Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Reduction in Toxic Chemical Use Among Massachusetts Companies
Companies reduced use of toxic chemicals for the 19th consecutive year, resulting in water conservation and energy use reductions.
BOSTON – May 31, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced Massachusetts companies reduced their use of toxic materials by 75 million pounds in 2009, representing an 8 percent year-to-year reduction in chemical use and a 9 percent reduction in resulting waste.
The 2011 fiscal year report, containing the most recent company-reported data, from 2009, reveals that this is the 19th consecutive year in which companies have reduced toxics use.
“We’re working each day to help businesses make their operations more energy efficient and encourage them to reduce water consumption and solid waste,” said Secretary Sullivan. “These results are encouraging and we will continue to support this work, which is part of our larger effort to cut energy use and protect our environment.”
The results included energy reduction plans at 23 facilities saving 50 million kilowatt hours annually – enough energy to power nearly 7,000 Massachusetts homes for a year. Eight facilities are planning water conservation measures that will save 38 million gallons of water annually. Five facilities will reduce solid waste by 860,000 pounds.
There are approximately 500 Massachusetts companies that report information regarding toxic chemical use, natural resource management and energy efficiency data to the Department of Environmental Protection.
Recently, the Toxics Use Reduction Administrative Council, the six-member governing body of the toxics use reduction program overseen by EEA, and chaired by Secretary Sullivan, designated both hexavalent chromium compounds and formaldehyde as higher hazard substances and added 16 chemicals to the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) list of toxic or hazardous chemicals. The designations, which took effect on January 1, 2012, require approximately 20 additional companies to report on the use of these chemicals and evaluate whether there are cost-effective ways to reduce that use.
Adjusting for changes in production, companies covered under TURA have reduced the use of toxic substances by 21 percent since 2000.
Last year, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) processed TUR reports from more than 500 filers, conducted 13 enforcement actions for missing or incomplete TUR reports or plans. MassDEP officials also conducted 67 inspections for TURA compliance, resulting in four enforcement actions. Through annual fees, enforcement actions and late fees, $3,020,300 was collected in total.
The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) assisted 24 companies in testing safer cleaning chemicals, funded five community groups to carry out toxics use reduction (TUR) projects and held more than a dozen workshops, conferences and public demonstrations of TUR practices.
EEA’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) provides many recommendations during visits, through email and phone communications, but primarily tracks results by following up on formal, written recommendations.
During the period covered in the report from July 2008 through June 2009, OTA’s work with companies has resulted in the adoption of 58 energy recommendations, 13 water conservation recommendations, 65 regulatory compliance recommendations and 21 pollution prevention recommendations. Since that time, an additional 86 energy, 10 water, 178 regulatory compliance, and 44 pollution prevention recommendations have been implemented – with several more in the planning stage.
Since 2008, TURA has given qualifying companies the option to develop a resource conservation plan that focuses on energy or water conservation, or the reduction of solid wastes.
In particular, two companies that filed resource conservation plans achieved significant results. One company that OTA has a long-term affiliation with, the Fall River-based Philips Lightolier, projected that it would save 27 million gallons – or 30 percent of its water use – by installing programmable controlled pumps to reduce water flow plant-wide, also increasing the re-use of cooling water, reducing irrigation water, and reducing flush volume for all sanitary uses. It was determined by OTA that the actual savings realized was 50 percent – more than 45 million gallons – signifying an annual savings more than five times the $50,000 investment.
Millipore in Bedford estimated that its projects would cut its energy use by five percent by installing solar panels, changing lighting, improving their air compression and boiler systems and using efficient motors. The projects resulted in a 21 percent reduction – more than 6 million kilowatts annually – with a payback of 2.3 years.
TURI and OTA collaborated on a demonstration event and case study at Ophir Optics. The demonstration event gave industry a chance to view the operations and hear about their use of lean manufacturing techniques to reduce volatile organic chemical use and hazardous waste generation, and increase energy efficiency.
OTA, the Commonwealth's center for technical information and assistance, helps businesses and other organizations improve their environmental performance as well as conserve energy, water and other resources. OTA promotes the implementation of strategies that enable businesses to enhance their competitiveness as they reduce use of toxic chemicals, prevent pollution, conserve resources, and ensure worker health and safety. For nearly two decades, OTA has been a cornerstone of the Commonwealth's efforts to provide citizens with a cleaner and healthier environment.