Pennsylvania Honors 16 for Environmental Innovation

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) will honor 16 businesses and organizations with 2010 Governor's Awards at a gala dinner on April 20 in Harrisburg.

The awards are presented each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to highlight the best in environmental innovation and expertise throughout the Commonwealth. The awards are the highest statewide honor bestowed upon businesses and organizations for environmental performance and innovation from cleaning up watersheds, saving energy, and eliminating pollution, to reducing waste and more.

Don Welsh, PEC president and chief executive officer, said, "It is our hope that by showcasing the outstanding efforts of organizations, businesses and individuals throughout the Commonwealth, that we can inspire new generations of environmental stewards."

Sponsors for this year's event include FirstEnergy, Crayola, LLC, Dominion, Gannett Fleming, Groundwater Sciences Corporation,Crisci Associates and Pennsylvania Beverage Association.

This year's award winners are:

  • Aqua PA Inc. - Chester County; Babb Creek Watershed Association - Lycoming County; BigBelly Solar Trash Collection - Philadelphia; Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy - Lancaster County; Buckman's Inc. - Montgomery County; Carlisle Area School District - Cumberland County; Crayola, LLC - Northampton County;<.li>
  • Earth Conservancy - Huber III Mine Rec. Project - Luzerne Co.; Jerry Feldman / Jerry's Car Wash-Allegheny and Butler counties; Giant Eagle Supermarkets - Western Pa., and Eastern Ohio; Keystone Industrial Port Complex - Bucks County; Lycoming County Community Gas Exploration Task Force;
  • Lancaster Co. Conservation District - Lancaster Co.; Tom Murphy - PSU Cooperative Extension - Lycoming County; Penn National Racecourse & Hollywood Casino -Dauphin County; Voith Hydro - York County.

A Sampling of Award-winning Projects

Aqua Pennsylvania's 1.04 MW solar farm in East Bradford Township was commissioned on Dec. 23, 2009, just 56 days after construction began. The solar array is comprised of 4,400 photovoltaic modules on a former sedimentation basin behind Aqua's Ingram's Mill Water Treatment Plant along the Brandywine Creek. The 4.5 acre tract was available for this "green" project due to previous upgrading efforts to a more efficient water treatment process at the plant. Aqua was awarded a $1 million Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) grant to assist with the project's financing. The PEDA grant was derived from American Reinvestment and Recovery (ARRA) funds. Aqua complemented the grant with $4.8 million in matching funds. The solar farm is expected to generate 30,000,000 kWh over its 25-year projected life.

Through an agreement with DEP, the Babb Creek Watershed Association managed operations of a large one-of-a-kind water treatment facility that uses a byproduct from limemaking to treat a very large volume of abandoned mine discharge. By 2009, the group had restored more than 14 miles of Babb Creek that were on the state's 303(d) list of impaired waters. The association continues to monitor and manage all of the acid mine drainage treatment projects in the watershed to ensure the continued success of the restoration effort.

BigBelly produces trash cans with solar-powered compactors for use in municipal/college situations. The City of Philadelphia installed 500 of the streetside trash compactors and intends to purchase 260 more with (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) funds from the Department of Energy. The cans are completely enclosed, eliminating vermin and birds that feed on trash, and can hold up to five traditional cans full of trash before being emptied. This reduces fuel use and collection costs by 80 percent and will save the city $13 million over the next 10 years.

Keystone Industrial Port Complex (formerly US Steel - Fairless Works) is one of the country's most successful brownfield sites. The site has been transformed into an eco-industrial park with tenants involved in renewable energy manufacturing, metals and coal recycling, soil reuse, and electrical power production from landfill gas. Gamesa (wind blade manufacturing), AE Polysilicon (solar panel manufacturing), and Osstem (dental implant manufacturing) are currently tenants at the facility. The complex recently signed a Sustainability Partnership with EPA to enhance environmental opportunities for current and future tenants. There are also solar panels on an adjacent landfill owned by Waste Management. All of the electricity generated at the PECO/Exelon plant, which runs on landfill gas from the WMI landfills, goes to the complex system; the electricity which is not consumed is sent to the grid. The electricity generated at the Epuron / Conergy solar field located on WMI property (on-line about a year ago) goes directly to PECO, outside the complex.

The Penn National Racing facility of Grantville, Pa. reclaims and reuses its wastewater. An advanced wastewater treatment plant also filters phosphorus and reduces nutrients before discharging to a stream. Reclaimed water is chlorinated then dyed blue and sent to be used for toilet and urinal flushing. Penn National is one of the first facilities to install reuse technology and to be permitted under the EPA Reuse and draft DEP Reuse Manuals.

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