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01-51
June 20, 2001
 
 

Brookhaven Lab Wins Two National Pollution Prevention Awards

UPTON, NY - Reflecting its strong commitment to reducing waste and protecting the environment, Brookhaven National Laboratory has been recognized for its expanding pollution prevention program, winning two prestigious awards from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

"When the Lab began investing in the work for which these awards were given, we were uncertain when it would pay off -- we just knew we had to do it. To my surprise, the payoff was almost immediate," said Brookhaven director John Marburger. "The awards confirm that we went about this the right way, but the real reward to the Laboratory is the money we have saved. My congratulations to the teams that put these programs into place."

Brookhaven won in the 2001 DOE Pollution Prevention Awards Program for projects entitled "Process Evaluation Project" and "Environmental Management System Principles Leading Change." The awards were presented to Laboratory representatives today at the 2001 DOE Pollution Prevention (P2) Conference, being held this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Brookhaven's P2 program focuses on elimination or reduction of wastes, effluents, and emissions at their source, conservation of natural resources and reuse of materials, recycling, and procurement of environmentally preferable products.

The awards spotlighted two projects that have led to significant changes in Laboratory operations. The Process Evaluation Project, completed in May 2000, was a systematic environmental assessment of all waste generating operations and experiments at Brookhaven.

Specialized assessment tools were developed to analyze the environmental impacts of operations. Key among these was a process-mapping technique that graphically depicted the process in question and clearly identified input materials and output waste streams. Approximately 145 industrial operations and 1,800 experiments were evaluated, resulting in over 245 pollution prevention opportunities and documented savings of $1.6 million.

"Environmental Management System Principles Leading Change" describes an ongoing effort to fully integrate environmental stewardship into all facets of Brookhaven's operations. To accomplish this, the Laboratory director established an environmental stewardship policy, set Laboratory-wide goals to improve performance, and assigned responsibility and accountability to all staff. Senior DOE and Brookhaven management developed and funded several environmental improvement projects, including implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) that conforms to ISO 14001, the internationally recognized EMS standard. This program institutionalized management's commitment to environmental compliance and pollution prevention by establishing (1) a strategic planning process, (2) a comprehensive environmental hazard evaluation system, (3) administrative procedures and engineered controls to minimize impacts, and (4) a robust self-assessment program that identifies and corrects problems and improves performance. Finally, DOE and Brookhaven developed a community involvement program to develop and maintain a positive, proactive, and constructive relationship with stakeholders.

"People across the DOE complex are now looking at Brookhaven's EMS as a model program," said Sue Briggs, Brookhaven's EMS project manager. "We're currently working with several sites around the country to help them develop EMS programs of their own."

A third project, "Preparing for High Flux Beam Reactor Facility Stabilization," was selected as runner-up. This project, which sought alternative uses for equipment once part of Brookhaven's now-closed High Flux Beam Reactor, resulted in the reuse of materials that otherwise would have cost the Laboratory in excess of $300,000 in disposal costs.

Brookhaven continues to expand its P2 program, and recently established a Pollution Prevention Council to promote general awareness of pollution prevention program goals and objectives while documenting progress, identifying pollution prevention opportunities, and making recommendations regarding pollution prevention funding allocations. In 2001, the council identified and funded seven projects that are expected to save Brookhaven more than $150,000 annually.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership led by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.