Click on the links below for information and updates on key activities that programs in these states have been focusing on.
Welcome to the first issue of NEWMOA's newly redesigned and enhanced Northeast Pollution Prevention & Sustainability News (formerly Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News). The content remains focused on federal, state, and local government efforts in the Northeast to advance sustainability, pollution prevention (P2), and compliance. We have changed the name to reflect a greater emphasis on sustainability in the work of our members and EPA. We hope that you like the new e-delivery format, navigation, and name, and we encourage you to send us your comments and suggestions so that we can continue to make improvements. You can also share the newsletter with your friends and colleagues by using the Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, and email buttons.
Promoting Sustainability & P2 Across Sectors
In this issue, we examine different sector initiatives that various programs in the region have developed, including hospitality, garment cleaning, hazardous waste generators, hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, golf courses, transportation facilities, and restaurants. These are only some of the sector-based outreach and assistance efforts underway in the Region (see the Program Updates for more), but they illustrate the variety of industries and business sectors that can benefit from sustainability, P2, and compliance assistance.
Greening Hospitality in Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) has been conducting a number of outreach initiatives for lodging facilities. The Agency sponsored a webinar on marketing green hotels in September, which featured Rauni Kew of Inn by the Sea in Maine. Agency interns, along with CT DEEP videographer, Judy Prill, created a 90-second promotional video about the Program. The CT Green Lodging Program recently completed two audits to verify the efforts underway at participating facilities. Finally, the fall issue of the “P2 View” newsletter featured exciting initiatives by the Inn at Woodstock Hill. The Inn maintains a garden of vegetables, herbs, and flowers for use in its restaurant; and honeybees on the property to provide fresh honey.
For more information, contact Kim Trella.
Reducing Perc Use by Dry Cleaners in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Environmental Results Program (ERP) has documented significant reductions in the use of perchloroethylene (perc) by Massachusetts dry cleaners over the past thirteen years. Perc exposure can be associated with a number of adverse health effects, including dizziness, headaches, impaired judgment, and cancer. Perc from dry cleaning operations can be a source of groundwater and air contamination.
From 1998 to 2011, the number of cleaners required to certify with the State under the ERP because of their use of perc dropped from 662 to 339; a 48 percent decrease. Of the 197 participants that dropped out of the Program since 2003, 81 have switched to an alternative solvent or wet cleaning, 79 closed, 32 became drop-off facilities, and 5 determined that they are not subject to the State environmental regulations. Overall, the average use of perc by each facility dropped 55 percent, from 152 gallons of perc to 68 gallons per year; and the average generation of hazardous waste decreased by 46 percent.
The Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Administrative Council recently approved an initiative – to be implemented by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Office of Technical Assistance (OTA), and Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI) – to further incentivize dry cleaners to reduce perc, by:
For more information, contact Paul Reilly and Susan Peck.
Reducing Hazardous Waste in New Hampshire
Within the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES), the Pollution Prevention Program (NHPPP) is partnering with the Hazardous Waste Compliance Section (HWCS) to reach out to small and full quantity hazardous waste generators in need of assistance. Both programs hope the generators will first implement P2 measures to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste, and if that is not possible better manage their wastes and ensure compliance.
The NHPPP and HWCS have a productive relationship, and both Programs are excited to expand their partnership. The HWCS benefits by having the NHPPP reach out to companies to assist them with potential compliance issues. NHPPP benefits by having the opportunity to visit companies for compliance assistance and to offer P2 opportunities to facilities they may not otherwise be invited to visit. Generators benefit by having a chance to work with a non-enforcement program to achieve compliance and explore waste reduction strategies.
NHPPP has already visited several sites and is working with one to eliminate 71,000 pounds per year of hazardous waste through the use of product replacement and changes in employee behavior.
For more information, contact Melissa Zych.
Making New York’s Healthcare Sector More Sustainable
In New York State, the healthcare industry includes more than 3,500 establishments and 600,000 employees providing a range of services, including medical laboratories, ambulances, blood and organ banks, and general medical and surgical hospitals. They use a vast amount of resources, including medical supplies, food, energy, and water; and generate such wastes as regulated medical waste (RMW), municipal solid waste (MSW), and wastewater. According to the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals, healthcare facilities are the second most energy-intensive ones in the nation.
Since 2010, the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) has engaged in sustainability outreach and assistance with healthcare facilities. NYSP2I conducted a waste characterization at Rochester General Hospital and found that an estimated 50 percent of the RMW stream was mixed with MSW. RMW disposal costs are nearly ten times more than MSW disposal. Based on the results of this study, the Hospital bolstered its employee education on the mixing of MSW with RMW and worked with NYSP2I to develop and deploy a training program. The Hospital has saved nearly $185,000 in RMW disposal costs since the Program began.
In an effort to better understand the concerns of this sector, engage in a constructive dialogue, and strategically focus its efforts, NYSP2I hosted a roundtable for healthcare institutions in upstate New York in March. The discussion revealed that the facilities are increasingly interested in applying Lean principles in their operations. They also reported a desire for more professional development and education on the benefits of sustainability, particularly through case studies.
For more information, contact Rajiv Ramchandra.
Incorporating Sustainable Energy in Rhode Island WWTFs
Since the fall of 2008, the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) has worked with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), the University of Rhode Island (URI), EPA Region 1, the Rhode Island Manufacturers Extension Service (RIMES), and National Grid on a Sustainable Energy Management Program for Rhode Island’s 19 wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF). The effort includes an Environmental Management System (EMS) approach and consists of facility assessments and follow-up visits to promote practices, procedures, policies, and energy-efficient technologies that will continuously support and sustain WWTF operations into the future.
