Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2018

Faircast seeks to recycle iron from dumping ground on West Grimes

Plans to donate land to city after excavation
By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Nov 09, 2017
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo A machine known as a “scalper” is sifting soil at the dumping grounds north of the Dexter Apache soccer fields. Representatives of Sherpa Industries, which owns the machine, are using it to recover scraps of iron to sell to Faircast Inc., which owns the land. Once the 15 acres have been excavated, Faircast plans to donate the land to the city.

Faircast Inc. has contracted with a company to remove scraps of iron from the 15 acres of land it owns north of the Dexter Apache soccer fields on West Grimes Avenue.

Faircast representative Roger Vorhies said that once the iron has been collected, the long-term plan is to level the ground and donate it to the city.

The 15 acres of land was previously held by Fairfield Castings, which used it as a dumping ground. Faircast purchased Fairfield Castings in June.

Before it was sold, the company offered to donate the land to the city in April, with the understanding it could be turned into soccer or ball fields.

The city council did not accept the offer for two main reasons: 1) Councilors didn’t know what Fairfield Castings had been dumping at the site and whether it would need to be cleaned up; and 2) Councilors were worried about the cost of seeding and maintaining the land.

Despite the city’s earlier refusal of the donation, Vorhies hopes to get the land in such a state that the council will be willing to accept it.

“We will smooth out the sand and put black dirt on top of it,” he said.

Sherpa Industries of South Carolina will sift the ground in search of iron. Vorhies said the scrap iron in the ground is exactly what Faircast needs to manufacture its products. All it has to do is melt the iron and it will be ready to pour into a mold.

Sherpa uses an enormous machine called a “scalper” that feeds the sand on a conveyor belt over a magnet, which grabs the iron. Sherpa co-owner and project manager Mark Bennett said the company will sell the iron it finds to Faircast.

A recent sampling of the ground made the company realize it was worth its time to excavate the entire ground, which Bennett expects to take two years. Bennett said tens of thousands of tons of soil will go through the scalper by the time the project is finished. He thinks perhaps as much as 10 percent of the land can be recovered as usable metal.

Vorhies said he’s hoping to get “hundreds of tons of metal, maybe thousands.”

Bennett said winter temperatures might prevent excavation, so it could be a process that has to shut down between December and February.

Vorhies said this iron recollection project is another piece of good news for the young company. Faircast executives said in July they hope to grow the company to the point where it’s employeeing the same number of people as the former Fairfield Castings, which employed 221. When Faircast purchased the company, it started by rehiring 89 workers from the former company, and today is up to 110.

“We’re hoping to grow the company 20-25 percent in the next year or two,” Vorhies said.

Vorhies said the company is in a good place because it is supplying parts to a variety of sectors such as transportation, recreation and manufacturing.

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