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NIH Pollution Prevention Efforts Recognized

NIH recently received the "Businesses for the Bay 2002 Significant Achievement Award for a Government Facility." Businesses for the Bay (B4B) is the Chesapeake Bay Program's voluntary pollution prevention program; it includes more than 500 businesses, industries, government facilities and other organizations in the bay watershed. The award was presented at the organization's annual conference, "Towards Zero Regulation — Business Strategies for a Healthier Chesapeake Bay," held in Linthicum heights, Md.

Institutional pollution prevention programs competing for B4B awards were judged by several award criteria. The major NIH accomplishments cited were: 99+% reductions in generation of mixed waste (radioactive/chemical waste); exceeding goals for total reductions of chemicals reported under EPA's Toxic Chemical Inventory reporting system; the "Mad as a Hatter? Campaign for a Mercury-Free NIH" and its extensive outreach efforts to schools and communities; power plant improvements including construction of a new cogeneration facility that will minimize use of the more polluting conventional methods of power generation — when this facility comes online later this year it is expected to produce a regional savings of 815.5 tons of air emissions per year; installation of a state-of-the-art water reclamation system at NIH's Poolesville facility preventing discharges of 100,000 gallons per day of waste water from the facility's treatment plant to surface waters.

On hand for NIH's award from Businesses for the Bay are (from l) Richard Pecora, secretary of Maryland's department of the environment; Steve Ficca, NIH associate director for research services; and Ed Rau of the Environmental Protection Branch, ORS.

Steve Ficca, director of the Office of Research Services, and Ed Rau of the Environmental Protection Branch, Division of Safety, ORS accepted the award. They emphasized that contributions to the award-winning effort were made by diverse disciplines — from the many individual investigators who have worked to improve laboratory waste minimization at the bench top, to the engineers and developers of major facility infrastructure improvement projects such as the new power generation and wastewater reclamation facilities.

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