In the Spotlight
Rumpke: Leading the Way in the Waste Industry
A family-owned and operated business since the 1940s, Rumpke focuses on helping society find a safe and healthy way to dispose of their waste.
In 1932, William F. Rumpke operated a coal and junkyard business in Carthage, OH. After receiving a payment of hogs, his business focus changed to hog farming. During the hog-farming days, he collected trash from local residents to feed his hogs. Inedible items were removed and recycled while the rest was fed to the livestock. In the 1940s, William’s brother Bernard joined the business and the two of them began making decisions that would impact their family for generations. A few years later, the farming business ended, as the company shifted its focus solely to waste collection, recycling and disposal—and Rumpke was born.
Headquartered in Colerain Township, OH, just outside of Cincinnati, Rumpke is one of the nation’s largest privately owned residential and commercial waste and recycling firms today. It employs 2,300 people and owns or operates nine landfills (MSW and CDD only), eight material recovery facilities (including two buy-backs), one tire recycling facility and 20 transfer stations. Rumpke’s landfills accept municipal solid waste and construction demolition debris. Through their Rumpke Portable Restroom division, they work with companies to properly dispose of liquid waste within their Cincinnati market. Throughout their service region, Rumpke also offers recycling solutions for residential, commercial, industrial and construction customers.
During the past 30 years, the Rumpke family has successfully expanded its service area and added several divisions such as Rumpke Recycling, Rumpke Portable Restrooms, Rumpke Hydraulics, The William-Thomas Group and Rumpke Park in Harrison, OH. William and Bernard’s sons, Bill and Tom, were actively involved in the business as well and initiated the company’s commercial container service. During the 1970s, Bill and Tom bought the residential business from their fathers and served as co-owners and co-presidents until Tom passed away in January 2004.
Rumpke services customers throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia (see Figure 1). The national chain accounts division, The William-Thomas Group, uses its Haul Pass Network (a network of smaller haulers) to service chain business locations throughout the country.
In These Economic Times
Constant communication played a key role in Rumpke’s success during 2009. While it’s no secret that the economic climate was rather difficult throughout late 2008 and 2009, the challenges it presented further united the Rumpke team ensuring progress. “These past 12 months presented a variety of challenges including lower landfill volumes, decreased roll off loads and plummeting recycling markets, but we met these obstacles with solutions and determination. Our team introduced and implemented cost cutting measurements that worked,” says Chief Operating Officer, Bill Rumpke Jr.
Rumpke continued implementing software to serve as a platform for the development of line of business scorecards. These scorecards have renewed Rumpke’s focus on the most important financial metrics. Quarterly reviews for each line of business helped the team become more pro-active and maximize opportunities.
Meanwhile safety statistics continued to define their culture of safety. Rumpke also developed additional educational opportunities for employeessuch as employee relations training programs, a variety of sales programs and more safety seminars for drivers, mechanics and equipment operators. At the same time, environmental compliance records improved despite increasing scrutiny from regulators. Internal audits ensured that any potential issues were quickly addressed.
Being a member of the waste industry for the past 78 years, Rumpke has seen their fair share of challenges including recessions, constantly evolving governmental regulations, rising business costs, a spike in costs related to diesel fuel and petroleum-based products, more challenging landfill siting criteria, development of new employee training programs, software and equipment upgrades, stronger demands for recycling options and, as always, continual competition within the business marketplace.
However, despite these challenges, Rumpke, Jr. maintains a positive outlook on the business. “We have done our best to take a pro-active versus reactive approach. The Rumpke family takes great pride in its operations and service. Family members, as well as our extended family of approximately 2,300 employees, experience the business by working their way up. We are always looking forward, building on what we’ve previously learned and progressively researching and implementing new technology, purchasing strategies, maintenance programs, compliance objectives, safety training and employee development strategies.”
It is by working with determination and focusing on innovation that Rumpke has begun working with companies such has Montauk Energy to build and operate the world’s largest landfill gas-to-direct-energy pipeline system at Ohio’s largest landfill Rumpke Sanitary Landfill just outside of Cincinnati (see Just the Facts sidebar).
