1994 Pollution Prevention Report - Introduction

Introduction to Prevention, Information Clearinghouse, Information Transfer, University Outreach, and Technical Assistance.

I. Introduction

A. Background

In 1993, the Virginia General Assembly adopted pollution prevention legislation (a copy is included as Appendix A). Similar to the federal Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, the Virginia law establishes a state policy to promote source reduction as a key environmental management option, followed in order of preference by reuse, recycling, treatment, and finally disposal. The policy includes minimizing the transfer of waste from one environmental medium (e.g., air, water, or land) to another. The legislation resulted from the efforts of the Joint Subcommittee Studying Pollution Prevention, which has been meeting since the fall of 1992. The Subcommittee is chaired by Senator R. Edward Houck and includes representatives from industry, local government and citizen organizations as well as legislators from both the House of Delegates and the Senate (a list of Subcommittee members is included as Appendix B).

One of the primary features of the 1993 law is the requirement that the Department of Environmental Quality establish a pollution prevention technical assistance program. As stated in 10.1-1425.12 of the law,

The Department shall establish a voluntary pollution prevention assistance program designed to assist all persons in promoting pollution prevention measures in the Commonwealth. The program shall emphasize assistance to local governments and businesses that have inadequate technical and financial resources to obtain information and toassess and implement pollution prevention measures.

The Office of Pollution Prevention, a non-regulatory, voluntary pollution prevention technical assistance program, was an existing program within the Department's Division of Policy and Research in 1993. In actuality, the Commonwealth's effortsat promoting pollution prevention began in late 1988 with the creation of the WasteMinimization Program in the Department of Waste Management. As the WasteMinimization Program matured and adopted a multimedia focus, its name was changed to the Office of Pollution Prevention. The 1993 legislation, in calling for theestablishment of a technical assistance program, helped to add focus to the existing program.

In addition to codifying the Department's pollution prevention program, the legislation authorizes the Department to create advisory panels, sponsor pilot projects, establish a waste exchange and develop grant programs (10.1-1425.13, 10.1-1425.14, 10.1-1425.15 and 10.1-1425.18 respectively). The Virginia Pollution Prevention Advisory Committee was established in the fall of 1993 to assist the Department in dministering the program (see Section VIII-B for more information). To date, the Department has not had the state resources needed to fund pilot projects, grants or a waste exchange.

During the 1994 session, the pollution prevention law was amended to detail the types of activities that the Department's pollution prevention program should pursue. As outlined in 10.1-1425.12.,

The program may include, but shall not be limited to:

  1. Establishment of a pollution prevention clearinghouse for all available information concerning waste reduction, waste minimization, source reduction, economic and energy savings, and pollution prevention

  2. Assistance in transferring information concerning pollution prevention technologies through workshops, conferences and handbooks

  3. Cooperation with university programs to develop pollution prevention curricula and training

  4. Technical assistance to generators of toxic or hazardous substances, including on-site consultation to identify alternative methods that may be applied to prevent pollution

  5. Researching and recommending incentive programs for innovative pollution prevention programs.

Similar to the original legislation, the amendments assisted the Department in focusing its efforts on those areas deemed most important by the Virginia General Assembly.

The 1993 pollution prevention legislation included a requirement for the Department to submit an evaluation report to the Governor and the appropriate committees of the General Assembly each December 1, beginning in 1994 (10.1-1425.17). This evaluation report is the first to be submitted by the Department and summarizes the activities of the Office of Pollution Prevention during calendar years 1993 and 1994.

B. History of the Office of Pollution Prevention

The Office of Pollution Prevention (OPP), originally called the Waste Minimization Program, was established in the fall of 1988 in the Office of Policy, Planning and Public Affairs, a non-regulatory branch of the former Department of Waste Management, as a free, voluntary pollution prevention technical assistance program. Although the Department of Waste Management had been involved informally with pollution prevention for several years, a report prepared by the Toxics Roundtable, an association of public interest groups and industry, led to the formal establishment of a program.

