A Partnership For Prevention
|Description:||Summary: The purpose of this grant is to eliminate the pending environmental threat to Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie by changing the way industry, government and citizens conduct business. The project targeted the greater Erie area (i.e., the communities and businesses connected to the Erie Sewer Authority System). The project included the entire Pennsylvania Lake Erie watershed and all of Erie County. Communities such as North East, Girard and Lake City were included and welcomed to participate in various aspects of the projects.
The project included:
• Educating the community about the dangers of persistent toxic substances focusing on mercury
• Educating the community about the benefits of a pollution prevention (P2) to environmental protection.
• Educating the community about specific ways they can reduce or recycle mercury.
• Educating the community about the benefits of community-wide environmental partnerships.
• Educating businesses about specific P2 techniques and provide them with information needed to implement P2 practices.
• Collect and recycle elemental mercury.
• Encourage larger environmentally sophisticated companies to mentor other smaller companies on how to reduce mercury.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) project staff established a committee for the partnership for prevention called Pollution Prevention Partnership in Erie (P3ERIE) to build support for P2 by developing and implementing a public education campaign and practical projects to reduce the amount of mercury and other toxins. The group focused on general awareness of both the proposed project and the threats or dangers of persistent toxic substances (primarily mercury).
P3ERIE hosted a press conference in February 1998 to announce the Hamot Medical Center progress and zero use of mercury goals. PA DEP mailed a letter to 300 hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities about the Hamot Medical Center’s commitment and information about mercury free facilities.
PA DEP staff organized Earth Day activities and presented several pollution prevention workshops to more than 3,000 students and 1,500 others attended activity at the City of Erie’s April 1998 celebration of Earth Day. P3ERIE conducted a mercury collection in April 1998 in association with Earth Day activities at the Erie Civic Center. Area residents were directed to the Erie Wastewater Treatment Plant to drop off mercury containing items. Approximately 1,240 pounds of elemental mercury were collected on April 17 and 18, 1998.
P3ERIE and PA DEP’s Emergency Response Team organized mercury collection programs within the greater Erie area. Approximately 140 pounds of elemental mercury and approximately 2,500 mercury-containing items from approximately 40 citizens, schools and institutions were collected.
In September 1999 P3Erie partnered with the PA Department of Agriculture and International Paper Co. in Erie to conduct a mercury and pesticide collection. Approximately 200 pounds of elemental mercury, and 200 pounds of devices which contain mercury were collected from the public. Approximately 10, 000 pounds of pesticides were also collected and disposed of, including 350 pounds of DDT, 500 pounds of toxaphene, 275 pounds of chlordane, and 215 pounds of aldrin/dieldrin.
Part of the success of these collections was from P3ERIE’s outreach and publicity of a mercury spill in a home in September 1998. In addition to the outreach conducted in the Erie area, media coverage concerning mercury has prompted several area laboratories to properly recycle stored elemental mercury and to reduce their use of mercury containing items.
P3ERIE developed and printed one-thousand copies of a brochure for the general public titled Mercury: toxic, persistent and preventable The brochure contains information on the dangers of Hg and Hg containing products, Hg recycling disposal information and alternatives to mercury products. A sticker puzzle that is completed by answering questions about Hg and P2 inquiries were developed for school children. Staff distributed 1,300 copies to area schools.
A total of six workshops were presented, with more than 280 people from businesses, healthcare facilities, local government and educational institutions in attendance. One of the seminars titled Pollution Prevention Strategies to Address Mercury and Other Great Lakes Initiative Pollutants, was hosted in Chicago, Illinois on May 20, 1997. Additionally, a mercury reduction workshop designed to instruct hospitals on how to implement a mercury reduction project was developed. P3ERIE conducted a P2 for School Laboratories Workshop at the General Electric Learning Center as well. Ten teachers attended this workshop.
A packet was mailed to every school in Erie County asking school officials to inventory their laboratories to determine if there were any unwanted chemicals in the labs that are included on the SARA extremely hazardous substance list. Fifteen Erie County schools responded to the mailing.
PA DEP has continued to work with targeted industries to eliminate the use and discharge of mercury into the environment. Staff conducted several audits at the International Paper’s Erie Mill. Water samples were taken within the production process and at the wastewater discharge. The laboratory analysis of the sample detected no mercury.
Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are funding this project.
Organizations Receiving Funding
Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are receiving funding for this project.
Below is a list of associated organizations that are NOT giving or receiving funding for this project.
Erie County Planning Department - Partner
Erie County Courthouse, Room 119
140 West 6th Street
Erie, Pennsylvania 16501
p: (814) 451-6336
f: (814) 451-7000
Gannon University - Partner
Erie, Pennsylvania 16541
General Electric Transportation Systems - Partner
2901 East Lake Rd.
Erie, Pennsylvania 16531