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New Innovative Projects Focus on Electronics Recycling, Pharmaceutical Waste and Emergency Preparedness

Release Date: 03/04/2004
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

Washington, D.C. March 4, 2004 - EPA today announced six new innovative projects that test approaches to make EPA’s waste programs more effective. Examples of projects include: measuring the environmental and economic benefits of purchasing, operating, and recycling electronics; identifying and implementing best management practices of pharmaceutical waste in hospitals; and developing tools for smaller communities to assess risks and improve chemical emergency preparedness at chemical handling facilities. Proposals for the second round of 2004 innovative projects are due to EPA by April 16. For more information, go to:

Today’s announcement is the first round of 2004 innovative projects totaling $297,575. The goal of these projects is to test innovative ideas to make EPA’s waste programs more efficient and effective, measure and analyze the results, and then publicize the projects around the country so others can learn from the experiments. EPA awarded the first projects totaling $524,849 to 12 pilots in 2002. In 2003, EPA funded 19 pilots for a combined total of $800,294. The six projects selected in the first round of 2004 are as follows:

Expanding Web Portal on Hazardous Materials Inventory ($50,000):
EPA, in partnership with California’s Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health and Santa Clara County Fire Chiefs Association, will demonstrate the value of online reporting and data management of required hazardous material inventories using an existing online hazardous materials reporting system. This pilot expands an existing web portal that manages the electronic reporting of facility records for storage of hazardous materials, eliminating the duplication of data entry by local agencies and providing first responders with real-time access to facility information.

Using Composts to Reduce Lead and Arsenic Soil Contamination ($46,575):
EPA, in partnership with the University of Washington, Washington Department of Ecology, Wenatchee School District, Chelan-Douglas Health District, and Community, Trade and Economic Development, will test the effect of different compost mixtures to reduce lead and arsenic concentrations in contaminated soils. This pilot examines a potential cost-effective remedial option that would reduce real and perceived risks associated with the presence of lead and arsenic in soils.

Expanding the Availability of Renewable Energy from Waste Oil ($50,000):
EPA, in partnership with the Costilla County Economic Development Council, Colorado, will test small-scale biodiesel production using locally grown crops (e.g., canola seed) and used restaurant cooking oil to demonstrate the viability of producing renewable energy. Additionally, once in full production, this pilot will be able to recover methanol from the pre-treatment process, which can be reused in the production of biodiesel. This pilot is expected to demonstrate a community’s ability to find and use local feedstocks for renewable energy production. This pilot will expand the availability of renewable energy from waste oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, toxicity and associated health risks.

Measuring the Environmental Benefits of Federal Electronic Equipment Management Practices ($60,000):
EPA, in partnership with the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, the Department of Defense, and the General Services Administration, will develop tools to measure the environmental and economic impact from environmentally sound management of electronic equipment. Currently, no assessment tool exists to determine the environmental benefits of purchasing, operating, and recycling electronics. This pilot will allow the Federal government to quantify and promote environmental benefits of proactive electronics management.

Expanding Pharmaceutical Waste Management in Hospitals ($60,000):
EPA, in partnership with Health Care Without Harm, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, H2E Champions PharmEcology Associates, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and the New Hampshire Hospital Association, will test innovative pharmaceutical waste minimization and management practices in a hospital. Creative and effective procedures are needed to manage nonhazardous pharmaceuticals and hazardous pharmaceuticals that are not yet regulated to ensure environmentally safe treatment and disposal. This approach is expected to be readily transferable to the entire healthcare sector.

Improving Emergency Preparedness and Response in Smaller Communities ($31,000):
EPA, in partnership with Colorado’s Jefferson County Local Emergency Planning Committee, will develop tools for smaller communities to assess risks and improve chemical emergency preparedness at chemical handling facilities. Many smaller communities are unaware of existing information sources on conducting risk assessments and lack the resources and training necessary to use available information. This pilot will improve preparedness in small communities through enhanced assessment of risks and needs.