Waste-to-Energy Facilities on Long Island Honored for Environmental Performance
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Covanta, Inc. for environmental improvements at its Huntington and Babylon facilities. Both facilities are new members of the Environmental Performance Track program. The Performance Track Program, which began in June 2000, is a voluntary public-private partnership dedicated to encouraging members to go beyond compliance with environmental regulations. The Covanta plant in Onondaga, New York was also selected as a new member of the partnership. The Covanta waste-to-energy facility in Hempstead has been a Performance Track member since 2002.
“Performance Track members continue to contribute notable reductions in water use, hazardous waste generation, emissions of greenhouse gases and energy use,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Members of the program have distinguished themselves as environmental leaders, and deserve EPA’s continued support and recognition for their efforts.”
The plant in Huntington is committed to improving the management of waste oil throughout the facility by using it as an energy heating source instead of transporting it offsite for disposal. The facility is also proposing to minimize excess water content in ash, reducing the volume of ground water it uses.
The facility in Babylon is proposing to upgrade its ferrous metal recovery system so it can extract more ferrous metal from the incinerator ash for recycling purposes, and through equipment upgrades create more steam and electricity with no increase in emissions.
The plant in Onondaga plans to reduce NOx, CO and CO2 emissions 30% by upgrading catalyst systems on mobile and stationary sources. Covanta expects to recycle 95% of non-ferrous metals in its waste and replace high-mercury fluorescent bulbs with low-mercury “green” bulbs, as well all mercury switches with non-mercury alternatives
In the Performance Track Fifth Annual Progress Report, which details members’ environmental accomplishments from 2000 – 2005, the cumulative results show members reducing their water use by 3.5 billion gallons, greenhouse gas emissions by 97,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, hazardous waste generation by 130,000 tons, and non-hazardous waste generation by 600,000 tons. Members have also restored or protected more than 14,000 acres of wildlife habitat. There are more than 450 member organizations nationally, with 57 in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico.
In order to be accepted into Performance Track, facilities must have a history of sustained compliance with federal and state environmental requirements. They must also adopt and implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) – an organization’s systematic effort to meet its environmental requirements and improve its overall performance, demonstrate at least two past environmental achievements and commit to four future improvements. In addition, they are required to have a public outreach program with a commitment to reporting their progress to the public.
Members in the Performance Track program receive a range of incentives such as public recognition and low priority for routine EPA inspections. Facilities are also eligible for several kinds of administrative flexibility and streamlined administrative requirements that reduce costs and enable members to achieve better environmental results. In addition, members benefit from special services, including a learning network composed of top environmental performers that has a mentoring program, tele-seminars, EPA roundtable discussions and newsletters. EPA Is currently accepting applications for acceptance into the program. For more information, please visit the program website at http://www.epa.gov/performancetrack
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