Eastman receives environmental stewardship award

From Staff Reports

   Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport has received the 2002 Governor's Award for Excellence in Hazardous Waste Management, according to Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Milton Hamilton, Jr.
   The award was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1983 when the state Superfund statute was implemented. Eastman Chemical averages incinerating 96 million pounds of hazardous waste annually. In April 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the hazardous waste combustor Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule. Eastman evaluated the impact of the new standards, and though existing equipment might have been able to comply with the new rule, Eastman decided to upgrade its incinerators to ensure the units would meet the proposed new standards. The company proceeded in a proactive manner with engineering updates exceeding $50 million in capital outlay, according to TDEC.
   Eastman and other companies were honored last week with TDEC Environmental Stewardship Awards at the opening session of the agency's 31st Annual Solid/Hazardous Waste Conference in Gatlinburg. Hundreds of solid and hazardous waste management experts from across the state gathered to learn about the newest and most effective ways to address environmental issues.
   "So much has been done, thanks to Tennessee's hallmark volunteer spirit," said Commissioner Hamilton. "TDEC's annual stewardship awards represent our way of publicly recognizing many unsung efforts to enhance the natural beauty and quality of life in this beloved land we call Tennessee," he said.
   Ernie Blankenship, special assistant to the commissioner, presented awards to nine recipients across the state. In East Tennessee, besides Eastman, others honored include:
   * Kimberly-Clark Corp. of Loudon, recipient of TDEC's 2002 Industrial Pollution Prevention Award. Kimberly-Clark began its manufacturing business by recycling cotton rags into paper more than 125 years ago. In keeping with the spirit of recycling, one of the company's corporate environmental performance standards calls for 100 percent landfill diversion of manufacturing wastes for all facilities worldwide by 2005. The Loudon Mill has been one of the first to achieve the goal. Overall, of the 225 tons of waste generated daily through manufacturing at Loudon Mill, more than 99 percent is recycled or converted to energy.
   * Denso Manufacturing, also a recipient of the 2002 Industrial Pollution Prevention Award, is an automotive parts manufacturer in Maryville. In its nearly 11 years of operation, Denso has yet to experience a permit violation even with the average 200,000 gallons a day of wastewater discharged to the city's wastewater treatment plant. They have received five previous pretreatment excellence awards for their commitment to the environment. "Denso is a great example of how industry can be a good environmental neighbor, working hand in hand with the community," TDEC said.
   * Campbell County Roadside Dump Cleanup received the 2002 Local Government Stewardship Award for its efforts to combat litter and illegal dumping. Those efforts have a genesis in Executive Tom Stiner, who several years ago upon assuming office, began an immense uphill struggle to remove litter from the rural county's scenic environment. Resources were made available to establish a new county recycling center, engage in public outreach, collection, cleanup and enforcement activities. "Campbell County's actions reflect vision, tenacity, and a desire to implement an aggressive public action plan to address local solid waste issues," according to TDEC.
   * Town of Walden in Hamilton County received the 2002 Local Government Stewardship Award for significant efforts in the protection and preservation of Falling Water Falls State Natural Area. Falling Water Falls was designated a state natural area in 1973. Located in a rural setting, the natural area fell victim to undesirable vandalism and littering activity. Oversight activities worked out with TDEC's Natural Heritage Division preserved the eco-sensitive natural area, ensuring public enjoyment of the natural area for passive day-use recreation.