Pa. Businesses Share Success Stories During Nat'l Pollution Prevent Week

Pa. Businesses Share Success Stories During Nat'l Pollution Prevent Week

Preventing pollution can also result in energy cost savings, said Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell. The governor is helping small businesses celebrate National Pollution Prevent week, which runs Sept. 18-24.

"Pennsylvania has great examples of businesses that have used technological innovations and new practices to protect resources, cut energy costs, save money and grow our economy, all at the same time," Governor Rendell said. "This week we celebrate their commitment to building a bright and promising future here and protecting our precious resources for generations to come."

Pollution prevention occurs when raw materials, water, energy and other resources are utilized more efficiently and when toxic substances are eliminated from the production process.

"Pollution prevention is one of our best tools to save resources, reduce waste generation and limit harmful emissions," Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said. "Adopting pollution prevention practices can lower a company's operational and environmental compliance costs. These measures protect public health, strengthen our economy and help to clean up our environment." Many businesses in Pennsylvania have experienced firsthand the benefits of implementing pollution prevention and energy efficiency measures, taking advantage of the programs and services that the Rendell administration offers. DEP has been conducting free Pollution Prevention/Energy Efficiency (P2/E2) site visits at businesses and industries across the state since 1995.

The voluntary, non-regulatory visits are intended to identify opportunities for both small and large businesses to conserve energy and resources, prevent product loss and avoid creation of waste/emissions while attempting to increase productivity.

Large and small businesses alike can realize significant benefits from pollution prevention, as the program demonstrates. For example:
  • DEP helped Duquesne Light Co., located in Pittsburgh, identify and reduce sources of hazardous waste. In the first six months of 2005, Duquesne Light decreased its waste emission by 18 percent. This reduction may lead the company to change its generator status from the "Large Quantity Generator" to "Small Quantity Generator" regulatory category, which would save time and money.

  • Kazansky's Deli in Pittsburgh made significant progress and realized substantial savings from its pollution prevention/energy efficiency efforts. As the result of the deli's P2/E2 assessment, the operation converted its purchasing to bulk methods, reducing solid waste by 600 pounds, saving $11,200 per year. It also replaced a malfunctioning drain stopper, replaced a broken toilet with a low-flow model and repaired leaking faucets for a combined savings of $1,500 and 134,000 gallons of water annually. Older light fixtures were replaced with energy efficient lighting retrofits, and less energy efficient kitchen equipment was replaced with higher efficiency appliances, saving the deli $6,000 in annual utility bills.

  • Metlab Potero, a heat treatment company located in Wyndmoor, Montgomery County, used the loan to improve its operation by installing a new cooling water collection and recovery system. The cooling water that previously was discharged after being used to cool its furnace components is now recirculated and reused in its heated rinse tanks. In the past three years, Metlab has saved 2.44 million gallons of water and 2.72 million cubic feet of natural gas. The company also has reported a reduction in waste disposal costs at the same time as reporting an increase in production. The company has realized savings of $173,700 since putting the project in place.

  • Foamex in Corry, Erie County, formerly used methylene chloride as the ingredient to fluff the polyurethane foam it produces. This process at one time made Foamex the largest emitter of methylene chloride in Pennsylvania and the second largest emitter of methylene chloride in the United States. The federal government categorizes methylene chloride as a probable human carcinogen. Several years ago, Foamex began substituting carbon dioxide as the agent that makes the foam rise, and the company totally eliminated the use of methylene chloride in April 2004. This material substitution removes Foamex from the top 10 of the federal Toxic Release Inventory for that specific compound. The milestone was a voluntary commitment by the company, which was one of 11 winners of the 2004 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, for its efforts to preserve and protect the Corry community and surrounding environment.
DEP and the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) administer the Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account (PPAA) loan program to help small businesses implement pollution prevention and energy efficiency projects. Since the program's inception in 1999, the state has received 105 loan applications totaling more than $4.8 million.

More information on the PPAA loan program or pollution prevention is available on DEP's Web site.