2015 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards

 

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Maine Department of Environmental Protection

For Immediate Release

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, david.madore@maine.gov or (207) 287-5842

Governor Paul LePage and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The awards, which are administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, recognize businesses, nonprofit organizations, and public entities for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve Maine’s environment. "Maine DEP is pleased to celebrate and spotlight this year’s winners, who serve as a model we can all learn from for new, innovative ways to shift our culture toward sustainability while investing in infrastructure and creating good jobs," said Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is committed to improving our State’s regulatory climate and to creating a stronger culture of cooperation between government and Maine people and businesses. The 2015 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for a small business is awarded this year to Paris Autobarn LLC. Paris Autobarn strives to use the most sustainable practices currently available to the automotive service industry by looking for new and innovative ways to protect the environment. With over 950 automotive shops operating in Maine today, Paris Autobarn’s innovative practices serve as a model for others within their industry, and Paris Autobarn will inspire other organizations across the state to incorporate eco-friendly initiatives.

Maine DEP recognizes organizations that solve environmental challenges through constructive and creative solutions that go beyond standard techniques or regulatory compliance requirements. The 2015 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for a medium business is awarded to INCON. INCON designs and manufactures electronic monitoring products for the electric utility market. INCON engineers in Saco, Maine created and are patenting the first and only effective monitoring system for circuit breakers that detects leaks of Sulfur-Hexa-Flouride (SF6). SF6 is the ideal lightweight electrical insulator and it is used in large circuit breakers throughout the world. SF6 is the most potent of all greenhouse gases. One pound of SF6 is the equivalent of 23,000 pounds of CO2 (the equivalent of what two cars would emit in over one year), and it has a life of 3200 years. INCON engineers have designed a monitor that detects leaks of SF6 far earlier than any existing systems, because of this innovation a leak can be limited to a few ounces compared with 20 pounds or more. INCON’S innovation will protect the environment not only in the US, but also on a global scale while investing in infrastructure and creating high tech jobs in Maine.

Innovative environmental solutions often cannot take place without the existence of high tech businesses and their facilities. Prior to 2014, Maine communities were struggling to develop pharmaceutical take back programs due to the exorbitant cost of disposing of pharmaceuticals out of state. Inappropriate disposal of unused pharmaceuticals creates risks to society. Environmental impacts from flushing these substances into our sewer systems or putting them into the trash affects our groundwater. Maine DEP approached Ecomaine to collaborate in investigating the feasibility of destroying unused pharmaceuticals safely at the Ecomaine state of the art air waste disposal combustor unit in Portland, Maine. With oversight from Maine DEP, Ecomaine undertook two test burns combusting unused pharmaceuticals, and test results demonstrated complete destruction with emission levels at or below ambient air levels. The 2015 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for a large business is awarded to Ecomaine and their public sector partners the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Counter Drug Task Forum (CDTF) members, Maine Sheriffs’ Association, and the Cumberland County and York County Sheriffs’ Offices.

The 2015 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for a Community, Public Sector, or Nonprofit category recognizes a project born from innovation and collaboration that has resulted in measurable environmental and economic benefits. The Presque Isle Landfill Design and Build Project is a collaborative team project consisting of CES, Sargent Corporation, the City of Presque Isle, and a small group from DEP lead by David Burns. The landfill project utilized a design build method, which is a contracting and construction delivery method more common in the building industry but very unique in the solid waste field. This new innovative approach method incorporates a single point of responsibility which reduces costs and overruns, and creates a collaborative team effort. This approach saved over $900,000 from the original estimate and reduced local and State tax dollars. The permanent technology installed is an environmentally progressive solution covering over 9 acres of solid waste to minimize surface infiltration, and reduce leachate by 1 million gallons per year from entering an aging leachate collection and drainage system. Landfill gas collection was also improved with the addition of a surficial gas collection system and the City continues to voluntarily operate their active gas collection system to reduce their emissions. This design would lend itself to replication by many of the other municipal landfills in need of cover throughout the state, and has the potential to save taxpayers millions of dollars.

In the coming weeks, Commissioner Aho, Deputy Commissioner Parent and Senior staff from Maine DEP will be making site visits to the honorees at their establishment to make the award presentations.

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