Y-12 celebrates 30 years of sustainability

Posted: April 23, 2015 - 4:37pm

1985. It was more than big hair, Cabbage Patch Kids® and MTV. At Y-12, 1985 involved working to end the Cold War and addressing something that hadn’t been given much thought — environmental concerns. Shoptalk around the site was about how to comply with the expanding federal regulations to control water quality and air emissions.

Aprell Patterson, Y-12 Sustainability Programs lead, said, “In 1985, Y-12 established the Pollution Prevention Program to meet the requirements of the 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act — referred to as RCRA. Since then, the program has been growing (and greening).”

The program was organized to reduce the volume or quantity and toxicity of such waste to the degree determined by the generator to be economically practicable. “This goal is one we continue to strive for,” Sustainability and Stewardship Programs’ Jan Jackson said. “When you look at what we’ve achieved and how we’ve become a benchmark for other sites, I attribute a lot to the early team members.”

“Without the support of the employees who use our programs, suggest improvements, question processes and help properly disposition materials, none of our current success would be possible,” Durand Carmany, Legacy and Sustainability Operations director, said.