February 13, 2004

Alcoa Davenport Works Receives Top Environmental Award from State

BETTENDORF, IOWA - Alcoa earned the 2003 Governor's Iowa Overall Environmental Excellence Award, which will be announced in ceremonies on Monday in Des Moines.

In a letter to the facility, Gov. Thomas Vilsack said, "Your efforts serve as a model for the entire state, and I greatly appreciate your leadership in protecting Iowa's environment." Alcoa was the only large business to be given the Overall Environmental Excellence Award.

"We're extremely honored to be given this recognition because it supports our corporate environmental value that we will protect the communities in which we do business," said Alcoa Director of Manufacturing Mark Vrablec. "Our success came from the efforts of hundreds of employees. We want to give a special thanks to our Community Advisory Board made up of environmental groups, community leaders and elected officials, who helped guide our efforts and gave us an annual report card on our progress over the past 15 years."

In 1988, Davenport Works was first on the list of Iowa toxic air emitters because of the amount of perchlorethylene it used to clean metal for customers and is the same substance used by dry cleaners. Since then the usage of perchlorethylene has been reduced by more than 89%.

Alcoa then made the commitment to move from being reactive to proactive in environmental issues. The plant committed $70 million over 10 years to address the historical sources of pollution and air emissions. Air emissions have decreased by 94 percent, water usage is down by 97 percent. Alcoa also undertook a comprehensive site analysis, in conjunction with the U.S. EPA, to identify potential problems and assure compliance with current and future rules and regulations.

As a result of these actions, numerous environmental organizations have recognized Alcoa's efforts with local and national awards.

In addition, Alcoa Davenport Works was awarded ISO 14001, which certifies that the plant's environmental management program meets tough standards and will help to protect the Quad City community. Only 3,000 other companies across the United States have been certified to ISO 14001 standards.

Here are other highlights of Alcoa Davenport's environmental program:

  • Virtually eliminating the plant's reliance on river water by recycling and reusing it. Usage of Mississippi River Water has fallen from 15.5 thousand gallons a minute to about 700 gallons a minute.
  • Planting more than 7,000 trees throughout the Quad Cities as part of Alcoa's Ten Million Tree program
  • Installing a $13 million closed loop water system.
  • Facilitating the sponsorship of riverbanks cleaner Chad Pregracke.
  • Improving water quality, which resulted in the lifting of a fishing advisory in Mississippi River Pool 15.
  • Working with local environmentalists in creating 63 acres of wetlands located at Nahant Marsh and the Princeton Marsh.
  • Cutting the use of perchloreoethylene by more than 90% through new equipment installation and changing procedures.
  • Moving 100+ fleet vehicles and other motors from diesel fuel to biodiesel, decreasing emissions 30 to 80%.
  • Nearly eliminating the plant's usage of chlorine by substituting an inert non-toxic gas.
  • Cutting energy usage in the EPA's "Green Lights" program by installing high efficiency plant and office lighting.
  • Continuing to monitor the clean up of plant soil, contaminated by commonly accepted maintenance and manufacturing practices used in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Alcoa Davenport Works contributes close to $1 million a day to the local economy by producing the widest range of aluminum sheet and plate products of any mill in the world--11,000 product specifications made from 110 different alloy combinations. The 130-acre facility employs 2,200 people. Davenport Works is the only Alcoa plant in North America that makes sheet and plate for the commercial and defense aerospace industry.