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Governor’s Awards – MnGREAT

Minnesota Government Reaching Environmental Achievements Together


The MnGREAT! program was a recognition program for environmental achievements by Minnesota government employees. The first awards were presented in 1995. In 2007, MnGREAT became part of the Governor's Awards for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention.

The program highlighted efforts to prevent waste and pollution, reduce waste at its source, conserve energy and water, recycle, and compost. Eligible projects came from staff at state agencies, counties, cities, Metropolitan agencies, the University of Minnesota, and state colleges and universities.

Applications were judged by the Interagency Pollution Prevention Advisory Team (IPPAT).

MnGREAT! award winners



  • The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) serves as a venue for a wide range of special events, hosting thousands of guests annually. As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, staff and management created an environmental mission statement. Over the last three years, the DECC has worked to reduce waste, recover food when possible, increase energy conservation, improve recycling and reuse opportunities, and change purchasing practices. The DECC will be adding on a new hockey arena, and plans on making it the first LEED-certified hockey rink in the nation.
  • In 2003, city leaders created the Minneapolis Sustainability Initiative and adopted a formal resolution to incorporate sustainability work into every department. Using this strong environmental policy as a guide, the city launched a focused campaign to create a more environmentally friendly Minneapolis and make sustainability a part of people's daily lives citywide and a part of every city function. By creating specific indicators and numerical targets and reporting them annually in the Sustainability Report, the city is able to measure its progress and make modifications. The city has already met some of its ambitious goals. By linking health and the environment, and targeting key areas, links between departments have been created and creative approaches to problem solving have emerged, enabling the city to cost-effectively and proactively address current and potential issues. As a result of this program, and others have ranked Minneapolis among the top in the nation for its sustainability efforts.
  • Rice Creek Watershed District's Blue Thumb program was developed as an outreach program to assist municipalities in meeting individual water quality goals. The Blue Thumb–Planting for Clean Water program raises awareness about polluted stormwater runoff and encourages homeowners to do their part to protect water quality by planting native gardens, rain gardens, and stabilizing shorelines using native plants. By educating citizens, Blue Thumb works to reduce excess nutrients, suspended sediment and bacteria levels, loss of fisheries and buffer areas, erosion, and the need for pesticides.There are currently 25 Blue Thumb partners, including professionals from local governmental units (watershed and conservation districts, cities, counties); nonprofit and community organizations; the University of Minnesota Extension; and nursery and landscape professionals. contains information to help residents find out how to reduce runoff, including planting blueprints, a plant selector tool, local retailers and landscapers, grant information, how-to guides, presentations, program materials, and more. Blue Thumb does not replace existing programs, but brings partners together who agree to use standardized native plant terminology and present unified public education messages. This approach combines resources, minimizes duplication, saves time and money, and increases outreach to residents.
  • Honorable mention: The Elk River Library is a LEED-Gold-registered project. From the early stages, the project aimed to embody a high level of sustainable design and support the city's commitment to energy efficiency, with designs that are 60% more efficient than standard building code. Building materials include recycled-content products, as well as locally sourced products. Water-saving technologies, including landscape design, reduce on-site irrigation by 50%, and low-flow fixtures inside the building provide a potable water savings of 30%.
  • Honorable Mention: The City of Farmington Green Team is a volunteer committee of city employees assembled to create and implement initiatives that promote environmental awareness and responsibility. The Green Team is evaluating existing policies and developing new policies and procedures to include environmentally responsible practices to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. The team has already worked on new standards for park equipment, enhancing internal and external recycling and waste reduction efforts, and installing energy-efficient lighting. Staff have also worked on environmental landscaping to minimize mowing and improve water quality. The team was instrumental in establishing sustainable building design standards, which to date have saved over $33,250 per year.
  • Honorable Mention: Minnesota Army Reserve National Guard's Combined Support and Maintenance Shop at Camp Ripley provides vehicle maintenance support for a wide variety of wheeled and track equipment. By purchasing an antifreeze distillation unit, the shop can clean dirty antifreeze and reduce future purchases. For every 55 gallons of dirty antifreeze collected, approximately 20 gallons can be recovered. Direct cost savings will start to accrue in less than four years.
  • Honorable Mention: The Minnesota Army Reserve National Guard at Camp Ripley needed to replace several thousand mattresses that were stored in over 400 different buildings. Instead of sending them to the Morrison County landfill, Camp Ripley choose to recycle the mattresses through a recycling program run by Goodwill Industries in Duluth. In all, the decision helped recycle 40,000 pounds of steel and recover 100,000 pounds of cotton fill, and disposal costs were reduced by nearly $32,000.
  • Honorable Mention: Olmsted County initiated a partnership contract with the local United Way agency and copier contractor E.O. Johnson to provide out-of-date copiers at no cost to nonprofit agencies when the county replaced its old copiers. Believing the copiers could provide 2 to 5 years of service, the contractor agreed to refurbish and store the copiers until needed, and to provide a reasonable copier maintenance program. Olmsted County created a contract that expedites the process, resulting in the nonprofit receiving the copier much quicker. This contract serves as a great alternative to sending the copiers to a landfill and helps nonprofit organizations use their money for alternative needs.
  • Honorable Mention: Sherburne County Solid Waste Department. As a part of its policy to reduce county dependence on landfilling, the Board of Commissioners adopted the Landfill Abatement Legacy Grant Program, which will award grants to local units of government for using at least 25% post-consumer recycled content materials in construction of city- or township-owned buildings. The grant program is believed to be the first of its kind in Minnesota, and offers residents an opportunity to learn more about recycled-content materials. It also increases the marketability of recycled material and will encourage more manufacturers to create products from recycled materials. Over 100 companies in Minnesota incorporate post-consumer recycled material in their manufacturing, and Sherburne County helps these companies by providing them an opportunity to showcase their products in municipal building construction. So far, three Landfill Abatement Legacy Grants have been awarded.