Annual energy savings realized to date include:
For more information, contact James McCaughey.
Advancing P2 at Vermont Golf Courses
The Vermont Business Environmental Partnership (VBEP), a recognition program that helps businesses achieve environmental excellence, is a joint initiative between the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) and the Vermont Small Business Development Center (SBDC). It includes initiatives for hotels and restaurants, and most recently it expanded to include golf courses. VBEP developed the Green Links Initiative using the same general framework as the other sectors, with requirements specific to golf courses.
The golf course industry in VT is relatively small compared to other states, making it an ideal sector with the potential to affect change. Golf course operators that join the program must meet the following general standards:
In addition, the program asks operators to achieve a golf course-specific standard that includes employee training; preserving and maintaining wildlife habitat; addressing chemical storage and handling practices; protecting water quality; and/or adhering to general facility, clubhouse, and equipment maintenance practices.
Golf course operators receive an onsite visit from VBEP to help identify potential opportunities for change, followed by a compliance assistance visit to address regulatory issues. Once all the facility has addressed its issues and a course is determined to be in good standing with all of VT DEC’s regulatory programs, it is named a “Green Links Course in the Green Mountain State.” To insure that VBEP standards continue to be met, operators are required to complete an environmental management plan and participate in an annual site visit to reinforce best management practices (BMPs) and address any new issues.
For more information, contact Gary Gulka.
Helping to Reduce Diesel Emissions in EPA Region 1
EPA Region 1 has been working to reduce diesel emissions in the freight sector since 2005. The SmartWay Transport Partnership teaches the industry how to save fuel and rewards them for doing so. Since 2004, partners have saved 50 million barrels of oil and 16.5 million metric tons of CO2. Region 1 recruits new partners; helps maximize their efficiency; educates other agencies involved with freight transport; and shows planners how to integrate SmartWay strategies and technologies that minimize idling in facility and land use design. Examples of SmartWay initiatives in Region 1 include the Knowledge Corridor (C3) project, the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s effort to manage Haymarket Square produce businesses, and the Interstate 95 Corridor, all of which are applying SmartWay strategies for planning and problem-solving.
Clean Ports USA provides ports with information on fuel-saving technologies and strategies. As part of this program, the Northeast Diesel Collaborative Ports Workgroup (co-chaired by EPA Regions 1 and 2) meets by conference call every other month to hear from expert speakers and exchange information.
EPA Region 1 provides compliance assistance to reduce idling among locomotives, trucks, and buses. All six of the New England states now have idling limits, and three (MA, CT and RI) are enforceable by EPA. In 2011, Region 1 began outreach on idling to railroads, and in 2012 focused on EPA’s locomotive engine rule, which requires engines that are being rebuilt to install emission and idle reduction devices, which conserve fuel. This integrated enforcement and assistance approach involving public and private stakeholders aims to leverage maximum reductions using limited resources. Region 1 will continue to collaborate with railroads, communities, and agencies to reduce conflict, save fuel, and improve compliance.
For more information, contact Rob Guillemin.
Supporting Green Restaurants in EPA Region 2
EPA Region 2 has awarded two grants to the New York State Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NYSRAEF) to assist restaurants in reducing their energy and water consumption and use of hazardous cleaning chemicals, while saving money. Over the last two years, NYSRAEF has hosted training sessions, produced a “Green Workbook,” and developed the following case studies:
In addition, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commissions (NJMC) is providing outreach to restaurants as part of an overall effort to green the 2014 Super Bowl, which will be held at MetLife stadium in the Meadowlands. Under a grant from EPA Region 2, the NJMC will hold four training workshops for restaurateurs and hospitality personnel, conduct case studies of four to eight restaurants, and develop and distribute a green restaurant workbook.
For more information, contact Alex Peck and Joseph Bergstein.
Promoting Sustainable Lodging in the Northeast
For several years, NEWMOA has supported a regional Sustainable Hospitality Workgroup. The Workgroup has conducted several successful projects, including supporting the National Sustainable Lodging Network, an online network and information clearinghouse to support the work of sustainable hospitality practitioners. The Network celebrated its one year anniversary in September.
The Network currently has over 475 members from lodging facilities, government technical assistance programs, educational institutions, and others. A new feature is “guest blogs,” which highlight ideas from sustainable lodging experts on current priorities and emerging issues to help inform members and foster discussion. Interested writers can check out the Guidance Materials for Blogs for ideas on how to craft a successful blog and how to post on the Network so that they are featured prominently on the site.
Network members are encouraged to actively participate by contributing to Forum Discussions, Blogs, and Events, and sharing Sustainable Practices for hospitality – including publications, videos, tools, and other resources. To find out more about the types of information included on the site, check out the Collection Policy. If you aren’t already a member, sign up to join the conversation.
NEWMOA’s Hospitality Workgroup has also been actively working on improving metrics for green lodging. The culmination of this work is a recently launched Green Lodging Calculator, an online tool to help lodging facilities, government programs, and technical assistance providers estimate the financial and environmental benefits from sustainable practices. Users answer a few simple questions about the lodging operations and activities, and the calculator provides estimates of the resulting environmental outcomes and cost savings. The Calculator contains over 40 individual metrics for 18 practices that lodging facilities might implement, including those that reduce water, energy, chemicals, solid waste, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and save money.
For more information, contact Andy Bray or Rachel Smith.