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Projects Database

Mercury/Pcb Outreach And Collection Program And Technical Assistance

Project Information

Award Amount:$115,000.00
Dollars Leveraged:$5,750.00
Start-End Dates:10/1/93-9/30/95
Description:Minnesota conducted an outreach program for mercury and PCB-containing products and delivered pollution prevention technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses in the Lake Superior basin.

Environmental Results/Products:

Outreach: Staff identified mercury and PCB-containing wastes generated by service industries and conducted a series of meetings and interviews with stakeholders to discuss the needs of the affected community and suggestions for how to address the problem. Project stakeholders included contractors, businesses, trade associations, chambers of commerce, local and State governments, utilities, product manufacturers and suppliers, haulers, and recycling and disposal companies. Staff also participated in trade shows and monthly meetings of business organizations in order to educate attendees about mercury issues.

Slide Shows: Staff developed two slide presentations. The first slide show targets trade groups that generate mercury and PCB containing wastes and is designed for use with brochures (see "Products/Reports" below). It motivates contractors and service technicians to manage their wastes properly and to keep mercury and PCBs out of the waste stream. The second slide show, designed for the general public, is specifically about mercury. It encourages consumers to purchase alternative products, where appropriate, and informs consumers how to dispose of mercury-containing products.

Display: Staff developed a display to show the types of products that contain mercury. The display titled, “WHO ME? Do I Contribute Mercury to the Environment?,” has two components. There is a three-panel display board with pictures and text about mercury’s effect on the environment. A collection of mercury-containing products assembled on the table in front of the display board shows items such as a thermostat, switches and fluorescent lights. This collection is accompanied by text about mercury contained in the products and non-mercury alternatives.

State specific copies of the display are housed at the Michigan and Wisconsin environmental regulatory agencies, and throughout Minnesota. Two generic copies are housed at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago.

Collection: Minnesota staff worked with the partners to identify collection needs, potential collection sponsors, regulatory and economic barriers to collection and proper management of mercury containing wastes. There is a need to develop waste collection systems which are convenient and economically feasible for service industries and businesses.

Staff obtained the rights to use a logo for florescent bulb recycling projects. This logo, modeled after the chasing arrows recycling symbol, is in the public domain and thus can be used as part of a unified campaign around Lake Superior (and beyond) for lamp collection programs.

Technical Assistance: A team from the University of Minnesota-Duluth Department of Chemical Engineering generated a potential client list for pollution prevention assessments, cataloged and reviewed pollution prevention literature, and called potential clients. They used data from five Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) to scan for priority pollutants. They also conducted an information needs assessment and examined the way businesses used existing pollution prevention information.

Site Assessments: Nine pollution prevention assessment site visits were made to businesses (three oil distributors, two printing companies, a furniture refinisher, a laboratory, a veterinary hospital, a printed circuit board assembler, and a large forest products facility). Based on the site visits, team members drafted a report which included recommendations for pollution prevention opportunities. Each assessment took approximately 50 staff-hours to complete and included four team members visiting the businesses, gathering pollution prevention information, and writing the report.

Lessons Learned: Focusing on one or two business types for visits would reduce the amount of background pollution prevention information gathered and allow for development of generic reports which could be quickly modified for each business visited. Having two rather than four team members per assessment could increase the number of site visits possible. Soliciting clients via letters and phone calls yielded clients who were already practicing pollution prevention. These clients probably chose to participate to find out if there was any more they could do.

The project did not reach the businesses that could have benefitted the most because these businesses probably would not voluntarily allow an assessment to be conducted. Other methods to locate clients might include: referral by regulatory agencies or other agencies involved in pollution prevention/hazardous waste minimization activities, referral by bank loan officers, or referral by POTW officials.

Pollution Prevention Database User Needs Assessment: A survey of businesses examined use of pollution prevention data bases. Findings for Minnesota’s Lake Superior basin showed that while 73% of the businesses responding to the survey did own a computer, 51% indicated that they did not know what an electronic data base was nor how to use one. A majority, 52%, indicated that they would use a pollution prevention technical assistance center.


Funding Organizations

Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are funding this project.

U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office - Primary Contact

77 W Jackson Blvd
Chicago, Illinois 60604
There are no individuals in this organization
associated with this project.

Organizations Receiving Funding

Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are receiving funding for this project.

Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (MOEA) - Primary Contact

520 Lafayette Rd, North
Floor 2
St Paul, Minnesota 55155-4100
p: 651-296-3417
Individual Contacts

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Primary Contact

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4194
p: 651-296-6300
Individual Contacts

Associated Organizations

Below is a list of associated organizations that are NOT giving or receiving funding for this project.

University of Minnesota-Duluth Department of Chemical Engineering - Partner

1117 University Drive
Duluth, Minnesota 55812
p: 218-726-8000


Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR)
One East Hazelwood Drive Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-8940

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