The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded hundreds of thousands worth of grants to prevent pollution in New York, the agency announced Wednesday, including funding smart meters on college campuses, reducing hazardous chemicals in high school laboratories, and promoting alternatives to dry cleaning.
“EPA’s pollution prevention grants help businesses, colleges and state agencies identify strategies to reduce the use of toxic materials, save energy, protect human health and save money,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “These grants will fund programs that reduce or eliminate waste at the source, instead of treating pollution after it is generated.”
The EPA awarded the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology a $69,000 grant to promote wet cleaning in dry cleaners throughout the state. Traditional dry cleaning uses an environmentally hazardous solvent, according to the EPA, while wet cleaning uses water-based biodegradable detergents.
The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute will select two dry cleaners as case studies, and will provide technical assistance and funding to defray equipment costs for converting to wet cleaning. Information will be shared with other dry cleaning businesses.
The EPA is also providing the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation $180,000 to train college students to work as interns in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities conducting pollution prevention assessments of their operations. The EPA says the goal will be to achieve measurable reductions in energy and water use, minimize contaminants present in wastewater discharges, and reduce operational costs.
EPA is also providing the agency with $90,000 to reduce hazardous chemicals being used, stored and generated by New York State high school laboratories by providing assistance with chemical inventories, the development of chemical hygiene plans and the distribution of green chemistry guides.
Additionally, in support of pollution prevention, EPA will be hosting a one-day conference entitled “Unleashing Green Chemistry and Engineering in Service of a Sustainable Future,” on Friday, September 23, 2011 at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. The event will highlight and encourage green chemistry and engineering innovations, investments, applications, and policies which can lead to improved human health and the environment and a more sustainable economy.