  • Redwood County Environmental Office's Mobile Environmental Education Transport is a custom-built, 30-foot enclosed trailer that contains many hands-on educational tools designed to teach people of all ages about environmental issues. The main objective of this unit is to increase public awareness about environmental issues facing rural Minnesota and throughout the state. Redwood County Environmental Office staff and MEET travel to schools and public events throughout Redwood County and neighboring counties in southwest Minnesota. MEET has made a concentrated effort to create awareness and provide enough information for citizens to make sound environmental decisions.
  • For The Eco Experience at the State Fair, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) worked with the Minnesota State Fair and dozens of public and private partners to create a first-of-its-kind exhibit at the 2006 Minnesota State Fair. Unique exhibits, inside and outside the building, allowed approximately 350,000 Minnesota State Fair visitors to interact with cutting-edge displays on important environmental topics. This is the first large-scale effort of its kind in the nation intended to explain how environmentally friendly practices and choices can keep our water and air clean and preserve natural resources, while supporting economic development.
  • The new addition to the city of Plymouth's Public Safety and City Hall expanded the building's space, but kept the environmental footprint to a minimum. The building incorporated many green features, from reusing major portions of the existing building to a "green roof" with native plants and grasses. The program was reviewed under Xcel Energy's Energy Design Assistance Plan Review Program; the resulting green design conserves more than a quarter of a million kilowatt hours, the energy equivalent of unplugging about 25 homes.
  • The Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District needed a new building. The watershed district led by example and built a facility that not only has a minimal ecological impact but is also a leader by incorporating several green building designs. One of the most innovative aspects of the site is its infiltration-based stormwater management system that uses native plants, rainwater gardens, a green roof, and a porous-asphalt parking lot. This system prevents stormwater runoff from discharging to nearby bodies of water, and uses it to irrigate the native plants on the site instead. The new facility increases water quality in the area, conserves energy and water, and incorporates recycled products into the building all while maintaining economic efficiency.
  • Heron Lake Watershed District's WATER program (Watershed Assistance Through Education and Resources) focuses on five goals: Increase public awareness of water quality issues; reduce non-point and point-source pollution; improve water quantity management within the watershed; monitor lake water quality; improve habitat for wildlife species. These goals have helped increase water quality in the area. A comparison of 1992 results to 2005 results shows that phosphorous concentrations have decreased 61 percent, and suspended solids have decreased by 17 percent from the two inlets to Heron Lake. Through water quality sampling, volunteer monitoring, and a hydrology study, water quality continues to be evaluated.
  • Through a cooperative effort, city of Mankato Wastewater Treatment Facility added phosphorus removal and filtration so reclaimed wastewater can be piped directly to the nearby Calpine power plant for cooling water to replace evaporative losses in energy production. This will save more than 25 billion gallons of water, conserving the local aquifer. After its use in the power plant, the water has been cleaned to an even higher standard before discharge into the Minnesota River. Based on a four-year average, this partnership was able to reduce phosphorus by 52,000 pounds, and turbidity has decreased from 4-5 NTUs (nephelolometric turbidity units) to just 1 NTU. These changes have resulted in better water quality and better aquatic habitat in the Minnesota River.
  • The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) recently completed construction of the most advanced wastewater reclamation facility in Minnesota. Features of the plant include an ultra-filtration process that is unique to wastewater treatment processes in this region, a biosolids drying process, a comprehensive water use and reuse plan that uses the reclamation water for golf course irrigation and minimizes downstream impacts, and an innovative facility design that includes the largest "green" roof in the upper Midwest?31,000 square feet. As a result, each year the facility will: save approximately 85 million gallons of water; reduce biosolids by 1.1 million pounds; reduce water pollutants by 25,000 pounds; reduce water runoff by 60,000 cubic feet; and save $200,000. The building's heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer will be reduced by the green roof and noise pollution will be minimized by approximately 40 decibels. This facility truly serves as a model for others.
  • Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) started a food waste drop-site program in May 2004 as part of a continuing effort to recover and divert organic material from the district's solid waste stream. Providing localized drop-sites allows residents and small businesses to accumulate food waste until an adequate quantity warrants a trip, and is more energy-efficient than curbside collection from widely dispersed customers or transporting organics to the landfill. WLSSD created Waste-Free Party Kits to facilitate food waste recovery, with portable bins with compostable liners, information on sources of compostable utensils, prepared signage, and instructions on source separation and use of drop sites. The four drop sites are expected to collect 25 tons of food waste in 2006, and may expand.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Environmental Services developed a bioremediation technique to treat excavated petroleum-contaminated soil using "biomounds." Petroleum-contaminated soil is mixed with manure and wood chips to provide bacteria with a healthy environment to break down petroleum. This process is cost-effective and reduces petroleum concentrations, yielding a by-product that does not harm theenvironment; the treated soil can be used as a soil amendment in road projects. Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil have been kept out of the landfill from this program.
  • Carlton County's Highway Department demolished a large 1940s-era concrete building. Out of a potential 480 tons, the county sent only 1.5 tons of material to the landfill. To achieve this, each component of the building was examined and removed carefully with the intent to reuse or recycle as much as possible. Doors, windows, lumber, and heating components were removed for reuse. The steel roof, re-rod, and trusses were removed and over 30 tons of steel was sold for recycling. Concrete was hauled to a gravel operation to be crushed and used in class 5 gravel road mixture. In the end, the extra time spent sorting material was offset by the dollar amount received for recycled steel and concrete.
  • Metropolitan Council Environmental Services' new, state-of-the-art Solids Management Building located at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant on the Mississippi River in St. Paul has dramatically reduced air emissions and energy use while reducing costs. Replacing an aging and outdated system, the Met Council looked to increase the amount of heat recovered from the process, decrease the reliance on non-renewable energy, reduce air pollution, and reduce the odor at the plant. The new system achieves all of these goals, saving money ($3.4 million annually), generating electricity, and reducing emissions (in its first full year of operation the project reduced air emissions of many pollutants by 95 percent).
  • Elk River Energy City installed a landfill-gas-to-electric generating plant through a cooperative agreement between the Elk River Landfill, Elk River Municipal Utilities, and Sherburne County. Methane gas, produced as a by-product of the waste decomposition process in landfills, is collected, filtered, and burned to generate over 20 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, which is sold Great River Energy for about $2.2 million/year. The facility includes an environmental learning center to educate about the system, along with other environmental issues. This unique partnership among the city, county, local utilities, and the private landfill has been instrumental in developing the center and has helped Elk River reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Elk River Energy City's Energy House III is a collaboration between Suburban Northwest Builders Association, Northwoods Custom Homes and Remodeling, seven project partners, and 31 project suppliers. Energy House III was built in April 2006 to provide builders and homeowners with a template of energy-efficient and renewable-energy technologies that could be replicated anywhere (new construction or retrofitted homes), and will be used for demonstration purposes and tours until March 2008. The project features advanced building methods to eliminate unnecessary electrical use: insulated panels, Styrofoam T-Mass Poured-in-Place insulation system, a geothermal pump, and special 0.18 U-factor windows. Recycled products were used whenever possible along with low-VOC materials. The technologies used in the house are saving energy and costs, while reducing pollution. With all of the energy upgrades put into the house, over $1,250 per year will be saved in energy costs. Annual air emissions will be reduced by nearly 37,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and 100 pounds of both sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. As an added bonus, the house is also educating the public on things citizens can do to their own home.



