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PNNL becomes DOE flagship for incentive-based waste management practices

PNNL becomes first DOE facility to adopt more flexible EPA waste management program

March 20, 2007 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – In recognition of its exemplary environmental compliance record, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced adoption of a new incentive-based waste management program for high performing facilities under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Performance Track program. The program, made up of an elite nationwide membership, establishes a set of waste management procedures designed to create more flexible waste requirements and maximize overall cost savings, which benefits taxpayers.

PNNL is the first Department of Energy facility, and one of only a few facilities nationwide, to implement extended waste accumulation practices.

As a prerequisite to joining Performance Track, PNNL established and implemented an environmental management system designed to reduce waste generation and hazards associated with the waste. PNNL generates small quantities of byproduct wastes resulting from research and maintenance activities conducted at the lab. Under the new EPA incentive program, PNNL may now accumulate wastes at its north Richland campus for up to 180 days, twice the period allowed under standard regulatory requirements.

According to Alice Ikenberry, manager of PNNL’s Environmental Management Services Department, extended accumulation of waste before offsite shipment has several environmental advantages, including consolidation of waste into fewer containers and the reduction of the number of offsite waste shipments.

“At the same time, extended accumulation reduces our waste management costs, which provides more funding for laboratory research projects,” said Ikenberry.

“The 180 day extension demonstrates achieving the ‘Gold Standard’ for our laboratories, which is taking that next step beyond just complying with the environmental requirements,” said Arnold Edelman, acting associate director for Safety, Security and Infrastructure for the DOE Office of Science. He noted that PNNL is the first DOE facility to receive such an extension.

“Only members of EPA’s Performance Track program are eligible to participate in the incentive program,” said Roby Enge, PNNL Environment, Safety, Health and Quality director. The number of facilities that qualify for this distinction is limited. “PNNL’s historic waste management performance has been excellent. It’s a natural next step for the laboratory.”

"PNNL is a member in good standing, and we recognize them for their environmental leadership and top environmental performance,” said Bill Glasser, EPA Region 10 spokesperson. Maintaining a superior history of compliance is essential in meeting EPA Performance Track qualification standards. “This lowers the facility’s transaction costs in managing hazardous waste, and acknowledges and rewards the lab’s history of good environmental stewardship of their regulatory responsibilities.”

PNNL has been a member of Performance Track since 2004 and is presently developing its reapplication for a second three-year membership. PNNL’s Performance Track application and its annual progress reports since 2004 can be viewed at EPA’s Web site. Further information concerning EPA’s Performance Track program, which recognizes top environmental performance at participating facilities, can also be viewed at this EPA website.

Complimenting PNNL’s strong waste management performance is the lab’s externally verified conformance to the International Organization for Standardization environmental management system standards, or ISO 14001. PNNL has adopted this series of practices and procedures to help maximize its overall environmental performance and compliance.

“By implementing the ISO 14001 standard, PNNL is adopting a strong and effective culture in our research and facility management operations of pollution prevention, continuous improvement of our environmental performance, and compliance with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements,” said Enge. “We take this very seriously and are very proud of our performance.”

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PNNL is a DOE Office of Science national laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security and the environment, and advances scientific frontiers in the chemical, biological, materials, environmental and computational sciences. PNNL employs 4,200 staff, has a $750 million annual budget, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.

PNNL has also been recognized recently with several awards for waste minimization, pollution prevention and environmental stewardship practices, including;
• The prestigious White House Closing the Circle Award in the Waste Pollution Prevention category
• Federal Electronics Recycling and Reuse Challenge Award
• Best in Class Award from DOE Office of Science for “Corporate Commitment to Environmental Stewardship and Enhanced Environmental Management Systems”
• EPA Energy Star Status for two laboratory facilities
• Green Business Project of the Year Award presented by the City of Richland, Wash.
• Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management Program.

Tags: Energy, Environment, National Security, Operations, Facilities

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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