Five environmental initiatives receive excellence awards

By Lindsey KIbler

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five environmental initiatives receive excellence awards

In keeping with what has become an annual event, Sandia once again has honored members of the workforce for their contributions to environmental stewardship at the Labs.

This year, 43 Sandians were recognized during the Environmental Management System Excellence Awards held April 27 in conjunction with the Labs’ Earth Day activities. The awards have been a part of Sandia’s Environment, Safety & Health program for more than a decade and serve to demonstrate continual environmental excellence and improvement throughout the Labs.

“This year, we received a broad range of impressive nominations ranging from teams that enhanced our reduce, re-use, recycle principles to labs whose clean-up and waste minimization efforts saved, and will continue to save, hundreds of thousands of dollars, divert more than half a million pounds of waste away from the landfill, save more than 2 million gallons of water a year, and continue to reduce risk,” says Environmental Management System Program Coordinator Chris Catechis (0643).

We diverted more than a half a million pounds of waste away from the landfill.

Div. 10000’s 100-percent Recycled Content Paper initiative received the Resource Conservation Award, which recognizes conservation excellence. The division’s FY16 goal was to attain a purchase rate of 50 percent for recycled content paper. The sitewide purchase rate is now at 100 percent — an 18 percent cost savings that translates into a roughly $100,000 per year cost reduction and an annual savings of about $5,600. Award recipients are Charles Atwood (04021), Catherine Benavidez (10248), Donald Devoti (10248), Sam McCord (4144), Michael Nagy (4144), Blake Thies (10248), and Ralph Wrons (4144).

Gilbert Duran (5957) received the Greenie Award for removing bare lead from Center 5900 locations. He collected 239 pieces of bare lead bricks, sheets, and miscellaneous pieces, and sent 6,650 pounds to the lead bank. Center 5900 now uses a coated lead to protect against damage to people and the environment. The Greenie Award recognizes individuals for going above and beyond for environmental stewardship outside of their job description.

The Environmental Protectors Award recognizes members of the workforce who have reached beyond their jobs to substantially reduce risks posed to environment, safety, and health. This year’s award was presented to members from Center 2700 and Dept. 4128 for their Legacy Hazardous Waste Inventory Reduction effort. The team identified and disposed of 2,814 legacy inventory neutron tubes, tube transformer assemblies, and neutron generator subassemblies taking up classified space. The inventory freed up 367 cubic feet of classified storage, eliminated associated Nuclear Enterprise Assurance security risks, and disposed of 137 cubic feet of classified radiological and mixed waste holdings from inventory and 563 curies of associated tritium. In addition, they put in place a process to configure and dispose of units as necessary. The team members are Andrew Aboytes (2725), Kayla Blemel (2722), Harrison Bucy (2732), Curt Dundas (2725), Justin Griffin (2723), Joseph Houck (2734), Justin Kemp (4128), Anthony Leyba (2725), Jason Mays (41281), Steven Nunez (2725), Eileen Rios-Stump (2725), Brenda Sammons (2725), Virginia Steiner (41281), and Epifanio Waquiu (2725).

Using a new inspection tool, the team determined 25 of the 31 clean steps were unnecessary and harmful.

John DiGregorio (1747) and Michael Olewine (1747) were presented the Hazardous Waste Eliminators Award for cutting consumption of a hazardous solvent used in the MESA Fab. Their CMOS7 Process Flow Improvement initiative identified the toxic solvent used extensively in the CMOS7 process to build radiationhardened application-specific integrated circuits. The solvent was used as cleaning agent in the standard process before adequate inspection tools existed to evaluate the cleaning methods, and it required special handling during its disposal. Using a new inspection tool, the team determined 25 of the 31 clean steps were unnecessary and harmful. The result was 270 gallons less solvent used annually, less energy and water usage, fewer processing steps and fewer audits, an annual cost savings of roughly $100,000, and a yield increase from 60 percent to 70 percent.

Custodial Services was awarded the Waste Reduction Heroes Award for its waste elimination efforts. The organization’s efforts to manage internal processes included replacing liquid soap with foaming soap, resulting in a reduction of nearly 2.5 million gallons in water use; using recycled-content bin liners, saving nearly $25,000 annually; and reducing paper towel use through composting, setting the stage for a 50-ton reduction in annual waste to the landfill.

Custodial Serves team members are Charlene Argo (48486), David Baca (48486), Belinda Christakis (48486), Roy Cuoco (48485), James Griego (48484), Timothy Harrington (48484), Joshua Konetzni (4848), Eric Lopez (48485), Chris Romero (48486), Sally Romero (48484), Lucy Saiz 48484), Dorothy Sauceda (48486), and Andrew Vigil (48485).

The Tech Area 3 Clean-up Campaign received an honorable mention for creating a long-term plan for a systematic cleanup of eight major sites in the tech area. To date, more than 430,000 pounds of metal have been moved offsite to the recycler. The campaign was developed by Janise Baldo (1533), Thomas Faturos (1533), Charles Roma (4144), and Randall Watkins (1533).

Sam’s programs have been used as examples throughout the US Air Force.

Sam McCord received an honorable mention for his continued commitment to the environment. In addition to being nominated for three awards this year — winning one for resource conservation—Sam received the Change Agent Award in the 2017 US Department of Energy Sustainability Awards for “several successful materials-management programs at Sandia.” Sandia shares recycling efforts with Kirtland Air Force Base and Sam’s programs have been used as examples throughout the US Air Force. He was the only individual to be recognized across the DOE complex.

ES&H Director Jaime Moya says environmental management is a quality-based system and a DOE requirement “that is important to Sandia because it helps us manage our environmental risks and continue to be good stewards of the environment” and workforce nominations “show line support and commitment into incorporating environmental considerations and continual improvement into mission work.”