  • The Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program, run by the Department of Commerce, provides an incentive to Minnesota electricity consumers to use solar electricity. The program offers general consumers the opportunity to receive roughly a 25 percent rebate on dealer-installed solar systems. In three years, the state-run program has more than doubled solar electricity in Minnesota, adding 223 kilowatts. It is estimated that the solar panels from this program will offset 223,000 kilowatt hours of traditional electricity, avoiding the following pollutants: 365,720 pounds CO2; 1,110 pounds SO2; 876 pounds NOx; and just over 1 ounce of mercury.
  • Winona County Environmental Services Department's Used Motor Oil Container Program was created to address the problem of spills of waste oil at the county HHW facility due to use of improper containers by residents. To promote solid waste reduction, protect ground and surface water, recycle more oil, and help with worker safety, staff came up with the idea to purchase efficiently sized 2?-gallon containers with educational labels and distribute them to county residents that use the HHW center. By purchasing the containers, the county has seen a reduction in spills, a decrease in staff time needed for oil recycling, and less contamination.
  • The University of Minnesota's E85 Program. In 1995, the university began purchasing vehicles compatible with E85 fuel, and the number has grown to 71—currently 14 percent of the university’s fleet—including cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. They also worked to encourage drivers to use E85 fuel instead of gas. When the university relocated Fleet Services and built a new facility in 2000, an E85 tank and pump were added into the plans; another E85 tank and pump were added in 2003. To ensure that E85 was selected during oncampus refueling, drivers of leased and rented fleet vehicles were provided with a fuel key that works only at the E85 pump, a clever idea that helped E85 reach 50 percent of the total fuel used for E85 vehicles on the Twin Cities campus.
  • City of Fridley's Your Eco Home television show. Since 1998, Fridley has been incorporating recycling information into a quarterly community television program called Community Development Journal, with cable television and the city’s web site providing a no-cost way to distribute much-needed environmental education throughout the community. Covered topics include waste reduction, environmentally friendly yard care, air quality, and construction salvage and reuse. The overall goal of the program is to give viewers correct environmental information so that they can make informed decisions.
  • Wayzata’s Curbside Organics Collection Program. In 2003, Wayzata implemented a citywide pilot project to divert residential source-separated organics to composting, rather than disposal or resource recovery. During the pilot project, 215 tons of organics, primarily food waste and non-recyclable paper, was diverted from the waste of Wayzata’s 1,252 households and composted into a valuable soil amendment. Residential garbage generated by Wayzata’s residents decreased by 12 percent, while recycling tonnage increased by 23 percent. In early 2005, the city council unanimously approved adding organics collection to the city’s regular recycling services.
  • MPCA/OEA Alliance for Reduction and Recycling of Waste (ARROW) Team was established in 1989, with staff from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Office of Environmental Assistance creating a committee to provide building-specific information about waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. Since 1995, the amount of waste produced in the building has decreased from 113,000 pounds to just 64,000 pounds. The two agencies have also reduced the need for purchasing new office supply products because of the emphasis ARROW places on reusing materials such as binders, folders, and paper.
  • Northeast Minnesota Mattress Recycling Pilot Project is a complete system that provides for the collection, deconstruction, and recycling of mattresses in northeast Minnesota. The project began as a grant to hold a workshop for stakeholders to develop and implement a mattress recycling project. The recycling project brought together partners from Goodwill Industries, universities, the hospitality industry, retailers, and the seven counties in northeast Minnesota. As of February 2005, over 4,500 mattresses have been deconstructed, over 100 tons of recyclable material have been diverted from the landfill, and jobs have been created. The project has become a model for other organizations across the nation.
  • The Camp Ripley Recycling Program (Little Falls) was established to reduce waste generated throughout Camp Ripley by procuring environmentally friendly products, reducing waste, and recycling as much as possible. This goal has been incorporated and institutionalized within the Minnesota Army National Guard Environmental Management System and Policy. In 1988, Camp Ripley was generating 8? pounds of refuse per person per day; by 2004, this amount had dropped to less than 2? pounds of refuse per person per day. Camp Ripley currently recycles over 63 different items and systematically reviews the waste stream for new or expanded recycling initiatives. More than 3,500 tons of material have been recycled, with landfill disposal cost savings of $263,175.
  • Glensheen Estate Low-impact Development, Shoreline and Bank Stabilization Projects. The Glensheen Estate is located on the rapidly developing shoreline of Lake Superior in Duluth. The goals of this project were to: improve water quality of storm water from the parking lot at Glensheen Estate into Lake Superior; stabilize the clay bank in order to reduce waves, rain, and surface flow erosion during large storms; and provide a location where the general public can see examples of and become educated on low-impact development practices. All of these goals have been accomplished. The bank stabilization portion is protecting 140 feet of easily erodible bank. An estimated 70 tons of soil erosion will be kept out of Lake Superior trout spawning habitat because of the project. Over 70,000 visitors tour Glensheen each year, and educational information on the project is displayed for the public to read. This project demonstrates a great example for other sites on Lake Superior to replicate.
  • Minnesota Army National Guard Battery Recharging Program, Rosemount FMS-1. The field maintenance shop implemented a rechargeable dry-cell-battery program in 2003, eliminating dry cell battery purchases and associated disposal costs. Rechargeable batteries can be reused hundreds of times, and once they no longer hold a charge, they can be recycled through the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation. During 2001 and 2002, nearly 850 pounds of dry cell batteries were discarded at a cost of $1,100. During 2003 and 2004, that number dropped to less than 200 pounds at a cost of $300. Starting this program saved the facility $800 in just two years’ time.



