cent from the previous month and that non-residential building showed improvement in May as well...Read More »



Company Wants to Build $300 Million Renewable Energy Park in Charlotte, NC

A Charlotte, NC-based company called Forsite Development, Inc. wants to develop a $300 million "Renewable Energy Industrial Park," or "ReVenture Park" on a redeveloped 667-acre federal superfund site. The first phase of the project would include a 50 megawatt biomass and waste-to-energy plant that would divert some of the 370,000 tons of waste that Mecklenburg County sends to a nearby landfill every year. To this end, the company has already signed a non-binding agreement with the county. The company has not yet decided which technology it will use but insists that it will not be an incinerator. The property, located along the shores of the Catawba River in Charlotte, NC has over 1.4 miles of river frontage and is the largest piece of underutilized heavy industrial property in the region. The project is rather predictably being opposed by the local Sierra Club which accuses the county is moving too fast to embrace the waste incinerator as they are calling it...Read More »



Honolulu Organic Waste Recycling Effort to Save Landfill Space

The city and county of Honolulu, Hawaii has contracted with a local company to compost green waste, food waste and sewage sludge and in turn preserve precious landfill space. The company, Hawaiian Earth Recycling LLC, will employ "in-vessel conversion" technology to process up to 80,000 tons of green waste, 10,000 tons of food waste and 20,000 tons of sewage sludge per year. The company will construct and operate the facility on private property in Wahiawa. Construction is expected to begin early next year, and take two years to complete...Read More »



EnergySolutions Drops Effort to Import Foreign Nuclear Waste

EnergySolutions Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT) said it was dropping plans to import low-level radioactive waste from Italy and other countries. Instead, it has adopted a "new international business strategy" that will focus on engineering and technical services on waste disposal overseas. The company had received withering political and legal challenges to its federal application for a federal license to import 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy for processing in Oak Ridge, TN, 1,600 tons of which would ultimately be disposed at its Clive, UT facility.

The plan raised the ire of Reps. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Bart Gordon (D-TN) who warned that the proposal could lead to the United States' becoming an "international dumping ground." The House Energy and Commerce Committee this year passed a Matheson-Gordon bill, H.R. 515, that would ban the importation of foreign waste unless the president declares it as essential for a national or international policy goal. EnergySolutions had also filed a lawsuit against the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management, which includes Utah and seven other states and had prohibited the company from bringing the waste to its Utah site. The US District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, ruled last year that EnergySolutions is not under the control of the Northwest Compact. The compact has appealed the ruling...Read More »



Waste Management is Developing Facebook App Oceanopolis

Waste Management, through its subsidiary Greenopolis, is developing a social networking game called Oceanopolis. In the game, which is expected to launch in the next few weeks, players maintain their own island by recycling trash to build a sustainable community and interacting with friends. Points earned virtually can be converted into coupons for use at movie theaters, restaurants and stores or into cash donations. Points can also be earned in real life through recycling or by blogging on Greenopolis' site. According to the site, Greenopolis members have earned 6.7 million rewards while the physical recycling kiosks have recovered 3.5 million bottles, cans and other items thus far...Read More »


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