Friday, 20 November 2020 11:59

LETTER: Explaining the background on the proposed International Tie Disposal project

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To the editor:

International Tie Disposal has been the subject of conversation within the Richmond County Community for the past month. ITD has interest in Richmond County solely based on a business transaction with CSX Transportation, whose railyard has called Richmond County home for more than a century. 


 Richmond County and the State of North Carolina have a long-standing relationship with CSX Transportation, and it is one of the largest employers within Richmond County. CSX currently owns 100 acres adjacent to their rail yard in Hamlet, N.C. and has agreed to lease the site to International Tie Distributors (ITD), who is a subsidiary of Polivka International, experts in rail infrastructure for more than 60 years, and one of CSX’s main suppliers. 

ITD has come to an agreement with CSX to dispose of old rail ties in an environmentally friendly and safe way. Through a process known as pyrolysis, ITD breaks down the old rail ties into a compound known as biochar, an eco-friendlier method of recycling than simply burning the old ties and releasing harmful chemicals into the air. 

It is important to note that neither Richmond County Commissioners, Richmond County Economic Development nor the State of North Carolina recruited this project or incented this project with taxpayer dollars. No concessions have been made to CSX, ITD or their parent company.

CSX Statement on potential Polivka (International Tie Disposal) Project in Richmond County, North Carolina:

“CSX is committed to continually reducing our environmental footprint, which includes identifying sustainable ways to recycle and reuse materials. Wood crossties have various recycling and disposal options. Approximately, three million crossties are replaced by our railroad annually with about 25 percent of those repurposed for landscape use.  Crossties that are not used for landscaping purposes are often sent to properly permitted energy recovery facilities. CSX conducts business in accordance with all applicable regulations and expects our partners to do the same.

"CSX supports having more options to recycle cross ties, and a process like pyrolysis is appealing as a sustainable business practice to recover energy in an even more environmentally friendly way. Polivka’s (International Tie Disposal’s) potential project in Richmond County, North Carolina could provide a viable option for CSX to continue to responsibly recycle used rail ties. We support Polivka’s efforts and the permitting process currently underway.”

The county first learned of this project when ITD reached out to the City of Hamlet and Richmond County simultaneously with their air permit application, as is required for by most manufacturing construction projects. As plans progressed between the two parties (CSX and Polivka), ITD reached out to the economic development office to begin their community engagement, which is a standard operating procedure for companies.

As requested through their community outreach, Richmond County Economic Development arranged several small-scale public hearings throughout the development process of ITD’s new facility. While smaller in scale due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these hearings with local neighbors, local industries and communities, elected officials and business owners presented the opportunity to engage with CSX and ITD.  

Upon some concerns from the local residents raised during one of these hearings, a third-party study is currently being conducted to learn more about the water-run off from the old rail ties and if there will be any contamination. Local officials and residents want to ensure any water run-off will not contaminate any local water sources. The findings of the study should be released within the next two weeks.   

Richmond County Economic Development and Richmond County Commissioners will continue to be good stewards for the community by continuing the vetting process for new industries to Richmond County.    

Martie Butler
Richmond County Economic Development

Last modified on Sunday, 22 November 2020 13:41