  • The Metropolitan Council Environmental Services Division for its partnership with the Minnesota Dental Association to develop and implement a voluntary dental clinic amalgam mercury recovery program. The project staff completed two research studies showing that dental clinics are a significant source of mercury to wastewater treatment plants and that cost-effective amalgam separators are available to dentists. The goal is to have all general practice dentists who place or remove amalgam install and operate a separator, significantly improving water quality in the state.
  • The Rice Creek Watershed District for its comprehensive wetland management plan, covering approximately 1,200 acres of land in the growth corridor of Blaine, that consolidates and preserves large tracts of high-quality wetlands while still allowing for development. The plan promotes smart growth and natural resource-based planning, improves wetland and ecological integrity, meets stormwater needs, satisfies landowner issues, and solves a 15-year legal impasse.
  • The Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board for Community POWER (Partners on Waste Education and Reduction), a program that reaches people with waste reduction messages through organizations or institutions they are already part of, such as churches, senior groups, youth groups, schools, arts organizations, neighborhood associations, social service agencies, and civic groups. In its first two years, Community POWER involved over 3,100 people in waste reduction activities and reached 150,000 other people with waste reduction messages through newsletters, e-mail, direct mail, presentations, and community newsletters.
  • The Steele County Sheriff's Office for incorporating many design features that benefit the environment into its newly constructed county detention center. A geothermal heating and cooling system reduces the need for natural gas, and daylighting reduces the need for artificial lighting and improves the general atmosphere. The building's architects carefully selected materials with recycled content that can also be recycled later, along with products that have fewer emissions of volatile organic compounds.
  • The Iron Range Resources Mineland Reclamation Division for conserving a significant amount of energy with its lighting upgrade in the growth chambers of the Mineland Reclamation headquarters in Chisholm. New 1,000 watt metal halide bulbs and reflectors distribute light to 150,000 seedlings, with excess heat from the bulbs going to heat 1,000 gallons of water that is circulated throughout the remaining office space. No extra heating fuel is required when the growth chamber is operating, cutting energy use by 67 percent.
  • Linda Schaumburg and staff at the Minnesota State Operated Community Services–Northern Region for developing and marketing Northern Sparks Firestarters. Linda designed and developed the manufacturing for the firestarters, which consist of 100 percent recycled materials assembled into a waterproof firestarter that burns for 20 minutes or more, replacing liquid firestarters and kindling that is sometimes harvested illegally in parks.
  • The Metro WaterShed Partners, a collaboration of water resource educators in the Twin Cities, for their "Minnesota Water – Let's Keep It Clean" stormwater education program that provided consistent clean-water messages in mass media across the Twin Cities metro area. The Metro WaterShed Partners also made ready-to-adapt stormwater educational materials available to cities and neighborhood organizations.
  • The Metropolitan Council Environmental Services Division for sustainable design in the expansion of the Eagles Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cottage Grove. The plant was tripled in capacity while in continuous operation on a limited-area site in a sensitive environmental location on the bluffs above the Mississippi River. Sustainable design features include building orientation, insulation, lighting and daylighting, office furnishings, recycling of demolition debris, and stormwater control and landscaping. Two remarkable features are elimination of specific toxic chemicals and heating and cooling. Chlorine gas and liquid sodium bisulfite were replaced by ultraviolet lamps for disinfection of the 3-million-gallon daily flow of effluent. Heating and cooling of the plant administration building is supplemented by a thermal heat pump exchange with the relatively year-round consistent temperature of that same effluent.
  • The city of Albert Lea for the distributed generation project at its wastewater treatment plant. The project uses methane generated by bacteria during the wastewater treatment process to power four micro turbines that generate electricity. The exhaust heat in turn heats the water that is used in the biogas generation. By using biogas as a fuel, the project avoids using 6 therms of natural gas per hour (52,560 therms/year), and the payback is expected to be 3.4 years.
  • The Crow Wing County Solid Waste Office for its used oil collection program, which provides user-friendly and convenient drop-off locations for used oil to residents and tourists alike, so that residents and visitors can continue to enjoy all that the popular recreation area has to offer. Extensive education and advertising help ensure the effectiveness and success of the program.
  • Dakota County for its vision, leadership, and commitment to design and construct high-performance, sustainable building projects, as exemplified by the Dakota County Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center. The visitor center demonstrates how adequate and sustainable spaces can be constructed with the smallest ecological footprint upon the site and surrounding areas, while also providing a highly energy-efficient and long-lasting facility with minimal impact upon future operating costs.
  • Dakota Valley Recycling serving the cities of Burnsville, Eagan, and Apple Valley with a joint recycling program that provides economies of scale, reduces duplicate efforts, and promotes a uniform message to residents of all three cities. The program has initiated a pilot curbside organics collection program, strengthened environmental partnerships with businesses and residents, and conducted extensive outreach and education to many different audiences within the county.



