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EQ Among Largest Waste-Management Firms In U.S.

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APEX, N.C. — EQ North Carolina is part of a privately held Michigan firm, EQ The Environmental Quality Company, and has operated an Apex facility for more than three years.

Parent firm EQ has been on a rapid growth curve since 1997, more than tripling its revenues. Industry newsletter Waste News ranks EQ as the 25th largest environmental-management company in the U.S., with revenues of $111 million in 2005. EQ has 620 employees, according to Waste News.

The hazardous waste industry is a $3.5 billion a year business, according to Waste News. Crain's Detroit Business reported in June of this year that EQ had annual revenues of $150 million.

EQ has grown in part through acquisitions. It purchased the Apex facility through bankruptcy proceedings.

"We did learn from our competitors out there what not to do,'' EQ chairman, co-owner and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ferrantino Jr. told Crain's Detroit Business News in 2004. "They appeared to be going just for revenue growth. We couldn't really figure out, as hard as we tried, what their strategy was. We haven't been overpaying.''

Ferrantino is the son of the founder of Wayne Disposal, which was founded in 1957 and later evolved into EQ. The younger Ferrantino and other executives formed EQ as an environmental management company in 1997.

Apex Facility Has Had Problems

Inspections by the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources have resulted in fines for the plant at that location on three different occasions since 1999, including once under management of EQ.

EQ North Carolina launched operations at Apex in January of 2003 after purchasing the site through the foreclosure on EnviroChem Environmental Services, which had gone bankrupt.

In February 2001, EnviroChem was fined $131,000 by the state of North Carolina for a variety of reasons, ranging from lack of security to failure to manage containers and failure to maintain emergency equipment.

EQ was fined $31,000 last March. The report about the fine on NCDENR's Web site said that EQ:

"Failed to:

  • maintain and operate the facility to minimize the possibility of a sudden or non-sudden release of hazardous waste constituents to air, soil or surface water which could threaten human health or the environment;
  • immediately carry out the provisions of the contingency plan whenever there is a release of hazardous waste or constituents which threatens or could threaten human health or the environment;
  • not store a container of hazardous waste that is incompatible with any waste or material stored;
  • complete inspection log book and place in designated log-book area;
  • maintain aisle space of 24 inches; and
  • clearly mark to identify container contents and the date each period of accumulation begins.
  • Corrective measures have been taken, according to Diana Kees, a spokeswoman for NCDENR. "Since they were fined, they have been working on corrective action with the Division of Waste Management," she told The Associated Press.

    EQ operates 21 facilities, including one in Atlanta.

    Parts of another EQ facility burned last August, according to The Associated Press. The fire at the plant in Romulus, Mich., sent 2,000 people from their homes, and more than 30 were treated for injuries. The plant recycled chemicals such as airplane deicing fluid and industrial paint solvents.

    According to the firm's Web site, EQ maintains $27 million in liability insurance.

    EQ offers a wide variety of services ranging from hazardous waste management to industrial cleaning and maintenance.

    Apex Facility Awarded 10-Year Permit

    EQ North Carolina was granted a hazardous waste management permit by the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources on March 9, 2005. The permit, which was good for 10 years, took effect on April 8, 2005.

    Services offered at the Apex facility include:

  • Waste analysis
  • Remediation
  • LTL (less than truckload) drum management and transportation
  • Container rental
  • Waste transportation
  • Lab packing
  • Total project management
  • Household hazardous waste services
  • For more information, see the

    EQ Web site.