ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — ASHTA Chemicals’ $100 million project to modernize and expand its facility should be completed by late summer, officials said Thursday.
The investment will result in ASHTA improving energy efficiency and eliminating the use of mercury in its manufacturing process, ASHTA President Brad Westfall said.
“It’s been a long project and we have had a few minor delays but it should be done late this summer,” he said. “Being environmentally responsible is super important to us.”
ASHTA Chemicals makes chlorine and potassium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and other chemical products used for water treatment, pharmaceuticals, batteries, industrial cleaners and fertilizers.
For decades the company has been using a mercury cell process to make its products. In 2007, ASHTA was named one of the top-five mercury polluters in the United States, according to Oceana, an environmental group dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans.
In 2014, ASHTA announced it planned to upgrade the facility and eliminate the use of mercury. In 2017, officials broke ground on the project.
While ASHTA operates in compliance with its environmental permits, Westfall said it is switching to a process called “membrane cell technology” that’s more energy efficient and environmental friendly. It eliminates the use of mercury from the process and cuts energy costs by about 25 percent, he said.