  • Ramsey County Property Management Division for the deconstruction of a 1940s-era ammunitions building at the Twin Cities’ Army Ammunitions Plant in Arden Hills. Ramsey County Property Management worked closely with the deconstruction contractor to deconstruct the building at a cost well below the bid for standard demolition, providing savings to the county. The project made available 87 percent of the building materials for reuse or recycling, leaving only 13 percent to be sent to the landfill. End markets have been identified for all the reused and recycled building materials.
  • Independent School District 196 (Rosemount-Eagan-Apple Valley District, Dakota County) for implementing a project to compost the entire district’s organic solid waste. Compostable waste is converted into a rich, organic soil amendment that is purchased back by the district for use on athletic fields and in landscaping and erosion control projects. The district saves on disposal costs and continues to observe a significant enhancement of its environmental education programs at all grade levels.
  • The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) for their work with the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program, a joint effort of the American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve environmental performance in the healthcare sector. MnTAP staff played a major role in the development of two key resource documents on chemical waste minimization and total waste reduction in healthcare facilities, and have engaged many Minnesota hospitals in the H2E project through technical assistance, outreach, and the MnTAP internship program. MnTAP received a Champions for Change Award in recognition of its leadership in promoting pollution prevention programs within the healthcare field.
  • Lynne Markus, IPPAT representative from the Department of Administration’s Resource Recovery Office, for demonstrating outstanding leadership and commitment to pollution prevention, waste reduction, and recycling. Lynne founded the program to set up a recycling system in state government. In addition, Lynne has been a strong and loyal supporter of IPPAT’s efforts since its inception in 1991, helping design the MnGREAT! awards (serving as a judge several times) and the agency pollution prevention summary reports, and helping to revise the Governor’s executive order for two successive administrations.
  • Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County Commissioner, who was the driving force behind an initiative to incorporate environmental attributes into the construction of the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center in St. Paul, where demolition wastes were separated and recycled, and recycled paint and asphalt were used in construction. The building will employ district heating and energy-efficient lighting and controls. Commissioner Reinhardt has also worked tirelessly to incorporate product stewardship and toxicity reduction into the policies of the Association of Minnesota Counties and the National Association of Counties. Her work promoting the resolutions at state and national meetings shows a strong commitment and dedication to the environment.
  • Donna Peterson, Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, for providing consistently excellent service to her colleagues and Minnesota businesses for the past 20 years. As a nationally recognized pollution prevention expert in the printing industry, one of Minnesota’s largest industries, Donna was a critical team member for the Great Printers Project, which prompted over 40 Minnesota printers to sign on to environmental, health, and safety practices. In addition, Donna coordinated the student intern program at MnTAP for several years, supervising over ten intern projects in diverse businesses from printing to shingle manufacturing and helped 8 Minnesota companies reduce solvent and cleaning wastes by 140,000 gallons per year through an EPA technical assistance project. Donna has served as IPPAT representative for many years and has often served as a judge for the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Pollution Prevention.



