Ridgeline Energy unveils new plant in Deaver

There was an excited buzz in the air at the old school gym in Deaver Friday not likely seen since the days of the Deaver-Frannie Trojans as Dennis Danzik of Ridgeline Energy Services unveiled a new manufacturing venture at the site of the former longtime school facility.

Dozens of dignitaries gathered for lunch and the announcement in the gym that has held many basketball games, wrestling matches and other events over the years for the Trojans and the Rocky Mountain Middle School Grizzlies.

Dennis Danzik of Ridgeline Energy Services signs a commemorative shovel for Karen and Gary Fulbright following a ceremony launching the new manufacturing plant at the former school in Deaver.

Danzik, Ridgeline Director of Engineering and Operations and a Cody native, noted the many devices stationed around the gym used in the treatment of wastewater in the oil and gas, commercial and industrial sectors, devices that in the near future will be manufactured in Deaver.

“A year and a half from now this will be a $5 million, first-class facility,” he said.

Danzik said Ridgeline uses cutting-edge technology to treat wastewater at the site of an oil or gas well or other industrial sites, allowing greater efficiencies than hauling water to be treated. He said the water is cleaned to a degree where it can be used for agriculture in many states.

The Deaver facility will manufacture Ridgeline’s storage systems, the company’s convergence and degassing systems, as well as its molded tank products – all part of the company’s water sciences division product line and services.

During Friday’s unveiling ceremony, Danzik pointed out the various devices to be manufactured in Deaver:

•A filtration assembly, which filters substances down to one mircron – about a fifth the size of a virus.

•A reactor tank assembly – a twin reactor vessel that performs electrodialysis on water to remove impurities.

•A flocculation tube, which, in combination with chemicals causes impurities to drop out of water.

•A convergence degassing system – a convergence system where water from other systems converges and dissolved gases are removed including hydrogen sulfide, dissolved oxygen and some chorines.

•A ZELISS or Zero Evaporation Low Impact Storage System – a gigantic membrane installed on site for water storage. Clean or morbid water can be stored without having to dig up ground to make a pond. Water is encapsulated and thus does not evaporate. The system also eliminates odors. A ZELISS can be expanded to hold up to 8 million gallons, Danzik said.

He noted that much of the water that emerges from wells currently is wasted, but now the water can be cleaned, stored and used – from agriculture to dust abatement and other well site uses. And treating the water on site is much more efficient and cost-effective than trucking it, he said.

The history

Slated to be torn down last year after the middle school consolidated with the high school at a new building in Cowley, the available school facility was mentioned to Danzik by his cousin, Karen Fulbright of Deaver, whose husband, Gary, is on the town council.

Gary Fulbright, fellow councilman LaMoine Sorenson and Rep. Elaine Harvey went to work on the project, giving Danzik a tour of the school campus, and with serious interest expressed, Harvey went to bat with the Wyoming School Facilities Dept., asking the agency to delay bidding for demolishing the school and to also hold onto the money for demolition in case the project were to fall through. School District No. 1 signed a series of short-term leases with Ridgeline while the company studied the school facility.

“What a fun process this has been!” Harvey said during Friday’s ceremony in Deaver. “The council contacted me, and we toured the school with Dennis. He was very excited.”

Since the Town of Deaver had already started to use the school shop facility, having earlier turned the former town shop over to the Deaver-Frannie Fire Dept., Ridgeline agreed to build a new shop for the town on town land, Town Clerk Vana Camp said, and the school district transferred title of the school property over to the town for $10.

Camp said Ridgeline and the town on July 1 signed a five-year lease for the school facility with an option to buy, and all lease money applies to the purhase price.

What’s next?

Work on the school facility is already under way, Danzik said Tuesday, and by early September five employees will be working on site. Manufacturing on a small scale will begin as early as November, though he said it will take until probably the end of July for various Ridgeline manufacturing components to move to Deaver from Virginia, Texas and Arizona.

Work on the school building will include putting in a more efficient boiler system and enlarging the natural gas delivery system.

“We try to use natural gas wherever we can,” Danzik said.

Other than that, however, the building is in great shape thanks to the upkeep performed by the school district over the years including the electrical system, water and sewer infrastructure and the roof.

Looking at the school facility from east to west, Danzik said, the gym will be used for manufacturing, and the current shop will be used for shop work, along with a planned 22,000 square-foot addition to the rear of the property.

The former kitchen and central classroom area will be used as a dormitory for workers who fly in and out and work in the region for various time frames, Danzik said.

“We intend to use Deaver as a home base,” he said.

The original gym/multipurpose room will be used for “high cube warehousing,” Danzik said, with material stacked high.

The central office area will be used for Ridgeline offices, and the rest of the main classroom building will be used for laboratory work.

“Our longest-running division – about 15 years – is Ridgeline Environmental,” Danzik said. “About 25 percent of our overall work load is laboratory work. We have labs at all of our facilities.”

Construction has already started and is moving along, Danzik said Tuesday.

“We already have two people who will transfer from Arizona and start work on Sept. 4,” he said. That will give us three employees plus two temporary employees. Our budget has been worked out for 18 employees this fall and winter.

“We’re hiring them all right now. We’ll have at least one welding crew up and operating in October.”

Danzik said ads will start running in local newspapers next week.

By David Peck

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