Conquering Core Challenges

Our five Facilities of the Year show that hard work and smart business practices can create better financial and environmental results

With great pride, we present the five winners of our annual Facilities of the Year Competition. These facilities represent a wide variety of industrial sectors and geographical locations. Despite their diversity, however, they all share the trait of having dedicated personnel who are successful problem solvers. The environmental staff at these facilities demonstrate every day their leadership skills by showing their strong beliefs in the importance of protecting the environment, articulating and acting on those beliefs, and being held accountable for the results. We all can learn from the tenacity demonstrated by these hard-working environmental professionals who deal effectively with challenges at their facilities, such as hazardous waste management, promoting water reuse, and controlling air pollution.

Panasonic Shikoku Electronics Corporation of America – Vancouver, Wash. A division of Matsushita Electric of Japan, this facility manufactures combination televisions (TV/DVD/VCR and TV/DVD), as well as multimedia display (MMD) projection televisions under the Panasonic name. It manufactures all injection mold polystyrene parts for the televisions, paints and prints them, and assembles them with components from its sister facilities. This year, it received the state of Washington Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices for 2006. This award was based upon the facility’s elimination in its plastic molded parts of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), a substance that is suspected of causing irreparable damage to the nervous and reproductive systems. Additionally, the plant was recognized for meeting criteria under the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive for lead-free solder, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and mercury. The facility recycles more than 90 percent of its solid waste and sends very little to be landfilled. The facility has received other awards for environmental excellence: the Port of Vancouver Environmental Stewardship Award in 2004 and the Brag Award from the city of Vancouver, Wash. in 2000.

Tyson Foods Wastewater Treatment Facility – Cumming, Ga. This plant treats wastewater generated from the processing of poultry for human consumption. In recent years, the facility has upgraded its operations through the installation of a supervisory control and data acquisition system andthe reconfiguration of its two-stage system into a three-stage Bardenpho system, which greatly reduced effluent nitrate levels. The facility strives to conserve water and recaptures approximately 250,000 gallons of effluent on a monthly basis. The Georgia Association of Water Professionals has recognized the plant twice in recent times by naming it the 2006 Direct Wastewater Discharge, Biological Industrial Wastewater Plant of the Year and in 2005 awarding it the Direct Wastewater Discharge, Biological Treatment Certificate of Achievement. In 2005, the facility won the American Meat Institute’s Tier 1 Environmental Recognition Program (MAPS) Award. Additionally, the facility has received the Tyson Foods Environmental Stewardship Award (2006) and the Forsyth County Adopt-A-Road Business of the Year Award (2005).

Exelon Corporation – Chicago, Ill. One of the nation’s largest electric utilities, this company has a nationwide reach and strong positions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. In 2007, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded Exelon with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum Commercial Interiors (CI) Certification.Exelon’s new corporate headquarters is the largest office space in the world to be LEED-CI certified at the platinum level. In its new headquarters, Exelon has reduced electricity consumption by more than 43 percent and water consumption by 30 percent as compared to its previous space. From workstations, offices and conference rooms, all employees have outside views so they can benefit from natural light. In addition, air quality was improved through the use of low-emitting materials, paints, carpeting, furniture and finishes, and the installment of high-density air filters. Three-quarters of the construction waste was recycled or sal-vaged. Additionally, Excelon is buying renewable energy certificates to offset 100 percent of the electricity used for the office space from regional, Green-e certified wind power.

Littleton/Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant – Englewood, Colo. Located in the southwestern suburban area of Denver, the facility is a jointly owned tertiary level municipal treatment plant that serves approximately 300,000 residents. The plant’s management focuses on permit compliance, cost-effective operation, worker safety and odor control. By implementing improved process control and field monitoring programs, the facility reduced operating costs and reduced capital construction costs. The plant’s biosolids management program includes a long-term biosolids research program and a long-term involvement with the Rocky Mountain Water Environment (RMWEA) biosolids committee. The facility has won numerous awards in recent years that include the following: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8’s Excellence Award for Operations and Maintenance (first place in 2006, second place in 2005, and first place in 2001); EPA’s National Excellence Award for Operations and Maintenance (first place in 2001 and second place in 1996); EPA National Biosolids Research Award (first place in 1999); and the RMWEA Biosolids Management Merit Award (1996, 1998, and 2003).

Siltronic Corporation – Portland, Ore. Siltronic, one of the world’s top manufacturers of hyperpure silicon wafersand supplier to many leading chip manufacturers, has a strong record of environmental leadership. The facility has been ISO 14001 certified for several years. At the facility, several water management projects have reduced water consumption. One example is the development of two systems that take water that no longer meets wafer-production purity criteria and use it in exhaust scrubbers. This enables the plant to save about 300,000 cubic meters of water annually. During the past several years, the Portland facility has received a number of awards: the 2007 EPA National Environmental Performance Track Large Facility Annual Award for exemplary environmental performance; the 2006 Environmental Leadership and Support of Renewable Power from Portland General Electric; the 2002 Distinguished Member of Business Recycling Awards Group; and the 2005, 2004 and 2003, 2002, and 2000 Environmental Excellence Awards from the city of Portland for perfect performance of wastewater treatment operations.

