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Release Date: 02/15/2000
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

HARTFORD - Mindy S. Lubber, acting regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office, will be touring the U.S. Postal Service's Vehicle Maintenance Facility in Hartford at 3:30 p.m. today to get a first-hand look at what the postal agency has done to improve and maintain its environmental performance.

Two Postal Service facilities in Hartford - the 36-employee vehicle maintenance facility and the 2,000-employee processing and distribution center - are among 15 companies and organizations in New England that have been recognized as part of EPA New England's StarTrack Program, which began in 1996 as a way to encourage facilities to voluntarily assess and improve their environmental performance.

Through StarTrack and other EPA initiatives, the postal service's vehicle maintenance facility, which services 1,300 vehicles for 98 post offices, has slashed the amount of hazardous waste it generates by 99 percent, garnering it a "Closing the Circle" award from the White House. Through various pollution prevention efforts, the facility on Weston Street has achieved 100 percent reductions in used antifreeze, used parts solvents and brake cleaning solvents and 90 percent cuts in waste paints and solvents over the past half-dozen years.

By joining the StarTrack program last year, the postal service agreed voluntarily to audit its environmental management and compliance performance each year, including the preparation of annual performance reports. StarTrack also requires that their environmental management system and compliance status be reviewed and certified by an independent third party every three years.

"The Postal Service in Hartford has done an exemplary job since the mid-1990s reducing the amount of toxic materials it uses and recycling hazardous substances for reuse where appropriate," Lubber said. "This impressive performance is the direct result of the postal agency's strong leadership in developing and monitoring its environmental performance at all levels of the organization - from the person changing the oil on a truck all the way up to the facility managers and beyond. Through StarTrack, the postal service will be able to establish an even stronger system to make sure the job is getting done at all levels."

"The Postal Service is seeing tangible benefits from the StarTrack program because it helps ensure that our environmental program is working at each of our facilities," said Ronald Robbins, environmental compliance coordinator for the Postal Service's Northeast Area Operations. "It also provides a feedback process, so that if a system is not working ideally, the problem will be quickly corrected."

The Postal Service is among three operations in Connecticut that are participating in EPA New England's StarTrack program. The other two are Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in Stamford and Unilever Home & Personal Care USA in Clinton.