Since 1950 Crosby & Overton, Inc. (C&O) has disproved the adage, “Waste not want not.”
Helping Fortune 500 companies and other customers, Crosby & Overton, Inc. is one of a very few, fully permitted hazardous waste treatment facilities that can treat and dispose of numerous waste streams in the state of California. Of course, such success does not come without years of hard work and a spectacular vision.
Crosby & Overton, Inc. was founded in 1950 by Mark Overton and Howard Crosby, with the main focus on marine-related services such as storing food and maintenance supplies aboard ships and cleaning tanks, bilges, and boilers, the company soon shifted gears. Soon after the company was formed, Mark Overton realized he was unable to continue with the demand required of this type of service company, which led Crosby to buy out his partner while retaining the original name.
Crosby and the company continued their work in the maritime industry. After all, at the time, Long Beach was still a Navy town and in the 1950s, almost every marine facility was located in the Long Beach or Los Angeles harbors, including all the oil and shipping companies and shipyards. However, as years passed, the company had to evolve with the community it served so it focused less on maritime needs and more on those needs of the other industries in the area. Crosby & Overton, Inc. expanded into the industrial arena by working with refineries in the Long Beach and Los Angles areas, then further expanding into chemical cleaning and capitalizing on the growing petroleum industry.
Part of the shift was precipitated by a law that effectively reshaped the industry. In 1976, the Federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) reversed a decades, perhaps even centuries, old practice of haphazard waste disposal. With RCRA, facilities such as Crosby & Overton, Inc. were overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and had to gain an official license to continue doing business. Today, gaining such a license is increasingly difficult due to stricter federal and state standards, which makes Crosby & Overton, Inc.’s superior track record all the more remarkable.
Since Crosby passed away in 1962, the company was managed by shareholders Alice Crosby, Gene Thompson, and J.R. Dent. In 1973, the Dent family took ownership and has since overseen a facility that offers complete management of all types of drummed waste as well as wastewater treatment. Having attained their first RCRA Part B Permit for waste treatment, storage, and disposal in 1984 and the current full 10-year permit in 2014, the company considers maintenance of the license their primary goal. With frequent inspections by the EPA, the company is committed to meeting or exceeding all local, state, and federal regulatory requirements. In fact, the company considers its conservative approach a primary attraction to its numerous clients, which include everyone from oil companies and refineries to cosmetics manufacturers.
While waste is not an attractive concept, its disposal is nevertheless a vital component of human life. C&O accepts full responsibility for careful disposal of all types of waste, with the exception of radioactive and biological wastes, explosives, and the environmentally hazardous poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are used primarily to absorb heat in oil.
An eight-foot-high security fence ensconces the entire facility and 30-foot security gates remain closed except when waste transporters are entering or leaving the facility. The site is surrounded by 10-inch-tall berms (or curbs) and is built on eight inches of concrete that includes a rain water collection system. The site does not sit above any underground storage tanks.
The facility boasts capabilities to dispose of bulk liquids such as oily waters, gasoline and water mixtures, drummed liquids as well as flammables, corrosives, acids, lab packs, and household hazardous waste. For the layperson, C&O’s actual day-to-day activities include receiving waste and then disposing of it, either through onsite waste water treatment or shipment to an incinerator (the facility does not have one onsite), through recycling (such as through alternate fuel), or by transport to a landfill site.
These days, C&O’s customers run the gamut. Most business comes in through brokers/transporters and then C&O is responsible for the end result. For example, the company indirectly receives waste from most of the major oil companies. The company has an on-site, state-certified lab for testing the degree of hazardous material in the waste it handles. Employees oversee different aspects of the waste disposal process, depending on their qualifications and positions, whether it be treating and disposing of bulk liquid effluent to the sanitation sewer in compliance with the permit or managing the drums that contain hazardous waste.
To ensure proper safety and a healthy environment, the company spends a significant sum enforcing safety checks and conducts special classes for employees.
C&O also enforces mandatory annual physicals and provides regular respiratory equipment and first aid/CPR training classes by the American Red Cross. Staff members take an initial 40-hour course as required by the EPA, followed by eight-hour refresher courses each year.
C&O also believes in helping its neighbors. The company has given generously to such schools and community concerns as Long Beach Firefighters, Long Beach Police Association, Los Altos YMCA, Seal Beach Volleyball Association, Orange County Youth Center, and other charitable organizations. C&O is also consistently committed to environmental protection to the community as a whole, having started recycling decades before it became fashionable.
“A lot of people look at us as a negative,” says Michael Shloub President of Crosby & Overton, “but we believe this is positive. We’re helping to protect the environment.” Then he says, “After all, we help people manage their waste properly and responsibly!”