Honorable Mention for Environmental Achievment

City of Albuquerque Aviation Department, Albuquerque, N.M., received the Water Conservation Award from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties of New Mexico for incorporation of effective stormwater management design and the use of innovative landscaping with xeric plants at the entrance to the Albuquerque International Airport.

American Proteins, Inc., Hanceville, Ala., the largest poultry product recycling (rendering) facility in the world, received the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Clean Water Award in the Full Treatment Category in 2004 and also won the Alabama Water Environmental Association’s Award for Excellence in Industrial Wastewater Treatment for Physical /Biological Treatment Processes in 2001.

American Synthetic Rubber Co., LLC, Louisville, Ky., was honored in 2006 by becoming the first chemical company in Kentucky to be accepted into the EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track Program and also was named as a Master Member of KY EXCEL, the environmental leadership program established in 2006 by Kentucky’s Environment and Public Protection Cabinet.

Anheuser-Busch, Jacksonville Brewery, Jax, Fla., was named the recipient of two awards by the Jacksonville Electric Authority: the 2006 Platinum Award for a significant industrial wastewater discharger that has achieved outstanding performance in pretreatment and the Environmental Stewardship Award for achieving 100 percent compliance in 2006.

BMW Manufacturing Co., Greer, S.C., became in May 2006 the world’s first automotive manufacturer to use recycled methane gas to provide energy to its paint shop. The facility is a charter member of EPA’s National Performance Track program and also a member of the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program.

BWXT Y-12, Oak Ridge, Tenn., is a management operations contractor for the Y-12 National Security Complex, which is involved with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Weapons Complex. In 2006, it received five Pollution Prevention Awards from the National Nuclear Security Administration. It also was given the 2006 White House Closing the Circle Award for outstanding environmental stewardship.

Centocor Biologics, LLC, St. Louis, Mo., was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver Certification by the U.S Green Building Council for the construction of the site’s Building 2 office interior as a “green” building. The building is expected to result in a 35-percent reduction in potable water usage and a 39 percent reduction in electrical energy usage.

U.S. Department of Energy Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Princeton, N.J., received in 2006 from the state of New Jersey an Outstanding Achievement Award for Recycling based on the facility’s sustained recycling performance. PPPL has increased its solid waste recycling rate to more than 50 percent and continues to meet or exceed the federal government’s recycling target for 2010.

H.J. Heinz, Ontario, Ore., is a part of the largest diversified frozen food companies in the United States. The Ontario facility focuses on water reduction and reuse of treated water. It won the Water Environment Federation’s Outstanding Achievement in Industrial Water Quality in 2001. Competing against 20 other Heinz North American plants, the Ontario facility won the following Heinz North American Internal Awards: 2006 and 2004 Water Conservation, 2003 Environmental Excellence, 2003 Energy Conservation, and 2003 Waste Minimization.

Mettallurg Vanadium Corp, Cambridge, Ohio, is a supplier of a wide range of products and services for the metals, manufacturing, refinery and petrochemical industries. The Cambridge facility has found innovative uses for most of its byproducts by creating secondary commercial products, such as REVAN™ and FeNiMoly™, from what would otherwise be waste. Currently, the plant is moving toward the goal of being a zero-waste operation.

Samuel Steel Pickling, Twinsburg, Ohio, is an acid pickler that is committed to a better environment through education of its employees. The facility offers Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Training to any employee who shows an interest. In addition, the plant partners with the local community college to set up training, such as wastewater treatment educational programs, in order to improve the job performance of its workers in relation to environmental duties.

Tyson Foods, Noel, Mo., is a facility that specializes in processing poultry for human consumption. During the last three years, the facility has received the following recognition for environmental excellence: EPA Region 7’s Pollution Prevention Award (Honorable Mention in 2006); U.S. Poultry and Egg Association Clean Water Award (Runner Up in the Full Treatment Plant Category in 2006); American Meat Institute’s Tier III Award (2006); Friends of the Elk River Water Improvement Association’s Founder Award (2006, 2005 and 2004); and Tyson’s Gold Achievement Award (2006 and 2005).

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc., Georgetown, Ky., is an automotive manufacturing plant that became ISO 14001 certified in 1998. In 2006, the facility became one of 16 master level members of KY EXCEL, a state government program that recognizes environmental excellence. It also became one of 17 first-time recipients of EPA’s Energy Star award in recognition of its energyefficient operations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tyson Foods, Berryville, Ark., is a facility that specializes in processing poultry for human consumption. The Berryville/Green Forest facility recently initiated a recycling program in which is reclassified a portion of its solid waste as a commodity. During 2006, the facility recycled 2,000 tons of cardboard. In 2006, the American Meat Institute gave the plant the Environmental Maps Award Program Tier 1 Award for its commitment to the environment.

Township of Wayne’s Mountain View Wastewater Treatment Plant, Wayne, N.J., is a single stage nitrification system with a 13.5 million gallon per day flow. In 2007, the facility won the Association of Environmental Authorities’ Wave Award for Best Management Practices based upon the plant personnel inventing a method to keep thihalomethanes, suspected cancer-causing substances, from forming while still using chlorination. The new method does not use any additional power nor have any impact on chronic bioassays.

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

About the Author

Angela Neville, JD, REM, is the former editorial director of Environmental Protection.

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