Decades have passed since Americans first realized that hazardous waste has to be disposed of very carefully. And the government has enacted stringent regulations to see that it is done safely.
It's one thing to say you have to do it. It's another to actually account for and track every drop of fluid, every oily rag, every barrel of glop.
That's why EnvironMax.com Inc., a leader in hazardous materials management and tracking system software, came up with its bar-code technology, which can work with hand-held devices or full-size computers.
In June, the Salt Lake-based company was awarded a $1.75 million contract to support 24 Department of Defense sites in the first phase of what will be a two-step, yearlong tracking and management relationship worth $3.4 million.
Hazardous material can be anything from strong window cleaner to dry-cleaning solvents, acids, oils and much more.
The company has refined the support it has been providing to the Department of Defense with its Hazardous Materials Management System. Under this agreement, the company will provide software, installation, integration with existing systems and direct support, as well as business process review.
The system tracks hazardous material from the moment it is acquired until it is safely disposed of. And Fred Nichols, president and general manager, said it reduces both cost of and personnel exposure to the material.
It also keeps track of who has been exposed using an automatic process, added Mary Alessini, director of marketing for EnvironMax.com.
EnvironMax.com boasts seven years' experience in software development and in generating Environmental Protection Agency reports. Along the way, they've obtained "functional expertise" in hazardous waste management so they can build software systems to meet needs of both corporate and military customers.
Tracking has been an ongoing process for a number of years. Automation of the system, however, is quite recent.
The military in general uses its own Application Service Provider (ASP), although EnvironMax.com can host and in fact will soon be hosting the Marines. They believe they are the first "operational environmental site delivering over ASP," Nichols said.
The bar-code system means that the "cumbersome, paper-based system will be simplified. Items will be bar-coded, much like food at the store. They can then be scanned in when they are acquired, when they are deployed and scanned again to determine what was used. It keeps track of inventory and tracks specified items for their entire life cycle, according to Nichols.
That means "nothing goes into the creek," which "cuts liability down to near zero."
The money savings comes in part because the program can look for less-costly items or items with less potential environmental impact.
On the disposal side, the savings are 10-1 because the "bar code is fast and efficient," requiring much less time of the people who use it, said Dean Hutchins, chief financial officer of EnvironMax.com.
The customer base for the company's services have thus far been government agencies and sections of the military. But they're gearing up to serve private companies, too.
The need is great, Nichols said. For example, farmers now fall under certain environmental regulations when it comes to their runoff. Many simply don't have the infrastructure to account for their waste and track its disposal. Other companies are spending hundred of thousands of dollars to develop systems to comply with regulations.
The company is in the process of filing for an initial public offering.