A medical waste processing facility is scheduled to open in Tullahoma in about a month. The facility will be located at 210 Mitchell Blvd. in the Tullahoma Industrial Park.
BioWaste, owned by Matthew Kruz, has been in the business of medical waste processing since 2009, and, according to company officials, “safely disposes of medical waste generated at health care facilities.”
BioWaste serves clients in Franklin, Knoxville, Gallatin, Hendersonville and Chattanooga.
After a public hearing, the Coffee County Commission approved the establishment of the facility on March 14.
“Now, we have to submit a letter to the state, and the state has its due diligence to do as well,” Kruz said. “Once the state gives us approval, we can begin the installation of the equipment, which will take about a month.”
Kruz said no reconstruction of the building is necessary to fit the operations of BioWaste.
“The only thing we will have to do is upgrade the gas line, but there won’t be remodeling to the building,” Kruz said.
Initially, BioWaste will start with about seven to 10 employees, but Kruz hopes to offer more job opportunities in future.
“We are definitely looking to bring lots of jobs to the county and city – good-paying jobs,” Kruz said. “The goal is 30 to 50 jobs within three to five years. It will probably start slowly and ramp up, but that’s the projection of what we typically do.”
BioWaste will offer various opportunities for employment, according to Kruz.
“There will be some office people, some sales people, some warehouse personnel and some drivers,” Kruz said. “Once the equipment has been installed, we can start hiring people to start working with us.”
The company disposes of medical waste in an “environmentally responsible” manner, said Kruz.
“I wouldn’t be asking anybody to do something I wouldn’t do,” Kruz said. “What we are going to do is be regulated by the state, and we will follow those regulations.
“We are bringing everything here; this is going to be our main hub for everything,” Kruz said. “We live in Hermitage now, but we are planning to move to Tullahoma. We are hearing great things about the Tullahoma school system. Everybody has been super nice and extremely friendly to our family. It is such a nice place and we really look forward to moving here.”
Discussion and vote
A public hearing to discuss the approval of the facility was held on March 14 at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza. A vote was held during the full commission’s meeting, which followed the public hearing.
Though the proposed facility will be established in Tullahoma, the county commission had to approve it because of the Tennessee Code Annotated section 68-211-701, stating that no construction of a landfill or solid waste disposal at a facility located in a municipality can be initiated until that facility has been approved by both the legislative body of the municipality and the county legislative body.
During the public hearing, Executive Director of the Tullahoma Area Development Corporation Thom Robinson strongly recommended the approval of the facility.
“Matthew Kruz owns the company, and he has been in business since 2009,” Robinson said.
“The building is about 10,000 square feet, but they are only going to use a fraction of it,” Robinson said. “What they do is put all the stuff in there, where it is superheated through hot water and steam to a temperature that kills any biological materials that might be remaining from the doctor’s office and kills them. It’s like sanitizing these materials before they are placed in a regular landfill. They heat (the waste) up and put it in the dumpster, and once or twice a week they take that dumpster and move it to a landfill up in Murfreesboro.”
Robinson said Tullahoma officials had already approved establishing of the facility.
“We looked at it from any point we can. We called people, and we haven’t found anybody who doesn’t have anything but good things to say about this process,” Robinson said.
The location has already been rezoned from a C-2, which is general commercial district, to I-2, which is heavy industrial district, according to Robinson.
Kruz also spoke in front of the commissioners and Coffee County residents, describing the medical waste disposal process.
Commissioner Rush Bricken asked if there is a bond required by Tullahoma to ensure covering the cost for cleaning the area in case the facility for some reason “gets abandoned.”
“The City of Tullahoma does not do that,” Kruz said. “The state does that. It depends on the size of the waste I am going to be bringing in, which is to be determined. The bond will be issued to the State of Tennessee.”
Approving of the facility was on the agenda of the full commission’s meeting which followed the public hearing. County commissioners unanimously approved establishing of the facility.
Medical waste is generated at health care facilities, such as hospitals, physicians’ offices, dental practices, blood banks, veterinary hospitals and research laboratories.
It is illegal to dispose of medical waste or “sharps,” sharp medical implements, in the health facility’s trash cans, recycling or waste containers. Medical facilities and other organizations that produce hazardous waste are required by the Tennessee State Occupational Safety and Health Plans to follow proper protocol in disposing of sharps, biological material and other substances.
Elena Cawley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.