Y-12 wastes not and wins big

Posted: December 9, 2015 - 6:53pm

Y‑12 recently received two awards at the 33rd Annual Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry Environment and Energy Conference. Representatives from Y‑12’s Infrastructure and Environmental Compliance groups accepted the awards at the ceremony held at Montgomery Bell State Park.

“I was honored to accept awards on behalf of the Y‑12 employees,” Legacy and Sustainability Operations Manager Durand Carmany said. “Y‑12 employees continue to help our programs in making the site more environmentally friendly. Being recognized with awards shows how much other organizations see what our employees are doing.”

Y‑12 received the following awards for businesses with more than 250 employees: Water Quality Award and Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Award.

The Water Quality Award recognized Y‑12’s reduced water usage and improved water quality. Y‑12 has pursued several avenues to reduce its water use and to improve water quality, including Energy Savings Performance Contract vehicles and utility efficiency improvement initiatives. As of FY 2014, Y‑12 has reduced water intensity by 47 percent from the 2007 baseline. Utilities has reduced cooling tower water usage by 24.7 million gallons per year and reduced the associated chemical usage.

Jan Jackson of Sustainability and Stewardship said, “Our operations personnel continually look for changes they can implement to improve efficiency, including reducing potable water use and water treatment chemicals.”

Changes incorporated include moving to a standard automated tower treatment and blowdown process to maintain tower water chemistry more efficiently and completing the automation of two towers.

Jackson said, “The results were amazing. For two cooling towers, they increased the cycles, which provided results with outstanding savings.”

The savings are listed below.

  • 24.7 million gallons per year of potable water saved, equaling a cost savings of more than $37,000;
  • more than 24,000 pounds of corrosion control and scale prevention treatment chemical saved, which equaled more than $60,000 saved; and
  • more than 4,000 pounds of biocide chemical treatment saved per year, which equaled more than $25,000 saved.

The second award, the Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Award, recognized the Uranium Processing Facility project team for sustainable practices as the site is prepared for major construction. UPF recycled or reused more than 74 million pounds of materials removed from the site in the past year.

The UPF project’s sustainability efforts included reusing almost 63 million pounds of asphalt, reusing 4.2 million pounds of wood for erosion control, and recycling more than 240,000 pounds of mixed scrap metal.

The UPF team removed asphalt from two large parking lots and one of Y‑12’s main roads. The asphalt was ground into base course, which was used to maintain unpaved access and perimeter roads and to protect them from erosion.

UPF’s diligent sustainability efforts have resulted in a 98 percent landfill diversion rate since the beginning of construction activities. According to the conference’s press release, the TCC&I 2015 Environment and Energy Awards recognized businesses that “have demonstrated outstanding achievement toward environmental protection and enhancement as well as proactive and innovative energy projects.”

“We appreciate all the effort employees put into being sustainable,” Carmany said. “It helps show how Y‑12 is working to be great stewards.”