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Vol. 22 No. 2 Fall 2012

 

FEATURE ARTICLE

Promoting Sustainability & P2 Across Sectors

PROGRAM UPDATES

Click on the links below for information and updates on key activities that programs in these states have been focusing on.

Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
Vermont
EPA Region 1
EPA Region 2
NEWMOA

Back to NEWMOA's P2 Program page

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.

 

PROGRAM UPDATES
Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM)

P2 for WWTFs
Publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) are required to denitrify wastewater due to increased loadings of nitrogen compounds, such as nitrates (NO3-), into the environment.  De-nitrification involves bacteria and chemical reactions that convert nitrogen compounds to nitrogen gas (N2), which is safely returned to the atmosphere.  The bacteria used to denitrify nitrogen-containing compounds need a carbon-based substrate.  Many WWTFs are using methanol, which works well but is expensive and unsafe to work with because of its toxicity and flammability. 

RIDEM has partnered with the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) on a project that involves replacing methanol with a safer glycerin waste by-product from biodiesel manufacturing.  Glycerin is an oily substance that is more benign than methanol, and biodiesel is considered a renewable energy source that is truly sustainable.  If WWTFs can use biodiesel waste in their de-nitrification process for free, it presents a “win-win” situation.  The biodiesel industry could reduce their costs and increase their economic competitiveness by not paying to dispose of this waste byproduct, while WWTFs could avoid having to pay for an unsafe chemical like methanol. 

RIDEM, URI, and NBC are seeking to develop a viable process using biodiesel glycerin, and if successful, promote the diversion of waste vegetable oils from restaurants to local biodiesel facilities.  Though limited de-nitrification studies show promising results, more work is needed to validate the large-scale use of biodiesel glycerin as a carbon source for de-nitrification.  The partners anticipate the dissemination of the project results through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

 

ERP for Construction Sites
Stormwater runoff from construction sites can cause widespread pollution of natural waterways and groundwater.  As runoff flows over areas altered by development, it picks up harmful sediment and pollutants such as oil and grease, pesticides, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), phenols, and nutrients.  These contaminants often become suspended in runoff and are carried to streams, lakes, wetlands, and estuaries.  Due to their significant potential for pollutant runoff, erosion, and sedimentation, RIDEM and the Coastal Resources Management Council have regulated construction site activities since the early 1990s.  Sites greater than one acre require a RI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) Construction Stormwater General Permit and are subject to the Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual requirements.

With funding from EPA, RIDEM and URI are implementing an Environmental Results Program (ERP) designed to improve regulatory compliance and performance at construction sites.  This project assists the sector in its efforts to implement mandatory requirements, adopt best engineering practices leading to improved program efficiencies, and maintain approved Best Management Practice (BMP) controls.  This project will serve as a model for other regulated construction sites.  Results are expected to include reduced impacts to receiving waters from contaminant sources, improved program efficiencies related to state and federal regulatory compliance provisions, reduced costs related to non-compliance and technology failures associated with improperly installed and/or maintained BMPs, and reduced pollutant runoff from construction sites through the application of a project-specific ERP-based model. 

 

Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC)

Wind Turbines at NBC
During the spring and summer, NBC worked with National Grid to turn on the 4.5 megawatt (MW) Wind Farm at the Field’s Point WWTF in Providence.  During times of high wind, the turbines can generate as much as twice the instantaneous power demand of the WWTF.  Interconnection to the local grid will allow for the export of power that can then be brought back into the facility during times of low wind.

For more information, contact James McCaughey.

 

ERP for Fats, Oils, & Grease
NBC developed an ERP for the food service industry to help improve the management of fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) by local restaurants through a combination of compliance assistance, voluntary self-evaluation, regulatory inspections, and certification.  NBC completed a BMP Workbook in April and initiated outreach activities to assist and educate the local food service industry on implementing these BMPs. 

For more information, contact James McCaughey.

 

Awards for P2 Service
As part of the annual Environmental Merit Awards Program, the NBC recognized URI’s Center for Pollution Prevention with a 2011 Pollution Prevention Environmental Merit Award for its work to prevent industrial pollution and to educate and prepare students to find sustainable and cost effective solutions to environmental problems. 

The Center has helped RI businesses reduce and prevent pollution for 25 years, providing free engineering consultations to more than 500 companies.  The faculty and staff provides technical assistance relating to water discharges, hazardous wastes, solid wastes, air emissions, and energy issues, in such industries as metal finishing, textiles, seafood processing, and auto body repair.  Research conducted by the Center helps to educate and prepare students to find sustainable and cost effective solutions to environmental problems.  P2 case studies and concepts are taught in an upper level course every year.

NBC presented the Providence Community Health Centers, Inc. with a Stormwater Management Award.  The new stormwater management system installed on the site eliminates the entire amount of stormwater flows during 2-, 10-, and 100-year storm events to the NBC combined sewer system.  NBC also recognized the 20 companies for having achieved perfect regulatory compliance in 2011.