  • Ned Brooks and the Living Green Expo steering committee - Special Recognition Award
    IPPAT presents a special recognition award to MPCA staff member Ned Brooks and the steering committee that planned the Living Green Expo, an urban sustainability fair held on April 27, 2002. The Expo provided information, resources, products, and technologies to the general public to help people reduce their environmental impact. Public, private, and nonprofit groups donated time, resources, and funding over a seven-month time period, resulting in a fair that exceeded most expectations. Over 150 vendors exhibited products and distributed information to an estimated 5,000 people who attended.
  • The University of Minnesota Facilities Management for its continuous improvement approach to all departments and operations, including energy conservation, environmentally preferable purchasing, mercury reduction, and adoption of green architectural principles.
  • The Department of Administration's Resource Recovery Office for its education programs about waste reduction and for promoting the reuse of office supplies from the state recycling center, which resulted in 13 agencies obtaining free supplies 91 times from the facility.
  • The Department of Administration-Materials Management Division and its electronics contracts committee for putting in place an electronics disposal contract that specifies that no component materials from used electronics are exported overseas for management.
  • The Department of Agriculture's Dairy and Food Inspection Division for implementing a project to remove and replace all the mercury manometers in Minnesota dairy barns, removing more than half a ton of mercury from the environment.
  • The city of Hutchinson for expanding its yard waste composting program to include source-separated food waste collected from residents, further reducing the amount of refuse going to the landfill and conserving a valuable resource.
  • The city of Oakdale Public Works Department for its commitment to green building when planning its public works expansion and for implementing "Generation Green," a voluntary energy and resource conservation program for businesses in the community.
  • The Department of Natural Resources-Facilities and Operation Support Bureau for employing the principles of sustainable architecture, as described in the Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide, when designing DNR regional office buildings in Tower and Windom. Their integrated approach included land use, site design, indoor air quality, materials selection, water, energy, and waste considerations.
  • Downtown Minneapolis Transportation Management Organization, Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the St. Paul Transportation Management Organization, Metro Commuter Services, and Metro Transit for promoting employee transit benefits, leading to an increase in bus ridership of between 20 percent and 75 percent at participating businesses, with an estimated annual reduction of over 1.6 million gallons of gasoline consumed. This resulted in reductions in emissions of over 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide, along with over 1,000 tons of carbon monoxide, and 310 tons of ground level ozone precursors.



