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Gov. Blagojevich lauds businesses and organizations for achievements in pollution prevention     Send a link to a friend

[OCT. 23, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Thursday Gov. Rod Blagojevich named 15 Illinois companies and organizations as winners of the Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards for significant achievements in helping the environment and the economy.

"The award winners are leaders in their industries because of their ongoing commitment to the environment, their communities and their employees," Gov. Blagojevich said. "Many of them have sustained pollution prevention programs over a number of years, striving to find new ways to reduce waste and show how pollution prevention is good for our economy and for retaining and creating jobs in Illinois."

The 18th annual Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards were presented in Glen Ellyn during a luncheon hosted by the Waste Management and Research Center, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"The exceptional accomplishments of these companies in reducing, reusing and recycling waste and improving air and water quality are enhancing our environment and conserving valuable natural resources," said Joel Brunsvold, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The pollution prevention projects saved the honored companies and organizations millions of dollars in material and disposal costs. The companies and organizations also prevented hundreds of tons of waste materials from being released into the environment and saved millions of gallons of water from being sent to treatment facilities.

Applicants were judged in a statewide competition on criteria including technological innovation, environmental significance, economic benefits and commitment to pollution prevention. Waste Management and Research Center pollution prevention engineers reviewed the applications, while the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency determined company environmental compliance.

"Again this year, we were impressed with the variety and quality of the projects undertaken by the award-winning companies," said George Vander Velde, director of the Waste Management and Research Center. "These businesses and organizations have proven that pollution prevention makes good sense for the environmental and economic health of Illinois. They have achieved their pollution prevention goals and saved millions of dollars in pollution control, waste disposal, energy and raw material costs."

Information on the Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards program and technical assistance on pollution prevention are available from the Waste Management and Research Center, One Hazelwood Drive, Champaign, IL 61820; phone (217) 333-8940; www.wmrc.uiuc.edu.

Winners of the 2004 Governor's Pollution Prevention Award

Large industry category

Behr Process Corporation in Chicago Heights manufactures stains, varnishes and paints and is committed to meeting and exceeding environmental regulatory requirements whenever possible. Behr Process Corporation is an ISO 14001-certified company. Behr plastic pails and cans are made with post-consumer plastics so that they may be recycled. The company saved approximately $6,000 by recycling and has diverted approximately 479 tons of recyclable material from disposal. Behr Process Corporation not only prevents waste but also buys recycled products.

The Crown Cork & Seal USA Inc. facility in Aurora coats and decorates metal sheets for the eventual fabrication of cans and ends at other locations. The project implemented was to reduce and eventually eliminate the backwash solvent used on two sheet-coating lines. Prior to implementing the projects, Crown used in excess of 23,000 gallons of solvent and disposed of 375,000 pounds of hazardous waste. The total amount spent on these items was in excess of $300,000 per year. Crown developed a method for recycling the waste solvent generated so that the waste material would never leave company property and the risk of contamination from other waste would be eliminated. The purchase of virgin solvent was reduced from 23,000 gallons to 3,100 gallons, and hazardous waste disposal was reduced from 375,000 pounds to 234,000 pounds. In total, the establishment of the program generated annual cost savings of $129,000. Crown made a modification to the coaters that allows them to operate without the use of the backwash solvent, and the company continues to recycle the small amount of solvent used on the two coaters. As a result, plantwide disposal of hazardous waste was reduced another 77,000 pounds and total costs decreased another $71,000.

GM Electro-Motive in LaGrange manufactures and rebuilds diesel engines and locomotive components. The facility generates a variety of waste materials from the manufacturing and testing operations, including used oils, cutting fluids, alkaline cleaners, paint and solvents, concrete, pallets, scrap wood, cardboard, and paper. These materials are segregated and recycled using an environmental management system. GM Electro-Motive has reduced the disposal of caustic liquid solutions by 1,200 gallons per year at a savings of $2,500 per year. Product substitution of xylene with "Simple Green" in engine cleaning reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated and disposed of by 2,000 pounds and saved $1,500 per year. By segregating used oils, the facility increased the amount recycled by 35 tons, decreased the amount going for secondary fuel at a savings of $3,500 per year and eliminated 80 tons of water in sludge that would be sent for disposal offsite, saving $5,000 per year.

