By Linda Cicoira — The 13.5-acre KmX Chemical Corporation in New Church was closed in late June due to “poor business conditions for recycled chemical,” CEO Hubert Fleming told the Eastern Shore Post this week.
“The plant has been placed in care and maintenance with the objective of selling to a strategy owner who will re-start and operate,” Fleming said in responding to an email query. “There were 16 full-time employees who lost their jobs. Several have been hired back on contract to keep the plant in care and maintenance. However, there are no ongoing operations.”
The term “care and maintenance” is defined by www.dictionary.com as “the state of a building, ship, machinery … that is not in current use although it is kept in good condition to enable it to be quickly brought into service if there is demand.”
Fleming stated, “With regard to stored chemicals, all operating permits, including environmental permits, will be maintained. There is minimal chemical inventory at the plant, and the plant facilities will be continuously monitored.”
The solvent reclamation facility advertised on its website as adhering “to the highest standards for permitting, compliance, environmental protection, product quality, and safety and traceability. We are committed to continual process improvement, quality assurance, product safety and quality control.”
A notice sent to Accomack County regarding the company’s plan to close was dated June 15. “Because of a continuing poor business climate for our products, New Church operations will cease with all operations and activity, as of end of day June 29, 2018. KmX and our investors did not take this decision lightly. We value the relationships we have developed with all of our customers and vendors and recognize that this decision has an impact and hope that we can help minimize that as we work through this process in the coming days.”
KMX Chemicals purchased the plant in 2004. In 2015, the company vowed to invest $2.075 million to expand its facility and ramp up production. It began development of specialty membranes for separation and recovery of valuable chemicals and water treatment in 2005. A $40,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project was awarded. The company was also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
“KmX notified DEQ on June 27, that they would be closing on June 29,” DEQ Deputy Regional Director Janet Weyland said Thursday. “KmX has an air permit, an industrial storm water permit, and although they do not have a waste permit, as a waste generator, there are regulatory requirements that they will need to follow,” she continued. “We will be monitoring them through inspection and reporting to ensure that they are complying with their permits and all regulatory requirements.”