  • Dave PehoskiDistinguished Service Award
    IPPAT presented Dave Pehoski a MnGREAT! award for his steadfast support of the group since joining in 1992. Dave has been a consistent and active representative to IPPAT from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
      On behalf of MnDOT, Dave has enthusiastically shared many technical solutions to hazardous waste, recycling and pollution prevention problems with IPPAT members. He has been an integral part of MnDOT teams that have achieved successes in pollution prevention, resulting in the consolidation of approximately 130 statewide district hazardous waste generators into very small quantity generators. He also encouraged all state agencies to use the environmental auditing system developed by MnDOT and the Minnesota Department of Administration.
      Dave displays the highest professional standards in his work, and IPPAT members appreciate his teamwork and strong commitment to governmental pollution prevention. He has served on various IPPAT work groups, including crafting the Governor's Executive Order on Pollution Prevention to state agencies and serving on the MnGREAT! awards committee.
  • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Region I and Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth for the "Mercury-Free Zone" project, an outreach and education program to eliminate mercury from the schools in the region. Staff from the MPCA and WLSSD sent over 100 letters to schools throughout the seven-county region of northeast Minnesota, inviting them to pledge to become mercury free by 2003. Over 40 schools made the pledge and over 130 pounds of elemental mercury and mercury-contaminated equipment have been eliminated from the schools as of May 2001. They anticipate many more schools will join and much more mercury will be eliminated in the fall.
  • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency – St. Paul, for the "Pollution Prevention in Building Demolitions" outreach and education program. Recognizing the numerous environmental issues encountered during building demolition projects, Pollution Control Agency staff established a partnership with local governments, building owners and demolition contractors to provide training through conferences, fact sheets and technical guidance. They train owners and demolition contractors to recognize hazardous waste and to remove it prior to building demolition, resulting in significant reductions in hazardous materials going to unlined demolition landfills.
  • The University of Minnesota Extension-Hennepin County and Health Care Without Harm for the "Mercury Thermometers and Family Health in Minnesota" project. The project provided outreach and education to communities in Minnesota, especially the Hmong and Hispanic communities, about health threats from mercury in the environment. Project partners distributed "Mercury Thermometers and Your Family's Health" brochures to health care providers, childbirth educators, childcare centers, midwives and others statewide. The project also conducted thermometer exchanges in Hennepin County, replacing over 1,100 mercury thermometers with mercury-free thermometers.
  • The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for the "Chain of Lakes Clean Water Partnership", an urban lake restoration program. This six-year, $8.1 million program was a team effort headed by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, in partnership with the city of Minneapolis, the city of St. Louis Park, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and Hennepin County. Project partners combined environmental engineering strategies and community involvement, which has significantly improved water quality in the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes.


  • Paul MossDistinguished Service Award
    Paul Moss is honored by his peers for his ten years of leadership and consistent support of pollution prevention and sustainability. As a founder and mentor to the Interagency Pollution Prevention Advisory Team (IPPAT), he is recognized as a champion of IPPAT and pollution prevention.
  • The Metropolitan Council Environmental Services Division's Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant is recognized for innovations in energy recovery and wastewater handling technology. The Metro WWTP employees converted the secondary wastewater treatment tanks' air-delivery system to fine-bubble diffusion, doubling the oxygen transfer rate and dramatically decreasing the power required for the air compressors. They recover energy from the incineration of biosolids to heat the plant, run pumps and fans and treat the solids. Projected cost savings for these two innovations are nearly $3 million annually, with a combined annual energy savings of 25 percent since 1996. This also means that 8,130 tons of coal are not burned to generate electricity. The energy savings prevent air emissions of 173 tons of nitrous oxides, 512 tons of sulfur oxides, and 58,500 tons of carbon dioxide.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Department of Administration are recognized for designing a program that allows state agencies to identify the total volume of a commodity purchased, which aids in calculating cost savings after implementing a pollution prevention or waste minimization project. Using this tool, MnDOT determined overall hazardous waste disposal savings of over $70,000 since 1996. Breaking down the total dollars spent on hazardous waste disposal to dollars spent on disposal of a specific waste allows agencies to measure the success of a specific pollution prevention or waste minimization project.
  • The Minnesota State Patrol and the Department of Administration Materials Management Division are recognized for establishing and using a contract to refurbish and reuse the State Patrol's 1995 Chevrolet Caprice police automobiles. The Patrol refurbished 137 police vehicles and political subdivisions refurbished 27 vehicles. The refurbishing project resulted in estimated savings of $1,055,000 for the State Patrol and $208,000 for political subdivisions and prevented the pollution that would have been associated with the manufacture of 164 new automobiles.
  • Tom Wilts and his colleagues at Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota, are recognized for 26 years of dedication to safety, pollution control, hazardous waste management and recycling at the college. In addition to always looking for products that are environmentally friendly, Tom and his colleagues have helped the college reduce energy consumption with variable frequency motor drives. Revenue from a recycling program that Tom has maintained since 1977 goes toward a scholarship program for work-study students employed by the maintenance department. Since 1977 they have awarded scholarships to 43 work-study students.
  • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee is recognized for maintaining an extensive composting project since September of 1999. The project allows all compostable materials to be collected and managed separately from non-compostable refuse. The material list includes cafeteria food waste, napkins, biodegradable utensils and paper towels from restrooms. In the first eight months of the program, 33 percent of the solid waste generated was composted.
  • The Department of Commerce, Energy Division is recognized for its promotion of alternative fuels, such as E85 and biodiesel from homegrown renewable crops, compressed natural gas, and liquefied natural gas. The department has purchased difficult-to-find flexible-fuel vehicles capable of using E85 and has taken the initiative to increase E85 fueling sites in the metro area, with a goal of 45 sites by the end of the year.
  • The University of Minnesota is recognized for its Gateway Project, a "green" initiative to demonstrate that recycled paint is a quality alternative to virgin paint. The Gateway interior walls used 1,100 gallons of recycled paint, which is the largest commercial use of recycled paint thus far in Minnesota.
  • The Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, Minnesota, is recognized for maintaining an extensive recycling and composting program. The prison camp's vermicomposting project uses red wiggler worms to turn organic waste material, such as food and paper, into compost.
  • The employees of the Minnesota Department of Administration's State Recycling Center are recognized for designing and building innovative, ergonomically sound recycling equipment using 100 percent post-consumer plastic lumber. Facility tours and traveling displays promote the practicality of using 100 percent post-consumer plastic lumber in construction.
  • The Minnesota Department of Administration's Materials Management Division, Central Stores, and Resource Recovery Office are recognized for their work on environmentally preferable purchasing. The Materials Management Division has developed contracts for environmentally responsible products and services estimated in excess of $39 million per year. Central Stores has added environmentally preferable products to its shelves. The Resource Recovery Office has contributed to the development of the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide and has promoted environmental purchasing by public agencies through displays, training and workshops.
  • The Department of Administration Resource Recovery Office and Print Communications Division are recognized for their promotion of environmental printing. The Resource Recovery Office provides guidance and education to government agencies to reduce the toxicity and amount of waste generated during design and printing of publications. The Print Communications Division is registered as a "Great Printer," participating in the Minnesota Great Printers Project, a program that promotes environmentally preferable printing.
  • The Becker County Environmental Services Department, the city of Detroit Lakes, and the Pelican River Watershed District are recognized for working with consultants and contractors to deconstruct a turkey processing plant in Detroit Lakes. The project recovered over 8,000 cubic feet of concrete that was crushed and reused for aggregate, and over 5,000 cubic yards of recyclable metals, glass and carpeting. Contractors used some of these materials in the construction of a new store on the same site.


