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EPA and Con Edison Join Together for Powerful Lead Reductions
Release Date: 05/29/2008
Contact Information: Jennifer May (212) 637-3658, email@example.com
(New York, N.Y.) The Con Edison Company of New York has made a commitment to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to replace underground cables containing lead with less hazardous alternatives. This commitment was made through EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Program (NPEP). Today in a ceremony in Lower Manhattan, EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg and Deputy Director for the Office of Solid Waste Maria Vickers welcomed Con Edison into this voluntary program that promotes the reduction and elimination of priority chemicals in the operations of companies and organizations nationwide. The commitment made today by Con Edison is one of the largest in the national NPEP program to date, and is by far the largest in EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The NPEP program partners with private and public entities to eliminate or reduce their use of chemicals that, when released into the environment, can linger for decades. EPA has identified 31 priority chemicals, lead and PCBs included, on which NPEP partners focus. If improperly disposed of, these chemicals can repeatedly cycle through the land, water and air effecting the environment and human health.
“By significantly reducing its use of lead, Con Edison is exhibiting environmental leadership and improving power service for New Yorkers,” said Regional Administrator Alan Steinberg. “By taking the steps necessary to be a partner, Con Ed is embracing the NPEP motto: ‘Better Environment, Better Neighbor, and Better Business’.”
Con Edison’s plan is to remove 2,400 sections of underground paper insulated lead-clad electric feeder cables in 2008 and another 2,400 sections in 2009. Each section of lead-clad cable is estimated to contain approximately 1,000 pounds of encased lead sheathing, which will be recycled at a nearby local recycling facility. As a long-term goal, Con Edison plans to replace all of these cables by 2020. Con Edison estimates that by 2020, at the conclusion of this project, as much as 15,000 tons of reclaimed lead sheathing will be recycled as a result of these recycling efforts. Currently, paper insulated lead-clad cables make up 20 percent of Con Edison’s underground electric network.
When these cables are removed, they will be replaced by solid dielectric cables, which are made of copper conductors surrounded by synthetic rubber. This alternative is considered superior to lead-clad cables in both environmental and electric distribution characteristics.
Beyond its commitment to lead reduction, over the past decade, Con Edison has also removed most of its equipment that contained high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). To date, all recovered equipment has been decontaminated and recycled.
Nationwide, EPA has close to 180 NPEP partnership facilities, including 32 in Region 2. We encourage all interested parties to look further into the NPEP program and apply on-line at https://www.epa.gov/npep.