University selected to receive Pollution Prevention Grant from EPA

By Angelle Cortes 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Illinois Sustainable Technology Center has been selected to receive a $323,928 P2 Grant to promote pollution prevention in manufacturing and processing facilities.  

According to the EPA website, P2 means reducing or eliminating sources of pollution to prevent damage to the environment while also eliminating the need for costly controls and cleanup.

“The EPA’s pollution prevention grants provide businesses with more incentives and opportunities to reduce waste and save money. It’s much cheaper to prevent pollution than to clean it up, and continuing to work together with our partner’s across Illinois will ensure we’re successful in what is a primary objective of this agency under the Trump administration,: said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Theide. “These grants can also align with our ongoing efforts to engage with industry through our Smart Sectors initiative and the EnergyStar program.”

The funds will be used to provide on-site technical assistance to 30 Illinois manufacturing and processing facilities across multiple business sectors, compromising EPA’s five National Emphasis Areas. Implementation of P2 recommendations from assistance will be measured and reported, resulting in reduced energy and water use, hazardous materials generation and reduced business costs at the facilities.

“ISTC ‘s technical assistance staff have participated in this program for nearly 1 years and have a proven track record of helping companies both reduce pollution and improve their bottom line,” said ISTC director Kevin C O’Brien. “This support from EPA will enable us to continue collaborating with companies as they work to become both more sustainable and more competitive.”

U of I, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are three of the 42 organizations across 39 states that received the P2 grant totaling $9.3 million, supporting pollution prevention across the country. 

For these grants, EPA emphasizes the importance of grantees documenting and sharing P2 best practices that are identified and developed through these grants, so that others can replicate these practices and outcomes.

Each grantee will be required to develop at least one case study during the grant period on P2 practices that are new or not widely known or adopted, or where detailed information on the P2 practices could benefit other businesses or P2 technical assistance providers. 

The work done under these grants will focus on at least one of the five P2 priority areas, also referred to as National Emphasis Areas and support several of the agency’s Smart Sectors. These areas include food and beverage manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, aerospace product/part manufacturing, and metal manufacturing.  

Photo courtesy of Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Facebook page