Construction officially began Wednesday on a $600 million thermal waste treatment plant in Clark County that officials say will be the most advanced, environmentally efficient facility of its kind in the U.S.
Environmental services company Veolia North America said the project in Gum Springs will create more than 100 full-time jobs, in addition to hundreds of position for contractors during construction.
The facility is expected to open in 2024.
Veolia acquired the 1,350-acre site in 2020 for about $250 million. It was previously owned by Alcoa Corp. of Pittsburgh, which used the facility to treat a hazardous waste byproduct of the aluminum production process. The facility currently features two thermal treatment plants and an encapsulated landfill, which are permitted to treat and dispose of a wide variety of hazardous waste materials.
The new facility, which will replace the existing thermal plants, will feature the most advanced technology available on the market for capturing emissions and preserving air quality, Veolia said in a news release. It will also be the first facility of its kind in the nation to be outfitted to capture thermal heat for the generation of heat and electricity, further reducing its environmental impact.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson was among those who attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the project.
“I am happy to celebrate the construction of this impressive new facility, which will bring enormous economic and environmental benefits to the people of this community and our state,” he said. “We are making it known that Arkansas is a place where companies like Veolia can bring innovation and growth, and invest in the future.”
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission said, as of Thursday, there were no state incentives for the project.
Boston-based Veolia North America's customers range from industrial businesses and health care companies to higher education institutions and municipalities. It employs more than 10,000 people at 350 locations across the continent.
The company is a subsidiary of publicly traded Veolia Group of Paris (Paris Euronext: VIE).