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Projects Database

Achieving Zero Discharge In Health Care

Project Information

Award Amount:$60,000.00
Dollars Leveraged:$0.00
Start-End Dates:10/1/98-9/30/01
Description:Summary: Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) worked directly with health care facilities to identify and purchase alternative products that will help to minimize the discharge of persistent bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs) in the health care waste stream. A Mercury emission, especially through the incineration of medical wastes is of particular concern. A Preferred Purchasing Policy targeting potentially toxic substances (PTSs) was developed and implemented. In addition, WLSSD produced instructional materials to educate health care staff about the complete life cycle, and the inherent environmental and health costs of the products they use.

Environmental Results/Products: WLSSD assisted individual hospitals to draft letters to their state purchasing organization and general purchasing organizations, requesting products that would help them work toward the zero-discharge of PTS products. The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (MOEA) accomplished a significant portion of this activity through their Health Care Environmental Purchasing Tool (HCEPT)

Quarterly meetings were held to discuss issues of purchasing and the elimination of PBT. Attendees included representatives of public and private hospitals, Healthcare Without Harm, the MOEA, a manufacturer of medical products, a recycler, and WLSSD staff.

A video addressing the elimination of dioxins from the hospital waste stream was produced in 2000. The 20 minute program First Do No Harm: Polyvinyl Chloride and Medicine Responsibility targets hospital staff and discusses sources of dioxins in medical waste with steps toward their elimination. A total of 2750 tapes were produced and distributed nationwide by WLSSD.

A Lumex Mercury Analyzer was purchased to assist Duluth, Minnesota regional hospitals and clinics with mercury detection and cleanup efforts, and to enhance WLSSD’s zero-discharge project. The Lumex has been made available to the Duluth office of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and others requiring mercury detection or involved in educational efforts.

To familiarize potential users and other interested parties with the Lumex Mercury Analyzer two workshops were held. The first workshop demonstrated the instrument and provided hands-on training to WLSSD safety and laboratory personnel and the staff of MPCA first responders. The second workshop demonstrated the capabilities of the instrument to educators, hospitals and industrial environmental and safety personnel, and the like.


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.

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District - Primary Contact

2626 Courtland Stree
Duluth, Minnesota 55806
p: 218-722-3336
Individual Contacts

Associated Organizations

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

Health Care Without Harm Coalition - Partner

1755 S Street, NW
Suite 6 B
Washington, District of Columbia 20009
p: 202-234-0091
f: 202-234-9121

Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) - Partner

PO Box 53315
Washington, District of Columbia 20009
p: 800-727-4179
f: 866-379-8705

Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (MOEA) - Partner

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

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Partner

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


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

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