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Each year, the Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence recognize Indiana's businesses, nonprofits, private institutions, and governmental institutions that demonstrate commitment to waste and pollution prevention, source reduction, and resource conservation.
The 2012 winners excelled in preventing pollution in a variety of ways and focused on preventing, reducing, and reusing through innovative and creative strategies.
Awards were given in the following five categories:
Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence were presented to eight organizations to honor their extraordinary efforts to protect and benefit Hoosiers and our environment. Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner Thomas Easterly presented the awards at the 20th Annual Conference of the Association of Indiana Solid Waste Management Districts as well as the annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show.
"Improving the environment involves local innovation, enthusiasm and a commitment to change," said Easterly. "The extraordinary commitments, enthusiasm and achievements of these organizations benefit our communities and our environment."
These are the categories and the recipients:
All of the environmental programs of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl were managed under the 1st and Green project. The goal went was not only to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl XLVI but also to inspire Indiana residents, businesses, organizations and individuals to take action to improve our environment that will last long after the game was played. Initiative include the 1st & Green Challenge, a web-based program in which participants logged the actions they took to reduce water usage and carbon emissions; Green Corps, an environmental education program in which high school students throughout Indiana carried out tree plantings, clean-up projects and recycling projects; and the 2012 Trees by 2012 program, in which over 2,800 trees were planted on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. 1st & Green also included recycling, prepared food recovery and materials recovery programs during the event.
This ongoing campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact residents have on the environment, with a special focus on individual action and widespread social change. The initiative includes an online pledge system, interactive, and Facebook page, along with the use of traditional promotional postcards, radio, TV and billboards. Pledges are focused on specific water quality friendly lawn care, such as using phosphorus-free fertilizer, using native plantings, and managing septic systems, yard waste and pet waste.
Clay Township Regional Waste District (CTRWD), a sewer district in Hamilton County, has worked to become a leading environmental steward in the sewer business through the launch of several programs and initiatives in 2010 and 2011. Initiatives include the creation of a wildlife friendly habitat at its wastewater treatment plant, extensive outreach for the prevention of fat, oil and grease (FOG), moving to a paperless system in its accounting and collections department, and purchasing high-efficient equipment above national standards. The ongoing programs and initiatives benefit the environment and the community, and create substantial savings.
The Town of Ferdinand has implemented several green projects over the past couple of years in an effort to become an overall greener community and help residents understand the importance of being environmentally friendly. Initiatives include beginning a recycling program for the town offices; beginning a recycling program in two town parks; obtaining a grant to plant about 125 new trees in the 18th Street park; obtaining a grant to use a mixture of recycled tires and asphalt to resurface about one mile of walking trails. Not the least of its initiatives is the use of non-potable, recycled water to irrigate football, soccer, softball, and baseball fields at the 5th Street park. The water is captured prior to discharge, stored in an underground tank, and sprinkled overnight. It has resulted in a savings for the wastewater treatment plant and the park board.
In turning an abandoned railroad corridor into a linear park called the B-Line Trail, the City of Bloomington used a unique approach to simultaneously cleanup and redevelop the area. Arsenic, lead and other contaminants had been left behind by over a century of railroad use, and the project involved protecting the public from exposure through various remediation techniques, including capping with impervious concrete, asphalt, pavers and clean soil and, where possible, avoiding excavation of contaminated soils, which reduced quantities of land filled material. The final phase of the B-Line was dedicated and opened to the public in September 2011 after remediation and construction was complete. The project was funded through several sources including an INDOT Transportation Enhancement (TE) grant and Indiana Brownfield Program (IBP) remediation grant, which is the first time these agencies have worked together.
The City of Fort Wayne, in partnership with its contractor Republic Service, has changed the structure of collection and processing contracts, and is using technological advancements, to improve its recycling program. In 2011, the city implemented a new single stream recycling program. Participation rates increased from 33 to 73 percent in one year. Changes in the structure of collection and processing contracts are making it easier for residents to recycle, providing revenue from the materials, and incentivizing the program. The use of automated collection trucks are making it easier for the collection contractor to service homes and maximize efficiencies on their end.
The Corporate Recycling Center of Kimball International, Inc. is a unique operation of the Office Furniture, Hospitality Furniture and Contract Electronics Manufacturing company, recycling over 4.3 million pounds of materials in 2011 in 65 differing commodity types. The Corporate Recycling Center avoids landfill fees and has returned a financial gain back to the Kimball facilities for a total savings of over $4 million since it was founded in 2002. Energy use reductions at the Corporate Recycling Center have shown that large reductions can occur at small locations with only two employees. Greenhouse Gases were reduced by 63 metric tons per year from 2008 to 2011. The Corporate Recycling Center hosts tours for visitors to provide education on recycling, re-use, and new energy efficiency products. It also provides a source for employees to recycle materials that would not normally be an option in rural areas of Indiana.
The City of West Lafayette received an Indiana Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its innovative waste-to-energy wastewater treatment system that allows electricity to be generated from grease and food scraps. The wastewater treatment plant spearheaded a project for a renovation of their digester and alternate power sources project. The city took a proactive approach to going green by incorporating a cogeneration system and collecting fats, oils, and greases (FOG) from receiving facilities for producing renewable energy as part of needed digester improvements at the waste water treatment plant (WWTP). They introduced an alternate power source to the plant by collecting the biogas generated from the anaerobic digesters as a fuel source for micro turbines and generating electricity. The plant is working with the community to receive more waste food, fats, oils, and greases which increase the amount of biogas produced in the digester which in turn generates more renewable energy.
The Digester Renovation with Alternate Power Sources project made it possible for the facility to generate 18.9% of its own electricity in 2011. This is the equivalent to the electricity used by 75 homes every month and creating a savings of $59,100 per year. The renovation also allowed for more than a 50% decrease in natural gas consumption, saving the facility nearly $30,000 in natural gas costs for the period. Approximately 25% of the facility’s power needs will be supplied by the methane-generated electricity using the cogeneration system.