Alcoa Warrick Operations earns Indiana Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

From the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Five Indiana companies have been recognized with the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for work they’ve done to identify and implement innovative environmental practices into their programs and facilities. During a ceremony Wednesday at Plano’s West in Plainfield, Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner Thomas Easterly presented awards to recipients in three categories, including Pollution Prevention, Five Years of Continuous Improvement and Energy/Renewable Resources.

Alcoa Warrick Operations, celebrating 50 years in Southwestern Indiana, was recognized for five consecutive years of improvement, including a 94 percent decrease in sulfur dioxide emissions from the installation of wet flue gas desulphurization equipment at the Alcoa Warrick Power Plant.

“By seeking out and utilizing innovative environmental practices, Alcoa has reduced waste, saved money and contributed greatly to Indiana’s environmental protection efforts, benefiting the health and welfare of the state’s communities,” said IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly.

In 2000, Alcoa established sustainability goals, which included goals meant to achieve large-scale reductions of wastewater, landfill use, and air pollutants. At Warrick Operations, strategic plans were implemented that included the introduction of a formalized environmental management system (EMS), and Warrick Operations was ISO 14001 certified in 2004.

“Alcoa doesn’t merely judge its performance based on its total employment or its many positive effects on the regional economy,” said Ed Hemmersbach, Location Manager for the Rigid Packaging Division at Warrick Operations. "Our success is based on a comprehensive view of sustainability – a balanced scorecard that includes environmental, economic and community goals. So it’s wonderful, in our fiftieth year, to receive this special recognition from the governor for our efforts toward these goals."

Alcoa’s reduction of sulfur dioxide was possible because of a $600 million investment in its power plant, the corporation’s largest capital expenditure in North America at the time of the project, which was completed in 2008.

The facility also has achieved these reductions, based on the quantity of metal produced at the facility, which includes aluminum smelting, casting, rolling and fabricating:
  • A 24 percent reduction from 2005 in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by switching some solvent-based surface coatings to water-based surface coatings.
  • A 24 percent reduction in the amount of waste landfilled since 2005, and a 75 percent reduction since 2000.
  • A 51 percent increase in recycling since 2005.
  • A 27 percent reduction in the amount of hazardous waste generated at the plant since 2005.

Other award recipients include the City of Valparaiso, Redevelopment Commission and Kimball Office—Jasper in the Pollution Prevention category; Cummins Columbus Midrange Engine Plant in the Five Years of Continuous Improvement category; and Kankakee Valley High School in the Energy/Renewable Resources category.

Initiated in 1994, the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence awards program is open to all Indiana facilities, state and local units of government, individuals, and technical assistance organizations that implement exemplary environmental projects with measurable results. A review committee consisting of representatives from industry, environmental organizations, education, and government evaluate each Governor’s Awards application, considering how each project reflects and advances environmental excellence, economic prosperity, and leadership commitment to these improvements.

In the photo (L-R): Denny Wene, Alcoa Senior Staff Environmental Engineer, Jim Beck, Alcoa Warrick Operations Public Affairs Manager, IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly, IDEM Asst. Commissioner Rick Bossingham.

About IDEM
IDEM(www.idem.IN.gov) implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and our environment.