  • Hennepin County for their Sustainable Design Guide and Rating System, which has been the motivation behind the growth of new partnerships, legislative initiatives, and a wide array of programs and strategies to benefit the environment. The guide and rating system provides a systematic method of incorporating environmentally responsible design and management practices into county facilities, such as the new Public Works facility in Medina.
  • Houston County for the ClassCycle Bikes Project of Houston, which removes bicycles from the waste stream. Student technicians repair and refurbish them for public use. A master technician trains the students, who run the business themselves, where schedules, pricing, inventory, advertising, bike repair, and sales are completely managed by students.
  • St. Cloud Technical College for developing a CD-ROM program to train automotive specialists on the proper ways of managing the waste generated by the automotive industry. The program provides links to appropriate Internet Web sites, ensuring that the learners using the program have consistent environmental information.
  • The WaterShed Partners, a coalition of 36 public, private, and non-profit organizations, for working collaboratively to develop and implement educational programs to reduce urban runoff in the Metropolitan Area. The WaterShed exhibit has reached over 200,000 adults and children at nearly 100 different events and venues in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.
  • Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) for the Mercury Zero Discharge project, a partnership throughout the community to identify and eliminate mercury contributions from schools, hospitals, dentists and industry. WLSSD has also been selected as a recipient for a Governor's Award in Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention and a Minnesota Waste Wise award.


  • Kurt Schroeder, MPCA coordinates the Lafayette Park Transportation Committee, which encourages cycling, walking and transit use by employees of five state agencies in the northeast corner of downtown St. Paul. Kurt has initiated over a dozen projects to encourage state employees to walk, bike or bus to work and during the work day. He has organized the "Tour de Lafayette" lunch-time bike rides to familiarize staff with bike routes into downtown. He produces an e-mail message called "Bus Line" on commuting options for agency staff.
  • The team of Todd Stugelmayer, Kim Anderson, Brian Oxton, Gordy Bergman, Duane Money, and Alan Breuer of the Physical Plant at Moorhead State University was recognized for setting up an energy and water conservation project at Moorhead State University. Among new installations were low-flow shower heads in campus dorms and other buildings; an energy management control system in 19 buildings; a pool environmental unit; heating plant boiler economizers; and a blow down recovery system. The energy retrofit was sponsored by a state program and Northern States Power Company (NSP). The estimated payback is four years with estimated savings thereafter of $236,100 annually.
  • Bob Baker, Cari Hatcher, Art Kistler, Victoria Nelson, Mike Ramolae, Linda Rogers, staff from the Dept. of Parking and Transportation Services at the University of Minnesota coordinated a project which reduces auto idle time at parking garages at the U of M. Installation of new computer equipment at University parking ramps has reduced vehicle waiting time by approx. 1.5 seconds per car. Since 1993, this reduction has resulted in savings of 8,460 pounds of gasoline (approx. 1,000 gallons) and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 28,172 pounds.
  • Duane Faber, Berry Conway, Sharon Sigmon, Jeff Rehbein, Tom Weireke, and Gary Thrift, staff from the Printing, Communications & Media Division of the Department of Administration are recognized for their work with new technology that allows customers to submit projects electronically. This allows the department to print jobs on an as-needed basis and minimizes the printing of extra copies. Additionally, the department uses a printing class training manual that is printed on paper made from tropical grass sold by Fox River Paper. The paper is responsibly planted and harvested and is both chlorine and acid free.
  • Dann Adair and Michael Pumroy at the Dept. of Plant Pathology and Facilities Management at the University of Minnesota are recognized for their work to convert campus greenhouses to energy-efficient plant lighting. The new bulbs are more energy-efficient, longer lasting, and replaced PCB-laden transformers. This project has an estimated payback of 1.6 years with estimated savings thereafter of $60,897 annually.
Last modified on March 29, 2012 12:33

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