In addition, Rumpke has partnered with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the EPA to participate in tire cleanups and initiate a tire recycling program, a state-of-the-art glass processing facility and to partnerwith RecycleBank to incorporate Ohio’s first incentive-based recycling program. This year Rumpke will work with ODNR once again to use recovered landfill gas to create natural gas that will fuel 10 garbage trucks. They also have implemented smart purchasing strategies, top of the line internal and external safety programs, and continual upgrades to truck and equipment maintenance programs to maximize productivity and keep costs to a minimum.
“Our most crucial challenge is maintaining a focus on each line of business to be certain we are doing all that we can to be as cost effective and productive as possible despite a lagging economy, rising costs, turbulent recycling markets and increasing regulations,” stresses Rumpke, Jr. “Essentially, we must remain attentive to our mission, which is to provide excellent customer service while ensuring compliance and growing our business.”
Current and Future Projects
From fueling their trucks with landfill gas, to expanding recycling operations, Rumpke is constantly implementing innovative technologies to make operations greener. Even with issues they are currently facing—successful implementation of new recycling technology, more scrutiny from regulators, a challenging economy and the necessity to densify market share throughout their service region—stimulus funds and the push for green energy have offered some additional opportunities for Rumpke. Possibly, as soon this year, Rumpke will begin compressing the natural gas collected from its Cincinnati landfill for truck fuel.
Rumpke recently partnered with Clean Fuels Ohio to obtain grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities Ohio. The grant defrays a portion of the cost associated with purchasing 10 compressed natural gas (CNG) refuse collection trucks, as well as the cost to construct a CNG fueling station. Total budget for the improvements is about $3.1 million. Rumpke will receive a federally funded grant totaling almost $800,000 and will provide matching funding of $2.3 million to complete the project. If the program is successful, Rumpke will continue to expand its CNG fleet.
Waste is a renewable energy source that Rumpke has been harnessing since 1986. Ohio is home to the world’s largest landfill gas-to-direct-energy pipeline facility, which supplies enough gas to power up to 25,000 homes. As communities continue to generate waste, more opportunities arise to power homes, businesses and vehicles from gases produced inside our landfills.
Recently expanding their acceptable items list to include all plastic bottles and jugs at all of their recycling facilities, Rumpke also continues to look for markets for additional materials to allow customers to recycle more than ever before, as well as research and implement ways to increase recycling among their neighbors, whether it is by offering larger recycling carts or incentive-based programs. “We know recycling is our future, and we will continue to invest in our material recovery facilities to install the latest in sorting technology to maximize results,” says Rumpke, Jr. “In 2009, we invested $6 million to install new state-of-the-art equipment from Bollegraf Manufacturing as well as TiTech Optical Sorting equipment at Rumpke Recycling Cincinnati.”
Although Rumpke began its business as a hog farm, they’ve managed to develop into one of the largest privately owned waste and recycling firms in the United States and take a lot of pride in doing the right thing by their employees, customers and the environment. After all waste and recycling firms are society’s true environmentalists, inventing the green movement that has become very popular in today’s culture.
Beyond having two generations of family leadership being inducted into the Environmental Industry Associations’ Hall of Fame and other prestigious honors (see Rumpke Awards sidebar), Rumpke’s crowning achievement will always be helping society find a safe and healthy way to dispose of their waste. “It’s about making this world a better place today and tomorrow,” remarks Rumpke, Jr.
For more information about Rumpke, call (800) 582-3107 or visit the Web site at www.rumpke.com.
Rumpke’s service map.
The Rumpke family members pose in front of a Rumpke truck. Clockwise starting from far right: Jeff Rumpke, vice president, Cincinnati Market; Andrew Rumpke, vice president, Central Ohio Market; Bill Rumpke Sr., President and CEO; Mike Bramkamp, vice president, Northwest Market; Bill Rumpke Jr., Chief Operating Officer; Todd Rumpke, vice president, Southeast Market; Phil Wehrman, Chief Financial Officer.
Rumpke founders William F. Rumpke and Bernard Rumpke.
