Toxics Pollution Prevention Mentoring
|Description:||The purpose of this project was to help Lake Superior communities build pollution prevention capabilities. The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) worked directly with Virginia, Minnesota; Marquette, Michigan; Ashland, Wisconsin; and Superior, Wisconsin to develop toxic reduction plans. Project activities included: pollution prevention awareness for wastewater treatment plant managers and operators; a toxic pollution prevention needs survey; facilitating local toxic reduction meetings; developing business-specific pollution prevention opportunities and waste management guidelines; and assisting local communities around Lake Superior to develop toxic reduction plans. The grant included funds for the pilot communities to develop and implement the plans.
Pollution Prevention Awareness
WLSSD developed a short presentation for wastewater treatment plant managers and operators on the regulatory need to reduce toxics in Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) discharge, an overview of pollution prevention and its advantages, and examples of successful pollution prevention projects in industry. WLSSD presented this information at local State operator meetings in Marquette, Michigan; Ashland, Wisconsin; and Aurora, Minnesota.
WLSSD surveyed Lake Superior POTWs to determine what they believed would be most effective in reducing toxics at their source. There is a need for communication about toxics with industrial, business and residential POTW customers. There appears to be a need for POTWs to learn what can and cannot go down the drain and which materials contain toxics of concern for Lake Superior.
Specific Business Opportunities
WLSSD distributed pollution prevention information to pretreatment operators, hospitals, and dentists.
Community Toxic Reduction Plans
Virginia, Minnesota; Marquette, Michigan; Ashland, Wisconsin; and Superior, Wisconsin all took different tacks when developing toxic reduction plans. In Virginia, Minnesota the project was run by the POTW operator, a private consulting firm. In Marquette, Michigan, city employees ran the program, with consultant support for the final reporting. In Ashland, Wisconsin a partnership was formed between the city, Northland College, businesses, and environmental groups. All of the pilot cities developed public information campaigns.
In Virginia, Minnesota on-site assessments were completed at a number of large facilities and other places known to discharge chemicals of concern for Lake Superior. These included a small electric cooperative, a municipally owned steam electric utility, a manufacturer, and a dental practice. The municipality placed information on mercury in the local paper and developed a zero discharge workbook listing businesses and possible toxics that they could likely discharge.
The Marquette, Michigan plan included a public awareness campaign which emphasized what residents and businesses could do to eliminate discharge of Lake Superior chemicals of concern. Outreach to a hospital and local businesses centered on reduction of toxic discharges. Marquette developed 11 educational handouts and 12 newspaper ads and a public service announcement which addressed the pollutants of concern for Lake Superior. These materials stress the use of non-polluting alternatives, and provided techniques and instructions for the appropriate disposal of household hazardous waste. Pollutant-specific fact sheets on mercury, lead, copper, silver,ormaldehyde, and PCBs were published in local newspapers.
Ashland, Wisconsin produced two reports: Zero Discharge Model Project, Ashland, Wisconsin and Zero Discharge Campus Project, Northland College. With a community-based focus group, the municipality evaluated commercial, industrial and residential sources of the nine chemicals of concern
for Lake Superior.
In the Superior, Wisconsin toxic reduction plan, data on effluent was examined to determine whether any additional compounds should be focused on. Industry-specific pollution prevention information was sent to targeted industries: photographic industries, dentists, clinics, nursing homes, a university and a technical school. Pollution prevention information was also published in the local newspaper.
Lessons Learned: It is important to educate the local pollution prevention champion at the POTW. Support from management, the local governing body, and the community early in the process is crucial. Each community needed to go through the process of deciding which chemicals of concern were a problem for them and thus should be the focus for their pollution prevention efforts. A professional group or the general public, rather than a specific facility, may be the appropriate target for pollution prevention activities. It is important to develop a strategy with specific pollution prevention activities in cooperation with the targeted group or facility personnel.
- Zero Discharge Campus Project, Northland College
- Zero Discharge Model Project, Ashland, Wisconsin
Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are funding this project.
Organizations Receiving Funding
Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are receiving funding for this project.
Below is a list of associated organizations that are NOT giving or receiving funding for this project.
Ashland City - Water & Wastewater Utility - Partner
601 Main Street
East Ashland, Wisconsin 54806
Northland College - Partner
1411 Ellis Avenue
Ashland, Wisconsin 54806-3999