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K-State Pollution Prevention Institute's intern program named best

The Pollution Prevention Institute at Kansas State University is being honored for one of its programs by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

The K-State institute's intern program has received the roundtable group's Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Program award, also called the MVP2 award, as the best pollution prevention project/program. The honor will be presented Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Washington, D.C.

The award is presented based on a program's innovation, measurable results, its transferability to different regions and different organizations, and other factors. Some of the judging criteria also included the development and/or utilization of new pollution prevention technology that addresses an environmental problem in a new way; solid pollution prevention results; and optimization of available resources.

The Pollution Prevention Institute is part of the K-State Engineering Extension program. The institute has provided pollution prevention technical assistance to businesses, industry, institutions and agencies for the last 15 years in an effort to help them reduce wastes and emissions at the source. The institute works with entities to help them identify changes in material technology and/or processes that will reduce potential pollution at the source and result in cost and environmental savings.

"Traditionally, the Pollution Prevention Institute provided these source-reduction services through an environmental hot line and on-site assistance," said Nancy Larson, institute director. "But when the institute piloted a pollution prevention intern program in 2006, it began to identify major source reduction opportunities for industry and institutions, resulting in significant environmental improvements and cost savings."

"The Pollution Prevention Institute's intern program is a nonregulatory program offered in the summer and designed to link top-level engineering and environmental sciences students from K-State and other schools with business and industry," said David Carter, pollution prevention and energy efficiency specialist at the institute and coordinator of the intern program.

"Collaborations focus on projects to reduce energy use, emissions and wastes, which benefit a company's bottom line and the Kansas environment," Carter said. "Students work with a technical adviser from the Pollution Prevention Institute and a host company to research energy efficiency/pollution prevention projects."

The results from the program have been outstanding, Larson said.

"In the first three years of the intern projects, participating companies have implemented 48 of the recommendations -- or 66 percent -- made through the program," she said. "These implemented projects have resulted in savings of more than 28 million kilowatt hours of electricity, 107.5 million gallons of water, 4,150 tons of waste and more than $5 million in operating or disposal costs."

The intern program is one of several programs offered by K-State's Pollution Prevention Institute, an agency that is funded primarily through grants. The institute houses the Kansas Small Business Environmental Assistance Program and offers Kansas industry and institutions free, confidential, technical-environmental compliance assistance.


Contact: Nancy Larson
Kansas State University

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