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2000 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

The Washtenaw County Environmental Issues Group is pleased to announce the Winners of the 2000 Environmental Excellence Awards! The Awards were presented at the Sustainable Washtenaw Full Group Meeting on Thursday, March 20, 2000.

Overall Environmental Excellence Award:

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority

Environmental Excellence in Water Quality Protection:

Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority

Honorable Mention in Water Quality Protection:

Flint Ink

Environmental Excellence in Pollution Prevention:

Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research

Honorable Mention in Pollution Prevention:

Chelsea Retirement Community

Environmental Excellence in Waste Reduction and Recycling:

Arbor Brewing Co.

Honorable Mention in Waste Reduction and Recycling:

VisteonAutomotive Systems, Spring Street Plant

2000 Overall Environmental Excellence Award

Presented by Rebecca Head, Director, Washtenaw County Dept. of Environment & Infrastructure Services (DEIS)

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AATA)

2700 South Industrial Highway
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Contact: Gregory Cook: (734) 973-6500

This year, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) was chosen for the Overall Environmental Excellence Award for 2000 because it has the sustainable business practices in the areas of water quality protection, waste reduction and recycling, and pollution prevention, and has begun other initiatives to help protect the environment.

AATA operates a strong waste prevention and recycling program. Central bulletin boards are used regularly to communicate information to employees while eliminating the need for multiple copies. E-mail and message routing are also utilized to further reduce waste from publications and memos. Staff reuse as many materials as possible, including folders and packing materials to eliminate the cost and waste from ordering new supplies. Ceramic mugs and steel utensils are made available for employees and use of disposable items is discouraged. In addition, they operate an office recycling program for office paper, cardboard, toner cartridges, glass, plastic, and cans.

AATA has been a participant in the Community Partners for Clean Streams Program since September of l997 and is now in a second term of Partnership. As participants in Community Partners for Clean Streams, AATA retrofitted their storage and maintenance areas to improve secondary spill containment. They formulated a spill response plan and developed a monthly seminar for employee training in spill prevention and response. AATA identifies the least hazardous products and procedures for the maintenance of their site, vehicles and equipment.

In addition, AATA is a member of the Ann Arbor Area Clean Cities Coalition, a multi-partnership effort in the area to accelerate and expand the use of alternative fuel vehicles in communities throughout the country. The goals of the program are to improve air quality, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and to empower the businesses and residents of the community to help create a more sustainable community. While the AATA has yet to purchase an alternatively fueled bus, it encourages Ann Arbor downtown employees to leave their car at home with free bus passes as part of the Go Pass program and since last October has also added bike racks on several AATA buses to facilitate longer bike commutes.

Environmental Excellence In Water Quality Protection:

Presented by Janis Bobrin, Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner

Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority (YCUA)

2777 State Street
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
Contact: Thomas Kmet, Health & Safety Supervisor
(734) 544-7129

The Ypsilanti Community Utility Authority (YCUA) is an agency that Drain office staff have long worked with in day-to-day field activities---providing utility services to Washtenaw citizens. They are now a member of the Community Partners for Clean Streams (CPCS) program and are very deserving of this years award for Environmental Excellence In Water Quality Protection.

The Ypsilanti Community Utility Authority was formed in 1974 and provides water service and wastewater treatment for the Ypsilanti area. YCUA delivers five billion gallons of drinking water per year to its customers and processes 8.12 billion gallons of wastewater per year while operating within a $6.7 million dollar budget. As a participant in the Community Partners for Clean Streams Program, Utility employees under the direction YCUA Executive Assistant Rolland Sizemore, formulated an environmental policy, committed to a spill prevention plan, and committed to upgrading and retrofitting existing storm drains to protect storm water quality on site.

Although YCUA is exempt from local pollution prevention inspection programs, it has demonstrated an aggressive approach toward environmental awareness and protection through worker safety training, storm water management plans, and a major commitment to replace chlorine usage/storage on site with Ultra Violet technology. No landscape chemicals are used on the site. All site management is performed to ensure that the storm water running off YCUAs property is clean and protective of our local creeks and rivers.

The CPCS program is directed at storm water quality because 50-70% of pollution entering our waterways today is carried by storm water, running off the land every time it rains. Once upon a time, however, the real problems were the so-called point source discharges, like municipal waste water treatment plants. YCUA has been a leader in this arena too. It operates one of the first tirtiery treatment plants in Michigan, which is also an EPA AWARD-winning facility. The quality of wastewater leaving YCUAs treatment system is so high that it actually upgrades the quality of the Rouge River, into which it discharges.

