COMPTON — Nearly 1,000 residents joined county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Aja Brown and Compton City Council members Janna Zurita, Emma Sharif and Isaac Galvan July 18 at the second annual open house at the DeMenno/Kerdoon (DK) oil recycling plant here.
“DeMenno/Kerdoon is the largest oil recycler in the western United States and an important player in the green economy that is protecting our environment,” company spokesman Rick Taylor said.
The event at the DK facility at 2000 N. Alameda St. featured a community breakfast, educational tours of the facility and popular activities for children, including face-painting and balloon art. School-age children also received free backpacks and school supplies.
“Thousands of people drive by this facility every day and when the Roth brothers open their doors and embrace the community it’s a great day,” said Marvin Hunt, director of the Compton Department of Parks and Recreation.
DK owners — brothers Rob and Steve Roth — greeted guests at the event.
“I think the community is grateful to have the opportunity to participate in our open house and we’re grateful for the great partnership we have come to have with this community,” said Steve Roth.
“This is a wonderful event,” said a beaming Melissa Abrams, who lives near the DK facility. Abrams’ three children, Michelle, Deante and Jaden, were standing in line with their father, Rod, to receive gifts of balloon art and have Deante’s face-painted to look like a lion.
Many of the participating residents also joined the educational tours of the plant.
DK lab manager Cyrus Pourhassanian led one tour group of 15 that included teenagers and adults, all wearing hard-hats and safety glasses.
As recently as 25 years ago, Pourhassanian told the group, the vast amount of used motor oil in California and the western U.S. ended up being dumped in landfills or into storm drains, polluting the ocean and contaminating groundwater supplies.
But that’s not happening anymore thanks to new pollution regulations and the advanced recycling techniques used by firms like DK.
DK annually collects, cleans and recycles 60 million gallons of used motor, acquiring it from over 20,000 customers throughout California and the west, including automotive repair and maintenance chains like Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys, and government agencies with large automobile fleets.
The oil DK buys comes into the company’s Compton plant used and dirty but leaves the plant clean and ready to be used again as low-sulfur marine diesel fuel and as an ingredient used in asphalt paving material.
Later, Pourhassanian led his group to DK’s state-of-the-art computer center where all the engineering and chemistry used in the plant’s recycling process is carefully controlled and monitored by DK’s professional staff.
DK’s green technology also is used to recycle about 4 million gallons of anti-freeze every year.
In addition to its annual open house, DK also hosts a quarterly cleanup of nearby Compton Creek; hires many of its employees from the Compton community; sponsors a Dr. Seuss reading program at Jefferson Elementary School; and donates generously to Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton and to a scholarship program that encourages Compton Unified School District students to attend college.
“DeMenno/Kerdoon is one of the biggest and most caring businesses in Compton,” said Benjamin Holifield, president of the Compton Business Chamber of Commerce. “Events like this demonstrate DK’s commitment to this community.”