Cadbury Adams in Rockford worked with a water treatment company to reduce the volume of brine solution used during the regeneration process of its potable water. After reviewing the materials, analyses were performed to determine what the operating and environmental benefits would be from implementing such a system. An environmental evaluation was also conducted that showed there would be a reduction in water usage and a reduction in the amount of brine solution discharged to the sanitary sewer system. The final qualifier was that the quality of the softened water would not be diminished. The project was implemented with the purchase of a control system that monitored concentrations of the effluent from the regeneration process and installation of some additional piping for returning the brine solution to the brine tank.

Educational institution

Community Unit School District 3 Cuba School -- The board of education, the administrators and staff of CUSD 3 in Fulton County worked together to design a building that has been called a "benchmark" school in a small, rural district. Grants were sought for energy efficiency and sustainability. The school district incorporated as many elements of "green" design as it could afford in building the new Cuba Middle/Senior High School. Consideration was given to air quality, acoustical comfort, geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, recycled materials, additional insulation in the walls and ceiling, energy-efficient windows, de-lighting, and a possible wind turbine. The district plans to write cross-curricular environmental units of study into its curriculum and apply for future grants to develop natural areas.

Service organization

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is located in Batavia. Fermilab employees proposed and implemented a liquid nitrogen recovery system at D-Zero, a 5,000-ton subatomic particle collision detector, which detects particle collisions occurring within the world's largest particle accelerator. Near the collision point, Fermilab uses liquid nitrogen to cool the visible light photon counter chips at a temperature of -444 Fahrenheit. The nitrogen cooling system left some of the liquid nitrogen not vaporized, producing liquid exhaust and vaporization in a large vertical heat exchanger outside the D-Zero assembly hall. This recovery system will save the lab approximately $43,000 and 207,360 gallons a year in liquid nitrogen, increase the efficiency of the liquid nitrogen system, and reduce the heat load on other cooling systems.

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Continuous Improvement Award

International Truck & Engine Corp. in Melrose Park produces diesel engines for midsize trucks and school buses. The company's crankshaft machining line's tapping operation used chlorinated paraffin-based lubricant for the harsh roll-tapping operation. International installed a new flow-through tapping operation that eliminated the toxic lubricant and replaced it with synthetic coolant. Additionally, the company developed a wooden pallet recycling process that eliminated the extra handling and costly labor. The company also was successful in improving the paint booth transfer efficiency by reprogramming the paint robots. This reduced the paint usage, waste paint sludge, air emissions and energy by 21 percent. A reduction of 2,700 gallons of paint and 3,500 pounds of air emissions resulted from this change. The cycle time was improved along with the quality. These efforts resulted in a savings of $330,000 for 2003.

Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and the city of Chicago have teamed up with governmental, labor and community partners to form the Chicago Solar Partnership, a unique private-public partnership. This partnership has facilitated the installation of $12 million in solar electric systems in schools and public buildings across the city. The combined capacity of all the solar installations is one megawatt. The solar electric systems not only provide pollution-free energy, but also help offset a portion of the energy bills of the facilities that house them. The partnership hopes that these installations raise awareness and understanding of solar energy and the benefits it can provide. To help Chicago Public Schools bring the lessons of solar energy into the classroom, real-time energy output data from all of the solar systems and a solar-based curriculum are available on the Web at www.chicagosolarpartnership.org.

Nalco Company in Bedford Park is a specialty chemical company that manufactures a variety of products used for casting of metal parts and ceramic forms. This past year, the plant made process improvements that reduced the amount of wastewater treatment chemicals used by 64 percent and reduced the amount of solids in the wastewater by 46 percent. Nalco also initiated some inventory and recycling projects that reduced waste from the plant by 4.1 percent. The overall savings from these projects totaled $764,000. Nalco also became home to a number of creative, beneficial reuse projects of idled buildings, providing resources to various governmental agencies.

