U.S. EPA Selects Organizations in the Pacific Southwest to Receive Pollution Prevention Grants
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, during Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the selection of 42 organizations across 39 states to receive grant funding totaling $9.3 million, supporting pollution prevention across the country. These grants will fund projects that provide businesses and other facilities with information, training, and tools to develop and adopt cost-effective changes in pursuit of pollution prevention.
“As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act, we are proud to announce more than $9 million in P2 grants which will help businesses in communities across the United States protect the environment and reduce waste and costs,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The work done as a result of EPA’s P2 grants will create best practices that current and future organizations can use to cut pollution and advance innovation and economic growth.”
“Pollution prevention is key to saving our natural resources and moving toward sustainability,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “These grants will help assist businesses to improve their bottom lines while reducing the use of hazardous materials, water, and energy.”
Arizona State University’s (ASU) $376,344 grant will provide technical assistance to food and beverage manufacturing and aerospace manufacturing companies in Arizona, focusing on reducing water and energy use. ASU will create a demonstration and training tool related to water quality, quantity and flow sensors to illustrate how a company can implement real-time water audits to reduce water use. In addition, the project will deliver online, on-demand information and practical guidance to increase water and energy efficiency.
“Support from the EPA P2 program allows us to advance our work with food and beverage facilities, and transfer that knowledge to other industrial sectors,” said Arizona State University’s Principal Investigator Mackenzie Boyer. “Our approach to creating online learning and training modules is timely given the challenges COVID-19 has placed on face to face interactions.”
In California, UC Berkeley’s Greener Solutions program has been selected as one of the national grantees. This initiative partners students with companies interested in adopting sustainable chemistry. UC Berkeley’s $194,832 grant will help identify alternatives to chemicals of concern currently used in the carpet and food packaging industries, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals commonly used in consumer and industrial products, which are known to have adverse health effects through continued exposure above specific levels. EPA issued a PFAS Action Plan in February 2019.
“The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, through its Greener Solutions academic/industry partnerships, has been finding innovative and safer alternatives to chemicals in products with over two dozen partner organizations since 2012,” said Thomas McKeag, director of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry. “With the support of the US EPA's Pollution Prevention Program, we will expand this type of intervention with our new Greener Partnerships outreach and internship program and address businesses’ pressing challenges while training the next generation of sustainability professionals.”
In Nevada, Western Nevada College (WNC) has been selected as one of the national grantees. WNC will partner with the Nevada non-profit greenUP! to help food and beverage manufacturers and processors and automobile repair and maintenance businesses implement pollution prevention. They will use the $345,108 grant to train 40 manufacturers on safer chemical alternatives, water reduction, energy efficiency and environmental best practices. They also will recruit ten WNC college interns to conduct onsite visits and provide technical assistance to these manufacturers.
“Western Nevada College looks forward to working with our partners to prevent pollution through implementation of best practices with a focus on food manufacturing and automotive manufacturing and service,” said Georgia White, director of Career and Technical Education for WNC. “The funding of internships provides students with technical knowledge and work-based experience as WNC continues to document businesses and environmental results through GreenBizTracker.”
EPA anticipates that it will award these individual grant projects ranging in the amounts of $25,000 to $498,000 once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. The projects will focus on helping businesses implement changes in production, operation, and use of materials in order to reduce costs and the use of water, energy, and other natural resources.
For these grants, EPA emphasizes the importance of grantees documenting and sharing P2 best practices that are identified and developed through these grants, so that others can replicate these practices and outcomes. Each grantee will be required to develop at least one case study during the grant period on P2 practices that are new or not widely known or adopted, or where detailed information on the P2 practices could benefit other businesses or P2 technical assistance providers. The work done under these grants will focus on at least one of the five P2 priority areas, also referred to as National Emphasis Areas and support several of the agency’s Smart Sectors. These areas include food and beverage manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, aerospace product/part manufacturing, and metal manufacturing.
This year marks 30 years since the passage of the Pollution Prevention Act, which focuses industry, government, and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. This week is also P2 Week, a time to celebrate the diverse and creative ways businesses, academic institutes, local governments, and other organizations are working to prevent pollution. In support of the Pollution Prevention Act and P2 Week, these grant awards encourage businesses and other stakeholders to find ways to prevent pollution from entering any waste stream, furthering EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment.
Read more about P2 and the P2 Grant Program.