Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Analysts Claim Waste Cleanup May Be Growth Industry of '90S

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Analysts Claim Waste Cleanup May Be Growth Industry of '90S

Article excerpt

BOSTON - Forget plastics. The glow is off computers.

Analysts now say hazardous waste disposal may be the high-tech growth industry of the 1990s.

Hazardous waste processing will be a $5 billion industry this year and could hit $12 billion by 1994, according to Richard S. Golob, publisher of the weekly newsletter ``Harzardous Materials Intelligence Report.''

There's no shortage of stuff to clean up. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified 30,000 potentially hazardous sites, of which 1,000 qualify for Superfund clean-up money. According to Golob, other surveys have estimated that up to 430,000 U.S. manufacturing plants may have some kind of contamination.

And the Department of Energy has estimated that of managing, disposing and cleaning up radioactive and hazardous contamination at its facilities could cost from $53 billion to $92 billion, DOE spokesman Will Callicott said.

The manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, consumer products and even decaffeinated coffee produces hazardous waste.

As environmental regulations get stiffer, companies that can deal with infectious waste, radioactive contamination and dirty drinking water are in special demand.

Interest in profiting from America's toxic waste problem is so high that more than 500 environmental entrepreneurs, executives and consultants attended a two-day Boston conference put together by Golob last week to study the situation.

``Two or three years ago, if you'd said you're having a hazardous waste business conference, you'd get very few people showing up,'' said Stephen L. Irish, whose company extracts heavy metals from contaminated wstewater.

Irish's enterprise was born in 1988 from tougher state and federal groundwater regulations. Electroplating plants produce rinsewater that includes heavy metals, including nickel, lead and a carcinogenic chromium compound, said Irish, director of marketing for UNC Reclamation, a Mulberry, Fla. …

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