Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


White House recognizes Battelle, ORNL for environmental stewardship

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 20, 2004 — Environmental sustainability and reduction of waste at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have helped Battelle Memorial Institute earn a White House Closing the Circle Award for environmental stewardship.

The White House award recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship through pollution prevention, recycling, green purchasing, sustainable building and use of environmental management systems.

Battelle was cited for leadership and management in the development and integration of environmental management systems into the operational and business systems of ORNL, Brookhaven and Pacific Northwest national laboratories, and projects in Columbus, Ohio.

The White House award was presented recently in Washington.

"The commitment of this laboratory and its staff to not only protect but restore the environment is something that we as a community should be collectively proud of," said Kelly Beierschmitt, ORNL's associate laboratory director for environment, safety, health and quality, who attended the presentation ceremony.

Beierschmitt said ORNL was recognized for integrating environmental sustainability principles into all laboratory operations. Those activities include:

* Purchasing only flex-fuel sedans and light-duty trucks for the past five years have that can run either on gasoline or E-85, a combination of ethanol and gasoline.

* Lowering since 1993 transuranic and mixed transuranic waste 93 percent; low-level and mixed waste 87 percent; and generation of sanitary waste 40 percent.

* Cutting generation of wastewater more than 190,000 gallons a year by using solvent distillation operations and nanoparticle and solgel synthesis, resulting in savings of $4,000 per year, increased operational flexibility, decreased risk of damage from leaks associated with certain cooling water systems, and other benefits.

Beierschmitt said ORNL's environmental sustainability is based on a managing system structure aimed at achieving long-term efficiency, cost reduction and goals that reduce environmental impact. The laboratory is scheduled in July to undergo a third-party registration audit to the international standard in environmental management, he said.

In February, DOE awarded Battelle for Best in Class and Accomplishment in Pollution Prevention and Environmental Sustainability. That award cited ORNL‘s construction of five new facilities with environmentally sustainable features, such as energy-efficient roofs, low emission materials, recycled content materials and native landscaping.

Battelle's environmental management systems include strong senior management commitment; performance-based management and review processes; innovative work planning; defined roles and responsibilities; deployment of environmental expertise to the line; chemical management systems; and proactive legacy waste and pollution, communication and community involvement programs. These efforts have resulted in substantial improvements in accountability, hazard and waste reductions, cost savings, and compliance, resulting in the Battelle system being viewed as a role model among business and government organizations on a national, state and local scale.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.