Wolf Announces Winners Of 2015 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards
Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced 15 environmental projects from across the state will receive the 2015 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.
“These awards represent some of our best citizen-led efforts in environmental stewardship,” Wolf said. “Their leadership is bound to make a positive impact on the communities they serve.”
Any Pennsylvania business, school, government agency, trade organization, non-profit organization, or agribusiness that has completed projects to promote environmental stewardship and economic development was eligible to apply for the award. The winners were selected by the Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP Acting Secretary John Quigley delivered the keynote address, thanking all of the award recipients for their dedication and efforts to improve Pennsylvania's environment.
"Collectively, they demonstrate the essential fact that environmental stewardship and economic development are inextricably linked, as they must be to build a more prosperous, healthier future for Pennsylvania," Quigley said.
He also talked about Gov. Wolf's proposed budget, calling it a blueprint for Pennsylvania's future.
"A fundamental underpinning of this vision is that we cannot accept where things currently stand, nor can we accept business as usual," Quigley said.
He also pledged DEP's commitment to meeting Gov. Wolf's challenge to deliver jobs that pay, schools that teach, and government that works for all Pennsylvanians.
"A government that works is a government that listens. It's all about dialogue," Quigley said.
“We received numerous entries from worthy projects across the state,” Quigley said. “The innovations shown by this year’s winners represent Pennsylvanians’ commitment to protecting our environment.”
The winning projects include a recycling drive, a statewide litter cleanup, a watershed enhancement initiative, a cleanup of an industrial site, and much more.
The winners by county are:
-- Adams County: Adams County Chapter 323 Trout Unlimited - Conococheague Creek Trout Habitat Enhancement Project. ACTU coordinated a multi-year project to improve the trout habitat in a stream within Michaux State Forest. The project included the installation of 24 habitat devices including a log and stone tip-deflector, root wads, instream boulders, mudsills, stone vanes, long-term stream monitoring, and the planting of 160 native trees and shrubs along the riparian buffer. This restoration project enhanced the wild trout fishing on the Conococheague Creek (on public land) for future generations.
-- Allegheny County: Sustainable Pittsburgh - Performance Programs: From air and water quality to energy efficiency, recycling and waste management, to land use and transportation, workforce development, healthy people and economic prosperity, SP remains at the forefront of working with organizations to integrate more sustainable development for southwestern Pennsylvania. Over the past two Green Workplace Challenges, nearly 100 employers from throughout southwestern Pennsylvania took over 2,000 actions, saving $7.4 million in energy costs and enough water to fill the playing surface of Heinz Field 223 feet deep. Participants reduced carbon emissions by 22,821 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
-- Bucks County: Yardley Borough Environmental Advisory Commission: Yardley Borough Recycling Day 2014: Every spring the EAC's biggest event is Yardley Borough Recycling Day, in which it runs a multi-item recycling event. This year, there was a steady flow of traffic for four hours. The event collected 22,056 pounds of waste including:: 44 percent TVs, 16 percent consumer, 13 percent PCs, 10 percent misc., 4 percent AC units, 2 percent other materials. There were also three trucks full of shredded paper materials, estimated at around 12,000 pounds There were 45 pairs of sneakers, 30 batteries, 20 cell phones, 30 bikes, and eight American Flags.
-- Chester County: Exelon Generation - Kennett Square Environmental Council Stewardship and Outreach: The Kennett Square Environmental Council organized environmental stewardship efforts to reach out to campus employees, the local community, schools, and local families. These efforts promoted environmental stewardship, sustainability practices, and habitat improvement concepts, and resulted in planting 840 plants, reducing 79,662 lbs. of CO2 from the atmosphere, reducing 21 percent of energy use, recycling 10,000 pounds of electronic material, and creating 15 nesting structures.
-- Clearfield County: Headwaters Resource Conservation & Development Council Sinnemahoning Stakeholder Committee - Sinnemahoning Stakeholder Committee: A Restoration, Education, and Financial Stewardship Commitment. The Sinnemahoning Stakeholders Committee has awarded over $1 million for 100 projects to conservation groups and agencies to assist in the restoration of the watershed. This endeavor does not consist of just one project. Rather, it addresses many projects that address water quality, habitat improvements, environmental outreach, and education. Through their work, the river shows great signs of improvement both with growing fish populations and healthy vegetation after 48,000 gallons of Sodium Hydroxide and chlorine spilled into the water.
-- Dauphin County: Phoenix Contact Services, Inc. - Combined Cooling Heating & Power: Phoenix Contact's combined cooling, heating, and power system is comprised of micro-turbines packaged in a single container, a gas absorption chiller, and a heat exchanger. The micro-turbines are driven in direct proportion to the demand of the thermal requirements of the facility. The system micro-turbines are fueled by natural gas, a Pennsylvania-produced, cleaner burning natural resource. The pollution prevention aspects of this project are directly realized at the utility power generation plant. This project offsets the amount of fuel needed at the utility power plant and utilizes the byproduct of heat usefully, in lieu of rejecting the heat directly to the environment as is typical of utility power plant electrical production.
