1994 Pollution Prevention Report - University Outreach

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

IV. University Outreach

In late 1993, the DEQ-University Pollution Prevention Workgroup was established to coordinate outreach efforts between OPP and Virginia's state universities. Representatives from the engineering departments at Virginia Military Institute, the University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI), and Old Dominion University were given basic guidance on establishing a university- based pollution prevention technical assistance program in a workshop that was held on November 11, 1993. The training, which was provided by the University of Tennessee under contract with OPP, focused on establishing outreach programs that utilize engineering students to perform pollution prevention opportunity assessments for companies.

Members of the workgroup have pledged to work cooperatively in seeking funding opportunities and expanding Virginia's pollution prevention efforts (a current list of contacts is included as Appendix C). Each institution has become involved in one or more pollution prevention efforts during the past several years.

Virginia Military Institute Research Laboratories (VMIRL) presents the Environment Virginia symposium, which focuses primarily on pollution prevention, each spring to an audience of more than 450 industry, consulting and government representatives. Fifty exhibitors were present at the 1994 conference. VMIRL produced a video entitled, "Pollution Prevention and the Virginia Manufacturer: Making a Difference," and an accompanying manual in 1994 on pollution prevention opportunities for industry in addition to the conference. The Department provided a grant in support of the video project, and OPP staff as well as consultants contributed to the manual. The manual features chapters on printing, textile production, metals fabrication, and mining and is being distributed by both the Department and VMIRL. The video highlights pollution prevention successes at a number of Virginia companies, including General Electric Drive Systems (Salem), Merck Company (Elkton), DuPont Spruance (Richmond), Aqualon (Hopewell), and Loral Federal Systems (Manassas). VMIRL currently is developing a manual and video on pollution prevention opportunities for local governments; this effort is also a cooperative endeavor between VMIRL, the Department, consulting firms and other organizations.

The Institute for Environmental Negotiation and the UVA Darden School recently completed the study, "Virginia Small Business: Competitive Opportunities through Pollution Prevention and Toxics Management," in cooperation with the Management Institute for Environment and Business of Washington, D.C. The study, which was completed with the assistance of OPP and the Virginia Pollution Prevention Advisory Committee (see Section VIII-B for more information on the committee), examines the benefits of pollution prevention for small businesses. Six industries were studied: wood furniture manufacturing, lithographic printing, textiles, marine repair and maintenance, electroplating, and dry cleaning. The report recommends that pollution prevention outreach efforts to small businesses be intensive and coordinated. The authors also recommend several follow-up projects, including a student/faculty research program to document industries' best management practices and financial returns from pollution prevention; an on-site technical assistance program to identify pollution prevention opportunities, using retired engineers or university personnel; and financial incentives to encourage investment in pollution prevention.

Old Dominion University has introduced a pollution prevention course within the environmental engineering curriculum to instill the prevention philosophy in the facility engineers and plant managers of the future. In addition, the University's Technology Applications Center established the Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Center in 1993 to promote energy efficiency in industry. Funded by DOE, the Center uses engineering faculty and students to analyze energy efficiency opportunities at industrial facilities.

Faculty and graduate students of VPI's civil engineering department conducted a pollution prevention opportunity assessment for a textile manufacturer in Southwest Virginia under a grant from OPP in late 1993. The project has been expanded in 1994 to include three to five additional textile manufacturing facilities; these assessments are expected to be completed by the end of the year. In addition, VPI recently has launched a "green" engineering initiative, which is designed to incorporate waste reduction and pollution prevention principles across the entire curriculum of the College of Engineering.

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Last Updated: October 11, 1995