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Local manufacturing plant turns plastic scrap into useful products

By Staff | Mar 27, 2019

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Long term ADS employees Tim Berry and Herb Betts are from Muncy and work at the Muncy plant which is the largest of 50 plants located in the United States.

MUNCY – A business and informational tour with Senator Eugene Yaw took place at Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) in Muncy on Friday, March 8. Senator Yaw who is Chair of Agricultural and Rural Affairs for Pennsylvania said that the plant is a good resource for recycling.

The company, headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio, collects plastics of all sorts to be processed for stormwater drainage, sanitary sewer systems and road pipes, many up to 60 inches in diameter.

According to Greg Bohn, director of National Engineering and Product Development said that the Federal Highway Administration allows use of alternative types of pipe like their thermoplastic and polypropylene pipes.

The Muncy plant has 110 employees, many working there from the immediate area. They operate three shifts a day during the week and plant manager, Dave Watkins, said many of their employees have been there for 15 or 20 years. There are 50 plants across the United States, with the largest facility being in Muncy. “It was expanded five times here,” said Watkins. “In April we will be breaking ground for a small expansion to be more productive.”

There are 160 truckloads a day distributed from Muncy and 23 drivers employed here. The company sits on 45 acres and the plant encompasses over 65,000 sq. feet.

PHOTO PROVIDED Pennsylvania State Senator, Gene Yaw (left) watches with plant manager, Dave Watkins, as a 20-foot length of 48-inch diameter ADS N-12 pipe is made at the Advanced Drainage Systems plant in Muncy.

ADS was established in 1984 and a partnering company, Fry’s Plastics, brought the plant to Muncy. “This is one of the major businesses in the area using recycled materials,” said Yaw. “It’s amazing how much piping is manufactured here. Across the country, open competition could save $22.3 billion for storm water in pipe material costs during the next 10 years.”

Stormwater management helps keep water from pooling on roads. Every year, ADS uses nearly 400 million pounds of recycled plastic to make its products. They are the largest producer of corrugated high-density polyethylene pipe for gravity storm drain applications. According to Bohn, thermoplastic pipe is more durable and won’t corrode or break down over time. “We buy and clean up bales of old plastics,” added Watkins during the tour. “This plant never slows down.”

Any materials that did not work or did not process sufficiently can be re-ground and used again.

In 2017 they were awarded the “Fab Shop of the Year” for quality and safety.

Employees and managers stand outside Advantage Drainage Systems in Muncy which sits on 45 acres.