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Safe Drains hopes to locate operations in Bremerton

An international company that makes filters for storm drains wants to locate a production plant in Bremerton and is looking at the best economic fit for the company.

Ken Perry, regional sales manager for the northwest division of Safe Drains, made a presentation to the Port of Bremerton commissioners last week. He said the port’s Olympic Industrial Park is one of the locations he’s scouting for the business.

Safe Drains International, a 10-year-old company, designs, manufactures and installs stainless steel storm drains with spill containment inserts.  Perry said the company currently operates in California but is looking for a location in the Pacific Northwest in order to export to Pacific Rim countries.

“We’ve secured the exporting rights to sell to the Pacific Rim,” he said. “And we need a location here in order to do that.”

Perry said he spoke with the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance and has looked at property in the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA).

He said the final decision will be based on what’s the best deal for the company.

Commissioner Larry Stokes assured him that the port wanted the business and would work with him.

“We’re here for you,” Stokes said. “We want you here. We’ll do everything we can to get you to come here.”

At the meeting, Perry said the only drawback to the port’s industrial park, versus locating in South Kitsap, is that the company would have to pay B&O taxes if it locates on port property. The city of Bremerton charges business and occupation taxes and the port’s industrial park is within the city limits of Bremerton.

“We’re primed to be a billion dollar company within the next five years,” he said. “For us, the B&O taxes are something we have to look at.”

But later, Perry said port officials told him there is an area of the port’s industrial park which is exempt to those taxes, and hence, the company is meeting with real estate officials and plans to pursue a location at the port.

Jim Rothlin, Port CEO, confirmed that the Olympic Industrial Park is exempt from the city’s B&O taxes and said that was part of an agreement with the city when the port’s property was annexed into Bremerton.

Perry said when the company locates to the Bremerton area, it would employ 60 to 80 people within the first five years. It’s looking for a 15,000 to 25,000 square-foot manufacturing building where there will be stainless steel fabrication and assembly.

Last year, the company sold 20,000 drains at a cost of $2,000 to $4,000 each, he said. Installation of the Safe Drains inserts takes from two to three hours, depending on the size.

“Right now our customers include airports, NASA and Costco,” he said. “In an average Costco parking lot, there are 30 catch basins which we’ve fit with our products.”

The military and the U.S. government have also purchased these, he said.

Perry emphasized that the filters would be made in California and that the work in Washington will include steel fabrication. He said the company may contract with others for some of that and that he is confident the company can find excellent steel craftsmen in the area.

“We are in an great area to find skilled craftsmen because of the Navy yard being here,” he said.

The port’s industrial park is a great location, Perry said, because of its access to the airport and to rail.

Perry said he hopes to have an announcement on a location within a month.

According to the company’s website, the Safe Drain patented family of products are easily installed in virtually any size or shape storm drain, enabling the end user to protect their storm drains from hazardous material spills and storm water borne pollutants.

Safe Drain products provide quick, easy and cost effective 100 percent compliance with EPA storm water pollution prevention regulations, the website states.

“We are a business who understands that clean water is everyone’s business,” states their website. “At Safe Drain we strive to ensure safe water to keep the environment free of pollutants. With an unprotected storm drain, hazardous material spills into a nearby storm drain. The hazmat response team reacts too late with traditional sand bags, mats, etc. Clean up costs for the contaminated storm drain system can be very expensive.

Safe Drain Technology Protection is the best available technology for protecting businesses and the environment.”

Perry emphasized that the technology of these drains is always advancing and will soon have automatic shut off valves that will activate in times of spills.

“Once the hardware is in place, that’s permanent,” he said. “But upgrades to the filters and other advancements will continually be advancing.”

To date, Safe Drains’ products are in 44 states and three foreign countries. For more information, go to www.safedrain.com.

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