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EPA Recognizes Six Oklahoma Organizations for Environmental Excellence

Release Date: 1/12/2000
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     The Region 6 office of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented its annual Environmental Excellence Awards Jan. 12 to: Connors State College, Midwest City, Ms. Mary McIntyre Coley of the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy, Oklahoma Project Wild, the city of Norman and Vance Air Force Base.

     Environmental Excellence Awards recognize and encourage outstanding environmental protection efforts by individuals, non-profit organizations, companies and governments.

     "We are glad to see the outstanding results from these worthy programs. Oklahoma should be proud of the lasting impact its industry, governments and volunteers have generated to benefit the environment.  The EPA is glad to have them as its partners in protecting human health and the environment," EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director Mark Coleman said, "Partnerships are indeed the theme of the Environmental Excellence Awards.  In each of the recognized achievements, individuals, corporations and governments have worked together to not just do what we know we ought to do, but to go the extra mile to make our little corner of this world a better place.  The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is pleased to join with the EPA in this annual highlighting of program excellence."

     Connors State College in Muskogee restored and protected wetlands and created facilities for agricultural, ecological, and biological education.  Working with several partners, Connors staff prepared a 25-year management plan for its entire 1,300-acre facility. Connors restored five shallow lakes to provide 60 acres for nesting islands for birds and ducks and restored 100 acres for tall-grass prairie plants.

     Midwest City's superior public water supply serves more than 50,000 customers.  The City supplements primary surface water supply sources with wells to ensure water availability in peak demand periods and during droughts. It has upgraded its technical systems for efficiency and cost containment and replaced pump drive systems with variable frequency drives to reduce electrical cost by 25 percent.  

     Ms. Mary McIntyre Coley was recognized for her achievements with the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy in Tulsa in educating students and teachers of grades 4-8 about the environment of Oklahoma. Ms. Coley emphasizes interdisciplinary activities to provide students an understanding of the uniqueness and diversity of the Oklahoma ecosystems.

     Oklahoma Project Wild of Oklahoma City trained about 500,000 students and 16,000 teachers during the past 15 years. Oklahoma Project Wild was one of the first programs in the United States to develop instructional tracks and resources for specific environmental topics.

     The city of Norman estimates its composting program saved $157,000 in 1998 and avoided disposing of almost 12,000 tons of grass clippings, shrub trimmings and other biodegradable waste in landfills. In partnership with community agencies, Norman collected more than 6,600 tons of paper and glass at recycling drop stations.

     Norman's wastewater treatment facility generated almost 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity from waste methane.  More than 57 million gallons of final effluent were used for irrigation and 1,000 metric tons of biosolids were used for fertilization.  

     Vance Air Force Base in Enid has installed a geodesic dome on the 630,000-gallon aviation fuel storage tank.  The roof dome reduced air emissions by 41,000 pounds annually and eliminated 56,000 pounds of contaminated water runoff.  

     In addition, Vance's solid waste is being recycled and reused.  During the past six years, approximately 2,900 tons of materials were diverted from the Enid landfills.  The Base reuses a range of materials from shipping containers to office equipment which otherwise would be landfilled.