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August 23 2011 15:37

Governor Dayton to Honor Three Environmental Projects at the Eco Experience on Thursday

Contact: Pamela McCurdy, 651-757-2559

St. Paul, Minn. — Governor Dayton will honor three winners for innovation and superior commitment to pollution prevention at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Eco Experience Sustainability Stage at the Minnesota State Fair. MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman will also be on hand to honor the winners.

The Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention honor Minnesota's businesses, nonprofits, governmental agencies and other institutions demonstrating a commitment to pollution prevention, resource efficiency and sustainable practices. Accomplishments must go beyond traditional waste management, focusing instead on innovative prevention, reduction and reuse strategies. This MPCA program, started in 1991, encourages environmental leadership. The three winners are:

The City of Saint Paul Public Pools Green Initiative
The city of St. Paul worked with Creative Water Solutions and USAquatics to develop a system to significantly reduce chemical use in public swimming pools. The pilot project started at the Highland Park Aquatic Center, where they used a species of sphagnum moss to reduce use of chlorine, cyanuric acid, bicarbonate, acid and clarifier. It was the first use of moss as a water conditioning and treatment agent in a public pool anywhere in the world. Environmental and economic savings include:

  • Water use for pool backwash reduced by 30,000 gallons every two weeks.
  • A 50 percent drop in chlorine use by mid-summer and further reductions by season’s end. Cyanuric acid was discontinued. Bicarbonate and acid use also fell to half the levels of 2008. 
  • The city of St. Paul saved $40,000 in reduced staff overtime costs and $36,000 in reduced chemical costs, annually.
  • Overall, the city realized a $100,000 increase in revenues at the pool in 2010.

Recycling and Waste Reduction Initiatives
In 2009 and 2010, several nonprofits formed a partnership (Fairview Health Services, Merrick Inc., Partnership Resources Inc., PPL Industries, and Minnesota Waste Wise) to determine an environmentally-friendly way to handle used blue wrap. This is the material used to cover operating room supplies during sterilization in Fairview Health Services buildings. Environmental and economic savings include:

  • Recycling more than 45 tons of clean blue wrap.
  • $34,000 in reduced costs from the recycling program. The savings allows Fairview to pay for two recycling work crews from Merrick Inc. and Partnership Resources. The work crews employ two job coaches and six adults with disabilities.
  • Diversion of 300 tons of materials from landfills for reuse annually by Fairview Health Services.
  • Other Twin Cities’ hospitals have also started recycling blue wrap.

From Roofs to Roads: A Successful Partnership
To expand roof shingle recycling, a coalition of public, private and nonprofit partners (Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board, Dem-Con, Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association and Commercial Asphalt Company) worked for many years to research, test and evaluate the use of tear-off shingles in asphalt pavement. Prior to this project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation specifications only allowed for manufactured, shingle scrap to be used in roads paved with asphalt. In 2010, a MnDOT-approved specification was implemented allowing for residential roof shingle recycling in road asphalt. This specification will help reduce the more than 150,000 tons of old roofing shingles (tear-off shingles) disposed of in landfills each year. Recyclers and asphalt producers are now manufacturing this difficult-to-recycle material. Environmental and economic savings include:

  • A 32,000 ton reduction of virgin oil used to make hot-mix asphalt through shingle recycling.
  • The recycling of 30,000 tons of shingles in Minnesota with the successful capture by Dem-Con of 20 percent of all available shingles within Minnesota.
  • A job increase of seven for Dem-Con, two full-time and five nine-month seasonal positions.
  • The potential reduction of 40 metric tons of Green House Gas emissions from carbon dioxide annually if all shingles are recycled.
  • Introduction of a new recycling option in Minnesota and nationwide.

To learn more about the award winners, go to the Governor’s Awards webpage.