For the Wabash Valley Service Co. location in Allendale, IL, 2013 is a very special year. It marks the 50th year of operation for the facility — made all the more special by the fact that an F4 tornado in 1989 leveled half the town, including the local grade school.
“Fortunately, the Allendale facility wasn’t in the path of the storm,” says Mike Wilson, specialty products marketing manager for Wabash Valley. “So in my view, this outlet surviving means it was destined for something more.”
And this destiny has apparently come to pass, as the Allendale facility has been named one of the regional winners in the annual Environmental Respect Awards competition, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection in partnership with CropLife® magazine.
According to Jeff Homan, plant manager for the Wabash Valley Allendale facility, the outlet has always strived to be “a cut above” when it comes to environmental stewardship. “That’s the way we’ve always done business,” says Homan. “We always do the things we are supposed to do by law, and then take the extra steps necessary to improve upon them.”
Joel Gardner, certified crop specialist for the facility, agrees. “We always have a plan to make things better for our customers and the surrounding community,” says Gardner. “And that means we place a heavy emphasis on environmental safety, just as a parent company does.”
A New Fertilizer Plant
As an example of this, Homan points to Wabash Valley Allendale’s recently completed 6,000-ton fertilizer building. “Our old fertilizer building was in really bad condition and it took customers a long time to load and unload product there,” he says. “But now with our new building, we have a much better environmental containment capability, portable walls to adjust our product mix if necessary and loadouts take a fraction of the time they used to.”
Another example of environmental stewardship is how Wabash Valley Allendale handles its fuel and oil. “All fuel tanks are double walled and protected by vehicle barriers,” says Gardner. “Used oil is recycled or burned in a used oil furnace.”
To keep its employees and patrons informed, the company holds an annual Safety Fair each February. Topics covered at this event include hazardous communications, anhydrous ammonia safety and pesticide handling.
“We at Allendale and Wabash Valley as a whole take the environment very seriously,” concludes Gardner. “We are proud that our facilities all meet or exceed industry standards for environmental as well as safety standards. For us to maintain the level of comfort and self-reliance that we now enjoy, we need to stay productive and proactive.”