During the period 1990-1993, the primary activities of the Office were those associated with the Interagency Multimedia Pollution Prevention (IMPP) project, funded under a $300,000 "Pollution Prevention Incentives for States" grant from EPA. The goal of the IMPP project was to establish a cooperative pollution prevention effort between the Department of Waste Management, the Department of Air Pollution Control and the State Water Control Board, formerly the three principal environmental regulatory agencies in Virginia before they were consolidated into the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in April, 1993. Each of the participating agencies appointed an internal "champion" to facilitate the incorporation of pollution prevention strategies into agency decision-making.

Under the IMPP project, several industries were targeted for assistance, including ship building and repair, wood furniture manufacturing and commercial printing. In order to ensure that the information was relevant and effective, the IMPP project team developed a different outreach strategy for each of the industry groups. Outreach efforts conducted under the IMPP project included workshops for ship repairers, a video for commercial printers and a manual/guide for wood furniture manufacturers, all of which were completed with assistance from trade associations and representatives of the industry. All pollution prevention outreach conducted under the IMPP project had a multimedia perspective (e.g., impacts related to air, water and land were considered), the first effort of its type in Virginia.

In addition to outreach to industry, the IMPP project team developed a one-day training workshop for staff of the three regulatory agencies. Approximately 300 staff members from the air, water and waste programs, including senior management, attended the workshop in the spring of 1992. The workshop consisted of a pollution prevention overview as well as hands-on exercises that illustrated the concept. Response to the training was overwhelmingly positive, which indicates the high degree of receptiveness among agency staff to pollution prevention as a means of conserving the environment.

DEQ was created as the single environmental agency for Virginia in April, 1993. Since that time, the program integration and cooperation begun under the IMPP project has continued. OPP, as a non-regulatory program, is established as an office within the Policy and Research Division.

The core of OPP is an information clearinghouse that contains an extensive collection of fact sheets, case studies, hardcopy publications, videos, journals and other materials related to pollution prevention. The Office offers clients customized research, and clients have direct access to engineering staff and other researchers for advice. Consultant and vendor files, provided to program clients on demand, are maintained in hard copy and on a computer database.

Current activities of the Office, which are discussed in more detail in the sections that follow, focus on integrating pollution prevention within the Department, as well as within local and regional governmental organizations and other state agencies, through efforts such as training workshops and the production of a quarterly newsletter. OPP staff members work with the Department's regulatory personnel on an increasing basis to identify ways of promoting voluntary pollution prevention. Outreach to industry continues in the form of targeted informational products and workshops.

OPP staff also has been involved in efforts within Virginia to study pollution prevention. In addition to working cooperatively with staff for the Joint Subcommittee Studying Pollution Prevention, OPP staff also has assisted members of the State Advisory Board to the Air Pollution Control Board in producing reports on pollution prevention for both 1993 and 1994.

C. Current Resources

The current staff of OPP consists of three full-time (manager, environmental engineer and marketing/sales representative) and three part-time (environmental engineer and two environmental program analysts) employees. Two general activities are at the core of the program: technical assistance and marketing. Activities include providing both telephone and written consultation, developing publications and other outreach materials, and conducting site visits to evaluate pollution prevention options.

It is difficult to assess the annual budget of the program for a variety of reasons, including that federal grant periods do not coincide with the state fiscal year cycle, and pollution prevention was not an agency budget item until fiscal year 1994. General funds expenditures, estimated at approximately $75,000 per year, have been leveraged to secure federal grant funds. The Department has been very successful in securing federal funding. In addition to the $300,000 IMPP grant outlined previously, the Department was awarded $155,600 in 1993 and $90,000 in 1994, the maximum amount available to the state under the competitive Pollution Prevention Incentives for States (PPIS) grant program. The Department expects to apply for an additional $80,000 under the same program during federal fiscal year 1995. Federal funds received under the PPIS program require a dollar for dollar match in state general funds.

OPP also has received approximately $550,000 for calendar years 1993-1994 under a federal program for management and planning associated with hazardous waste treatment capacity. This funding only required a ten percent state general fund match; however, because the funds are linked to the Superfund program, which by state law will end in 1994, additional funds from this program are not expected.

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Last Updated: October 11, 1995