The Ypsilanti Community Utility Authority has gone beyond the minimum requirements of CPCS and other county programs, and is demonstrating outstanding water quality stewardship in the community.

Honorable Mention In Water Quality Protection:

Presented by Janis Bobrin, Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner

Flint Ink

4600 Arrowhead Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Contact: Gerald Barker, Facilities Manager
(734) 622-6607

For those who dont know about Flint Ink, it is the largest American owned manufacturer of printing ink and the second largest ink producer in the world. Flint Ink ranks among the Forbes 500 Top Private Companies in the U.S. and employs 3,500 worldwide. Flint Ink products and services are provided over six continents through 100 facilities.

A true corporate environmental leader in this community, the Flint Ink Corporation World Headquarters in Ann Arbor operates a state of the art research and environmental testing center that is staffed by over 100 Ph.D.'s, chemists, physicists and chemical engineers. The companys fully staffed Environmental Services Department evaluates and addresses regulatory issues that affect their products as well as customer applications. Flint Ink is a leader in environmentally friendly products including low-rub, soy-oil-based newspaper inks. Flint Inks are found in newspapers, magazines, and cartons among a host of other applications.

When you read the USA Today or the Detroit Free Press, you will be reading the news printed with Flint Ink products.

As a participant in the Community Partners for Clean Streams Program, Flint Ink has demonstrated "leadership by example" in water quality stewardship and pollution prevention. They have established a comprehensive spill prevention plan and an in-house spill response team that is trained every six months. They have instituted a storm water system inspection, assessment and maintenance plan.

The Flint Ink landscape management program includes soil testing, and integrated pest management, to ensure that chemical use is minimized, and irrigation monitoring, to promote water conservation. The in-house Flint Ink environmental team evaluates environmental improvement opportunities quarterly. Flint Ink also has reduced the amount of toxics on site, by moving to the use of vegetable-based inks for many of its customers And, its contractors are expected to meet the same high standards the company sets for itself.

Environmental Excellence In Pollution Prevention:

Presented by Richard Fleece, Director, Environmental Health Division, Washtenaw County DEIS

Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research
(now Pfizer)

2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Contact: Mike Lemon, Environmental Project Manager
(734) 622-3059

Parke-Davis Research is the pharmaceutical division of the Warner-Lambert Company. They employ approximately 3,000 people at their Ann Arbor facility. This number will increase to more than 4,000 by 2002. Their office and laboratory space will be doubling in size over the next two years while they are expanding their facilities.

Every new employee at Parke-Davis receives as part of their orientation, training in environmental protection. This training may range from simple recycling to more complex and comprehensive training in laboratory waste management practices. Parke-Davis is ISO 14001 certified and each employee is evaluated yearly on aspects of the ISO 14001 program related to their job. The employee's level of support for the environmental management system directly impacts their overall performance rating.

Parke-Davis has remained in compliance with pollution prevention regulations and because of this, they have been on a reduced inspection frequency for several years. In addition, Parke-Davis has been "proactive" in their response to suggestions from our pollution prevention program. For example, environmental managers met with our pollution prevention staff for review of site plans relating to the ongoing expansion of their facilities. When our staff recommended additional spill kits for their main facility to safe guard the movement of hazardous materials, Parke-Davis placed 250 gallon spill kits along the entire route that the hazardous materials are moved.

During inspections, Parke-Davis has displayed exemplary safe storage and handling of hazardous materials and has been very diligent in their labeling and record keeping practices. Documentations such as site plans and various diagrams provided to our staff have been outstanding. The Parke-Davis environmental management staff have demonstrated a high knowledge level concerning all environmental regulations relevant to their operations, and facilities.

Overall, the Pollution Prevention staff has found that Parke-Davis has been a positive example to the Ann Arbor community in regard to its proactive stance in pollution prevention.

Honorable Mention in Pollution Prevention:

Presented by Richard Fleece, Director, Environmental Health Division, Washtenaw County DEIS

Chelsea Retirement Community

805 W. Middle
Chelsea, MI 48118
Contact: Randy Lane

The Chelsea retirement community of Chelsea has been in existence for more than ninety years. They strive to provide a quality living environment for older adults. They provide a range of care options from independent living apartments to assisted living care. The grounds of the community include the nationally recognized heritage room museum and the museums antiques and historic memorabilia depict life as it was in the early 1900s. The Harry A. and Margaret Towsley village is scheduled to open in June of 2000. This new development is especially designed to accommodate individuals with Alzheimers disease.

