August 19, 2015

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Recognizes Businesses for Pollution Prevention and Waste Removal Efforts

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has announced the 2015 Pollution Prevention (P2) Award recipients. The announcement was made during an awards luncheon at the Kansas Environmental Conference, held Aug.18-20 at the Ramada Downtown Hotel and Conference Center in Topeka.

John Mitchell, KDHE Division of Environment Director, presented awards to the following companies: Via Christi Health in Wichita, DoubleTree Hotel in Wichita, General Motors Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City, Sherwin-Williams in Andover, and Kyle Railroad.

The Kansas Pollution Prevention Program promotes pollution prevention as an environmental ethic to achieve improvements in public health and environmental quality. The awards are presented to entities that have reduced or eliminated waste at the source, reduced air emissions or practiced energy and/or water conservation. Companies, organizations, schools and communities are able to apply for the Kansas P2 awards each year.

“We are happy to honor these companies with this year’s P2 awards for their success in planning and implementing a variety of waste reduction and conservation projects,” Mitchell said. “In addition to recognizing these companies for their environmental accomplishments, the P2 awards allow us to showcase specific efforts that other Kansas businesses can incorporate into their manufacturing processes.”

Via Christi Health in Wichita is a provider of health care services in Kansas. Via Christi Health is being awarded for its “Greening the OR” initiatives and efforts in energy conservation. Operating Room teams at Via Christi use hundreds of single use devices and instruments every week. Instead of discarding the devices, Via Christi Health now works with a vendor to reprocess and reuse these devices. Nearly five tons of devices that used to be incinerated or landfilled are now reprocessed annually, at a cost savings of approximately $159,000. Each of Via Christi Health’s nineteen surgical rooms has one light fixture that supports two spotlights. By upgrading the original spot lights in all nineteen OR surgical rooms, Via Christi Health saved 84,840 kilowatts per hour (kWh) and experienced a savings amounting $8,484. Via Christi Health also replaced their conventional lighting in underground passageways that connect the hospital to the distribution and energy centers, parking lots, garages, and ongoing remodeling projects. The lighting fixtures replacement documented savings of 135,200 kWh/year, representing a 50 percent reduction in energy use.

DoubleTree by Hilton at the Wichita Airport is a hotel serving Kansas. DoubleTree is being awarded for its efforts in reducing energy and water usage. Lighting upgrades involving the replacement of incandescent lights in the lobby and restaurant areas with fluorescent lighting, and the upgrade of incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) in each of the 302 guest rooms’ ten lamps resulted in a decrease of 327,436 kWh/year. DoubleTree also changed out all 302 guest room sink aerators from 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) flow to 0.5 gpm resulting in the conservation of 1,201,387 gallons annually.

General Motors Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City assembles the Chevrolet Malibu and the Buick Lacrosse. General Motors is receiving an award for its Purge Thinner Reduction Project. The main purpose of this project was to reduce the usage of the thinner that is used to purge paint from the lines (piping) to the painting equipment and used to clean the painting equipment between color changes. By creating a Purge Reduction Committee that met monthly and examined everything related to how the thinner was used, General Motors decreased its thinner use by 101,894 gallons, lessoned emissions by 92,700 pounds, and experienced a savings of $405,500 over 12 months.

Sherwin-Williams in Andover manufactures protective and marine paint coatings. Sherwin-Williams is receiving an award for its reduction in aquifer water and energy usage. The facility’s prior fire suppression system made use of two 200,000 gallon tanks that drew 26.1 gallons per minute of ground water from an aquifer. Installation of an enhanced fire suppression system resulted in less than 30,000 gallons of ground water needed for the facility’s protection. An employee Sustainability Team was created to focus on electricity usage reduction and their efforts have reduced the amount of electricity being consumed for every 100 pounds of product produced from 10.18 kWh in 2013 to 8.52 kWh in 2014.

Kyle Railroad was also honored for its work in disposing waste ties associated with railroad construction. Kyle Railroad operates 447 miles of track in the northwestern/north central section of Kansas. From 2013 through 2015, the Kyle Railroad worked on repairing their track from the City of Downs to the City of Solomon. The distance was approximately 110 miles of track and nearly 73,000 waste ties were generated. Kyle Railroad developed a plan and properly dispose of these ties at a permitted Construction and Demolition landfill. By carrying out this clean-up and disposal work, Kyle is helping protect the environment and the scenic beauty of Kansas. 

Congratulations to the 2015 P2 award recipients and Kyle Railroad. Learn more about these projects and the Pollution Prevention Awards by visiting