Our five Facilities of the Year are promoting profitable business practices while also striving to make long-term positive impacts on the environment
- By Angela Neville
- Sep 01, 2006
We are proud to showcase
the five exceptional winners of our eleventh annual Facilities of the Year Competition,
which represent a variety of backgrounds and geographical areas. The dedicated
personnel of these facilities have demonstrated they had the patience to figure
out ways to improve their environmental performance and the savvy to implement
such changes effectively. These top facilities have been singled out for outstanding
achievements by governmental regulators, trade associations, and other professional
Montenay York Resource Energy
System's York Resource Recovery Center
Operated by Montenay York, the waste-to-energy (WTE) facility has processed
over 6 million tons of municipal solid waste and has generated over 3 million
megawatt hours of electricity since 1989. Serving more than 400,000 residents
of York County, the Center is keeping pace with the county's annual trash
growth rate of 3.7 percent by successfully handling the growing load.
Montenay York constructed an ash
recycling center at the facility in 1998 to separate metal and recycled ash
and has processed over 1 million tons of ash, recovered over 116,000 tons of
metals, and converted over 775,000 tons of ash to Aggite for use as asphalt
base, fill material, or landfill cover. Even $10,000 in coins is extracted each
month. Unburned residue is returned to the WTE plant for reprocessing to maximize
recovery. The center also helps promote proactive programs, such as recycling
collections for electronics, mercury, household hazardous waste, batteries,
phone books, and yard wastes. Such efforts have resulted in York County ranking
among the high percentiles of recycling in Pennsylvania.
Montenay York was selected as an
Occupational & Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)
Star Worksite in 2001, was certified as an ISO-14001 facility in 2003 and then
chose to become a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
(EPA) Performance Track Association in 2005.
Cargill Meat Solutions
Ranked as one of North America's largest beef processors, Cargill wanted to
address toxic air pollutants and odor issues associated with the two anaerobic
wastewater treatment lagoons located at its Friona processing facility. It decided
to partner with EA Engineering, Science and Technology Inc. in order to turn
methane emissions generated from its facility's beef processing into a
business asset. EA designed and installed an automated biogas recovery system
to recover methane from the lagoons. The system, which was approved by the Texas
Commission of Environmental Quality, successfully alleviates toxic and greenhouse
gas emissions and controls odors while producing approximately 20 to 30 percent
of the fuel used by the facility's boilers.
Operating on a continuous basis,
the system recovers, on average, 800 cubic feet of biogas (methane and hydrogen
sulfide) per day with a monthly gas value of approximately $110,000 (at $6.50
per thousand cubic feet). The Cargill/EA team is currently preparing an application
for Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases for the U.S. Department of Energy
(Form E1A-1605), which will prove valuable if the United States develops a national
or international greenhouse gas credit trading policy.
The facility's system has received
several awards for its innovative design: 2005 Design-Build Institute of American
Ward of Excellence, 2005 Texas Environmental Excellence Award, and 2004 America
Academy of Environmental Engineering Award of Honor.
Since 1971, 3M's facility in Brookings has manufactured medical drapes, tapes,
and masks. In 2005, which turned out to be a landmark year, the facility had
several major accomplishments. The Brookings facility joined EPA's Performance
Track program, and committed to the agency to reduce its volatile organic compound
emissions, non-transportation energy use, water use, and non-hazardous waste.
Likewise, that same year, the facility was accepted by the U.S. Occupational
Safety & Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)
as a STAR facility. OSHA recognized the facility as having a "tremendous
occupational medicine and wellness program," exceptional machine guarding,
high quality safety databases, and a knowledgeable safety staff.
During the same year, it also completed
40 Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) projects -- a record for the facility. Together
these projects prevented approximately 1,500 tons of pollution and 28,000 metric
tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. All together, these
3P projects saved 3M more than $3,800,000.
In 2005, the 3M's upper management
awarded the facility two prestigious internal awards: the Chairman's EHS Award
reducing its solid waste by nearly 30 percent and the 3M Platinum Energy Award
for cutting its energy use by approximately 50 percent.
Additionally, the Brookings facility is working toward certification of its
site by the Wildlife Habitat Council. As part of its effort, in 2005 it improved
its site by adding 30 blue bird houses and a bat box, and by preparing and seeding
13 acres to construct a prairie.
Roche Palo Alto
Palo Alto, Calif.
The Roche Palo Alto facility is one of five global research centers that are
focused on clinical development of new medicines to treat diseases. Eco-efficiency
and pollution prevention are high priorities for Roche. In 1995, the facility
launched an energy reduction program. During the past four years alone, the
program has helped the facility reduce electricity consumption by 35 percent,
natural gas consumption by more than 30 percent, and water use by more than
25 percent. Additionally, the facility is in the process of transitioning about
70 percent of the lawns to drought-tolerant landscaping and already seeing water
savings of more than 50 percent.