Chelsea retirement has implemented chemical reductions and substitutions in order to limit environmental risk and liability factors. For example, they have converted from diesel fuel to propane gas thereby preventing possible spills to storm drains, the sanitary sewer or directly to ground. Chelsea retirement has aggressively complied with pollution prevention regulations requiring labeling of all hazardous materials. They have also promptly corrected any secondary containment issues, which have been found during pollution prevention inspections. Moreover, Chelsea retirement has also met Michigan OSHA requirements concerning M.S.D.S. sheet record keeping and availability.

During the past four years, while undergoing significant growth, Chelsea retirement has gone the extra mile. They have maintained good communications with the county pollution prevention staff, taking time to ensure that site plans were available for review and comment as needed. Chelsea retirement has an excellent track record in the area of compliance with pollution prevention regulations and because of this, they have maintained their reduced frequency of inspection status. In addition, Chelsea retirement has also maintained a good working relationship with other local agencies including the Chelsea village fire department which makes regular fire safety inspections.

While Chelsea retirement community may not be one of the largest facilities that the pollution prevention program visits, we commend its staff for going the extra mile to set a high standard for pollution prevention. The pollution prevention program appreciates the maintenance of effort that the community has shown given the stresses and strains of their recent growth.

EnvironmentalExcellence In Waste Reduction And Recycling:

Presented by Susan Todd, Environmental Manager, Public Works Division, Washtenaw County DEIS

Arbor Brewing Company

114 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Contact: Rene Greff:(734) 213-1393

As a Charter Member of the Washtenaw County Waste Knot Award Program, the Arbor Brewing Company boasts a truly commendable waste reduction and recycling program. This downtown Ann Arbor restaurant has 45 employees, all of whom are expected to follow the companys mandatory recycling policy. In January of this year, a new waste reduction incentive program was implemented for management and staff, which gives employees the opportunity to win fun and creative prizes for coming up with innovative waste reduction ideas.

The Arbor Brewing Company goes to great lengths to avoid excessive paper use. Laminated menus have been replaced with slipcover menus, which allow the restaurant to remove pages when they are outdated, instead of reprinting completely new menus. The outdated menu pages are then used as scratch paper for the wait staff, as is the backside of all printed and promotional material. The company even provides its menu on its website, and encourages customers to look there before requesting a paper version. By setting up a computer to receive fax messages, the office staff avoids printing out unnecessary documents.

Restaurant wait staff recently started using recycled-content coasters, which can be reused several times before being recycled instead of being disposed of after one use. The brewpub also bought additional cups, plates, and silverware, so that paper products would no longer be necessary at any of the companys catering events. And when the restaurant does host special events, party planners look first to community organizations like the Scrap Box for decoration materials, instead of purchasing new paper products. The Scrap Box collects odds and ends, which are sold to people of all ages for arts and crafts projects.

Employees collect several materials for recycling, including white and mixed paper, cardboard, cans, glass, and plastic. Spent grains from the beer brewing process are sent to a local farmer to be used as cattle feed, while lost clothing that is unclaimed for 30 days is distributed to guests at the brewpubs monthly homeless breakfasts.

Looking towards the future, this environmentally minded brewpub plans to increase the amount of recycled-content supplies it purchases through some basic research and support from helpful vendors.

Honorable Mention in Waste Reduction And Recycling:

Presented by Susan Todd, Environmental Manager, Public Works Division, Washtenaw County DEIS

Visteon Automotive Systems

128 Spring Street
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Contact: Jim Luckhardt

The Visteon Ypsilanti Automotive Component Plants environmental policy is to be a responsible corporate citizen and to protect the environment. The company is committed to complying with Ford Motor Companys Environmental Policy. This Policy requires Ford and its affiliates to meet or exceed all regulatory and legal requirements, to strive for continuous improvement in environmental performance, to prevent the creation of waste and pollution, and to minimize adverse impacts on the environment.

Employees at the plant demonstrate their commitment to meet these standards in their waste management and recycling program. In addition to more standard recyclable materials such as white paper and plastic, these Visteon employees collect small batteries and fluorescent light tubes for recycling. Over the past year, the plant began sending wooden shipping pallets to a recycler. Incredibly, the amount of refuse being landfilled decreased by 26%. In such a large- scale operation, this is a significant amount of waste being diverted.

In the plant offices, both e-mail and double-sided printing are utilized to reduce the amount of paper consumed. Envelopes and boxes are reused, and paper with printing on one side is made into scrap paper notebooks.

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