-- Delaware County: The Vanguard Group, Inc. - Vanguard's Commuter Reduction Program: As a large financial investment company in Chester County, Vanguard has made significant efforts to encourage employees to use alternative modes of transportation for their daily commute. Forms of alternative transit that are being invested in include; shuttles to public transit, public transit benefits, carpools, bike locks and showers, and electric vehicle charging stations. Through a third party consultant, it is estimated that in 2014 the Vanguard shuttle service alone saved 24,954 gallons of gasoline and 222.59 metric tons of CO2
-- Erie County:
-- Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force - Algal Bloom Monitoring & Response Strategy for Recreational Waters: The task force determined that a monitoring and response strategy for HAB needed to be developed for Pennsylvania, particularly Lake Erie recreational waters. The strategy is designed to monitor environmental conditions to predict HAB formation, sample for toxin levels in public recreational waters, use sample results to make advisory decisions, and inform the public and water resource managers of how to recognize a HAB and the associated hazards.
-- Pennsylvania Sea Grant - Great Lakes - Great Stewards: "Great Lakes - Great Stewards" combined service learning instruction with Pennsylvania Sea Grant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded resources to provide 10 outstanding teachers and 250 students from low-income schools with science-based experiential learning on multiple watershed water quality issues. This project, which focused on emerging contaminants, stormwater management, invasive species, and wetland and habitat restoration, included a variety of teacher/student trainings, classroom learning, and shipboard and field activities. Students researched, developed, and implemented a second service project on a topic that they chose themselves.
-- Regional Science Consortium - The Pennsylvania Lake Erie Nearshore Buoy: The technologically advanced buoy system included a full weather station, water quality monitor, a wave meter, and a video camera capturing 10 second video clips of lake conditions. Quantified data was collected every 20 minutes and was used in modeling efforts to examine bacterial concentrations that are used as a regulatory indicator for beach waters at Presque Isle State Park. This allowed beach managers to issue "Pre-cautionary Advisories" on their beaches.
-- Philadelphia County: PECO - Norristown Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) Site Remediation: PECO investigated and remediated the former Norristown MGP site in accordance with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Land Recycling Program. PECO's primary goal of enrolling its portfolio of former MGP sites in the voluntary Act 2 cleanup program is to minimize the mass and volume of contamination in the environment. Through the removal of 100,000 tons of impacted soils from the subsurface, an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 tons of hazardous substances were removed from the environment and from the Schuylkill/Delaware watershed.
-- Philadelphia Water Department - Delaware Valley Early Warning System: Tidal Spill Trajectory Tool: The Philadelphia Water Department identified the need for improved communications among water suppliers and other stakeholders during water quality emergency events and created an EWS. EWS is a web-based notification system and data portal designed to provide advanced warning of surface water quality or flooding events in the Schuylkill and Lower Delaware river watersheds. In the event of an accidental or deliberate contamination event, this tool adds capabilities that existing tidal models cannot offer, by incorporating the effect of wind and weather on the movement of water pollution in tidal settings.
-- Schuylkill County: Schuylkill County Municipal Authority - Deer Lake Wastewater treatment Plant and Sanitary Upgrades: The project consists of construction of a 1 million gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant, three pumping stations, and over 12 miles of collection and conveyance lines to serve areas of Deer Lake Borough, West Brunswick Township, Auburn Borough, and Orwigsburg Borough. The regional project consolidated five existing public/private treatment facilities into one comprehensive, energy efficient plant. The project eliminates significant environmental issues with malfunctioning on-lot septic systems and contamination of private drinking water wells in the Pine Creek drainage basin, a designated Cold Water Fishery and Migratory Fishery by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
-- Somerset County: Conemaugh Valley Conservancy, Inc-Kiski - Conemaugh Stream Team: The mission of the Stream Team is to educate and engage citizen stewards in maintaining, enhancing, and restoring the natural resources of the Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin, which encompasses portions of Armstrong, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, and Westmoreland Ccunties. The Stream Team provides a critical service to watershed groups that do not have the staff or resources to conduct this sampling and obtain these data. The Stream Team oversees 11 "Trout in the Classroom Projects" through the counties.
-- Statewide: Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful - Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania: Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful believes that education is the key to encourage positive behaviors for community improvement. In 2014, 5,349 cleanup events were registered with 136,507 volunteers. Volunteers collected 6,359,872 pounds of trash. They cleaned 13,603 miles of roads, railroad tracks, trails, waterways, and shorelines, and 9,113 acres of parks and wetlands. Additionally, volunteers planted 31,406 trees and bulbs.
For more information, visit the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence webpage.
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