Sherwin Williams-Minwax, based in Flora, is the only site in the country to manufacture Minwax wood stains, topcoats and waxes of both the oil and water-base variety. Recycling and waste reduction come from the production operation, where wash byproducts are generated. Minwax instituted an in-house recycling program that used 250-gallon steel totes to help capture the wash byproducts in 2003. Minwax has increased its efforts this year, raising the number of lines using this system from two to seven and the number of totes collecting the different family products from eight to 17. The amount of wash reused on-site from the tote program is 1.6 million pounds at a cost savings of $336,000.

Caterpillar's Technology and Solutions Division in Peoria was challenged to create a world-class "virtual engine" simulation tool that would have the accuracy required to bring better combustion technologies to market sooner by reducing the time and expense to evaluate concepts and diagnose problems. A diesel combustion simulation tool was developed and used to predict engine performance and emissions for both near-term and long-term enabling technologies. Through the use of the "virtual engine" model, the team reduced traditional engine test cell time from five months to seven days. This saved approximately 3,000 hours of test cell time. Through the use of the "virtual engine" model, the consumption of nearly 44,000 gallons of diesel fuel was avoided, resulting in a reduction of over seven tons of emissions.

Abbott Laboratories is located in Abbott Park. Project work undertaken by Abbott last year included the following: A pollution prevention process review tool was created to identify and evaluate pollution prevention projects in bulk pharmaceutical manufacturing. The use of this tool on one process resulted in a 39 percent reduction of hazardous materials, an associated reduction in hazardous air emission and a 42 percent reduction in hazardous waste generated. Disposable apparel was replaced with reusable clothing, resulting in 67,000 cubic feet of non-hazardous waste being diverted from a landfill each year for a net savings of over $460,000. Hybrid electric-gas vehicles were introduced into the commercial sales and service fleet. The increased fuel efficiency of the vehicle is estimated to provide a savings of over 7,600 gallons of fuel per year for all 16 vehicles in the study, for an estimated cost savings of over $13,500 per year.

Caterpillar Cast Metals Organization in Mapleton confirmed its commitment to pollution prevention by replacing a 30-year-old proven process with a new technology that reduced air emissions, lowered costs and improved the health and safety of the workplace. CMO is a gray-iron foundry primarily casting engine blocks, engine heads and cylinder liners. Metal castings are made by pouring molten iron into sand molds, allowing the iron to solidify and cool, and removing the castings from the sand. In the engine block core-making process, the outside of the metal casting is formed by the sand mold itself, and sand and resins are combined to make a resin system called Isocure 308/608. This past year, a project was launched to replace this resin system with a better performing and more environmentally safe resin called Isocure 408/808. Through this system, emissions of volatile organic matter will be reduced by 12.3 tons annually. The expected annual savings is $810,000, which represents a 20 percent reduction in sand and resin costs.

Maytag Herrin Laundry Products in Herrin is a manufacturer of household washers and dryers. Pollution prevention efforts have focused on source reduction of paint and cleaning solvents, water conservation and reuse, energy conservation, preventive maintenance, and solid material recycling. Total energy savings for the project is 2,616,045 kilowatt-hours per year. Air emissions reductions experienced from this project are experienced at the power plants that supply electricity. The annual emission reductions are estimated to be more than 830 tons.

GE Healthcare Bio-sciences in Arlington Heights is a manufacturer of radiopharmaceuticals that are used by physicians in the diagnosis of disease, using various imaging techniques. The facility recently has invested over $667,000 to upgrade an exhaust system and house vacuum system. The new exhaust system has replaced five independent air effluent extraction systems. The exhaust system and house vacuum system have a more efficient filtration and absorber system. The two electrical motors used on the new exhaust have a rated efficiency of 94.5 percent as opposed to a rated 84 percent efficiency for the electrical motors that were replaced. The investment has resulted in an 80 percent reduction in air emissions associated with radiopharmaceutical production. GE Healthcare Bio-sciences was previously known as Amersham Health.

[News release from the governor's office]

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