The first load of recyclables sorted at Rumpke’s newly remodeled Cincinnati Material Recovery facility. Rumpke invested $6 million into the facility to update the equipment with the latest sorting technology.
A Rumpke driver services a residential waste customer.
A scene from Rumpke’s Colerain Township landfill in the 1950s. Today, the Colerain Township landfill is the largest MSW landfill in Ohio.
Rumpke Recycling mascots Binny and Binita pose during Rumpke’s 2009 Open House.
Rumpke has been committed to keeping neighborhoods and businesses clean and green since 1932 by providing environment friendly waste disposal solutions.
Photos courtesy of Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc.
Just the Facts: The World’s Largest Landfill Gas-to-Pipeline Energy Production Facility
15,000,000: Montauk’s total landfill gas processing capacity at Rumpke Sanitary Landfill, in standard cubic feet, as measured at the plant inlet. By this measure it is the world’s largest landfill gas-to-pipeline energy production facility.
25,000: The number of Cincinnati homes that can be served annually by Duke Energy with natural gas provided by Montauk from its processing plant when operated at capacity.
Rumpke Sanitary Landfill: This landfill is the only local source of natural gas currently available to Duke Energy in the Cincinnati area. It is a significant source that is projected to grow and be available for decades to come.
Local Work Force: All work needed to construct Montauk’s new gas plant was performed by a combined union and non-union work force comprised completely of local area contractors, trades, and laborers.
Green Energy: This term is commonly used for energy derived from Renewable Fuel. Landfill gas is defined by the U.S. EPA as a Renewable Fuel.
Renewable Fuel: The use of landfill gas as Renewable Fuel reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil; helps use or destroy so-called “Greenhouse Gases” like methane and carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming; off-sets the use of non-renewable energy sources such as coal, natural gas and oil; reduces local air pollution; and creates local jobs.
1986: The original gas processing plant has operated continuously at Rumpke Sanitary Landfill since 1986. It was expanded once previously in 1995 with the construction of a second gas plant. The two combined plants have an outstanding environmental compliance and safety record.
Pressure Swing Adsorption: This is the primary technology used by Montauk at Rumpke Sanitary Landfill to separate carbon dioxide from the landfill gas stream. Landfill gas contains roughly 50 percent carbon dioxide. Removing carbon dioxide from landfill gas is the primary step in its conversion to pipeline quality gas. This is a proven, decades-old technology developed originally for use in the world’s major oil and gas fields.
2,000: Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. employs approximately 2,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Landfill Gas Operations Summary
Landfill gas produced naturally within Rumpke Sanitary Landfill is collected through a system of vertical gas wells located throughout the landfill footprint. Horizontal piping conveys the landfill gas to Montauk’s gas processing facilities located at the base of the landfill. Montauk processes the gas to meet the pipeline specifications of Duke Energy prior to entering its distribution system. The process is continuous, thereby providing the
Cincinnati area with a dependable, local source of renewable fuel and green energy.
1986: First plant opens
1995: Second plant added
2007: Third plant completed, making RSL home to the world’s LARGEST landfill gasto-pipeline facility.
Major Project Contractors and Vendors
S/D Engineers, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Engineering and Construction Management
Radius Construction Co., Inc. (Covington, Ky.): Civil/Structural
Artisan Mechanical (Cincinnati, Ohio): Mechanical, Piping and HVAC
Sargent Electric Company (Terre Haute, Ind.): Electrical, Controls and Instrumentation
Quest Air Technologies (Vancouver, BC, Canada): PSA
Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH)
Montauk Energy Capital (Pittsburgh, PA)
Rumpke Awards and Honors
Environmental Industry Association Hall of Fame: William F. Rumpke and Bernard J. Rumpke, 2000; William J. Rumpke Sr. and Thomas B. Rumpke, 2009
Solid Waste Association of North America Excellence in Landfills (Bronze Award): Rumpke Sanitary Landfill in Colerain Township, Ohio
Cincinnati Better Business Bureau Torch Award, 2005
Dayton, Ohio, Better Business Bureau Torch Award, 2005
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful Iron Eyes Cody Award, 2004
Alcoa Preferred Supplier Award, 2004
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Recycling Achievement in Excellence Award