The Roche center's waste management
efforts include innovative recycling programs for a wide variety of materials,
such as plastic bags, electronic devices, landscape debris, Styrofoam, cardboard,
magazines and mixed paper. In 2004, the facility sent a substantial portion
(145 metric tons) of its solid waste to recycling centers rather than the local
Employees at the facility volunteer
their time during business hours to one of several local environmental cleanup
or restoration projects. The company provides further incentives by donating
$50 for each employee who volunteers to a related non-profit organization.
During the past six years, the Roche
facility has received a number of awards, including the 2002 San Francisco Bay
Business Network Environmental Award in the category of pollution prevention
and resource conservation, and the 2006 Pacific Industrial & Business Association's
Organizational Leadership Award for building a more sustainable Bay Area.
The global automotive manufacturer DaimlerChrysler has a large manufacturing
plant in Toluca, which is the capital of the State of Mexico and is located
about 40 miles west of Mexico City. In 1998, the Toluca facility built a new
centralized wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to replace eight smaller, separate
treatment facilities located throughout the complex. The WWTP currently treats
sanitary and manufacturing process water from the facility's stamping and assembly
plants, centralizes the facility's used water, and addresses local water shortages
and strict environmental discharge standards.
Since installing the wastewater recovery
system that uses a zero liquid-discharge process, the Toluca facility has reduced
water well consumption by 50 percent, which is extending the life of the local
aquifer. In addition, the facility saves approximately U.S. $1 million annually.
With its new ZLD system, the Toluca
plant is capable of treating more than 550,000 gallons per day (gpd); currently,
however, it only uses about 250,000 gpd of water in its processing operations.
Of that, it recovers more than 95 percent, which greatly reduces the amount
of water it must withdraw from the receding local aquifer.
The facility has received a number
of awards: the 2002 DaimlerChrysler Recognition award, the 2003 Society of Automotive
Engineers International Environmental Excellence Award, the 2004 State of Mexico
Environmental Award, and the 2005 Municipal Environmental Award from the Toluca
for Environmental Achievers
Corporation Chowchilla, Calif., which specializes in the manufacture
of fiber glass insulation, has achieved virtually zero discharge of its
manufacturing scrap into California landfills. The facility collects and
recycles large amounts of waste, including electrostatic precipitator
dust, extraneous glass matter called "slag," cardboard and unused
facing, plastic packaging, wooden pallets, and uncured insulation.
Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, Dover, Del., in December
2005 was admitted into the environmental management system (EMS) program
of the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP). It is the first wastewater
treatment plant in the country to be certified under the NBP, ISO 14001,
and the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Management System (OHSAS)
Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, has been an EPA Natural Gas Star
Program partner since 2000. Participation in the program prompted the
facility to voluntarily minimize fugitive emissions, leading to an annual
gas savings of 10.5 million cubic feet. In 2004, Questar improved its
air compliance program by adopting an environmental management information
Inc., Troy, Mich., was presented with the 2005 Environmental
Achievement Award by the Environmental Management Association for developing
a new product known as a "paint detackifier," which is used
in wet paint spray booths in the automotive and industrial sectors. The
product's unique main ingredient, chitosan, is derived from crab, lobster,
and shrimp shells that otherwise would be treated as a waste product.
Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Princeton, N.J., which is the
U.S. Department of Energy's collaborative national center for plasma and
fusion science, received the 2006 DOE Noteworthy Practice Award for its
extensive use of bio-based products. PPPL recently joined the U.S. Green
Building Council and has begun to transform its buildings in accordance
with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
Gas & Electric's Palomar Energy Center, San Diego, Calif.,
is a new state-of-the-art power plant that produces 45 percent more electricity
than older facilities that use the same amount of natural gas. The plant
is operated on 100 percent recycled water, including cooling and process
water, irrigation, and fire protection. The facility also has the lowest
carbon monoxide emissions among power plants in Southern California.
Security Corp., Glendale, Wis., manufactures more than 50 million
locks and keys per year for the North American transportation industry.
Since 2000, the facility has successfully eliminated the use of several
hazardous materials, including hexavalent decorative chromium plating,
caustic, and toxic zinc cyanide plating bath. As well, in 2005 the facility
saved 6 million gallons of water through increased efficiency.
Meats Inc., Dakota City, Neb., specializes in meat packing and
rendering and also operates a blue chrome tannery. In 2005, the facility
implemented an environmental management system to ensure regulatory compliance.
Additionally, the plant has begun using scrubbed biogas from its covered
anaerobic lagoon and beef tallow as fuel sources for its boilers.
This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.
Angela Neville, JD, REM, is the former editorial director of Environmental Protection.