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Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s Pollution Prevention Program assists businesses in process improvement and recognizes P2 success

August 28, 2018

By DEQ Communications and Outreach Staff

DEQ’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Program offers free assistance to businesses in planning, developing, and implementing P2 projects that provide stakeholders with effective tools to prevent pollution, minimize waste, and conserve energy and resources.

It also recognizes Idaho businesses or organizations that have implemented pollution prevention measures by participating in activities that prevent, eliminate, and/or minimize waste production at is source, use nontoxic or less-toxic products, conserve energy or water, and/or reuse material rather than throwing it away.

Mirage Trailers, Esterline/Advanced Input Systems, and the University of Idaho are P2 partners and champions who worked to use materials, processes, or practices that reduce or eliminate pollutants at the source. Instead of managing wastes or pollutants through treatment or disposal methods, these businesses have prevented initial generation or reduced wastes and pollutants as well as reduced the consumption of resources such as raw materials, water, energy, or fuel.

Partners in Process Improvement

Mirage Trailers—Employees from Mirage Trailers, a light-duty trailer manufacturer in Nampa, enrolled in TechHelp’s Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course to improve production processes on several of their trailer lines. As part of its Green the Green Belt initiative, DEQ partnered with Mirage Trailers to use the waste reduction techniques learned in the Green Belt course. Boise State interns worked with Mirage to identify waste generated from the company’s 6-foot dump trailer line. The team measured the volume of scrap waste attributed to defects and resulting rework at the end of the production line, and identified several changes that could help to reduce the scrap. Implementing standard work instructions, ensuring delivery of correct parts, and constructing a resilient welding jig were estimated to have the largest impact on the scrap waste. Changes implemented resulted in a 300% increase in output for the dump trailer line, an annual 15,000-pound reduction in scrap waste, a carbon dioxide reduction of 22.95 metric tons per year, and a cost savings of $287,500 per year. Mirage’s process improvements have carryover potential for all industries, particularly for individual work stations on long production lines.

P2 Champions Recognized

University of Idaho Wood-Fired District Heating—The University of Idaho uses district heating for nearly all of its space heating and some cooling needs (through steam absorption). Historically, the university used three boilers, one that burned wood to heat water, and two that burned gas. Over 10 years, the energy plant manager worked extensively to improve the efficiency of the wood boiler. Modifications included quality control for wood fuel sourcing, boiler water treatment, boiler line descaling, and intake fan optimization to achieve complete combustion. These efficiency improvements reduced fuel consumption and allow the university to operate strictly on the wood-fired boiler; reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 50% annually, and reduced particulate matter emissions by 84% annually. In the past 15 years, the modifications avoided 481 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 197 tons of particulate matter emissions. The modifications and resulting savings have significant potential for carryover into wood products manufacturing, where wood-fired steam boilers have a universal presence.

Esterline/Advanced Input Systems—To reduce its environmental footprint, this Coeur d’Alene company made several improvements to its printed circuit board production facility. A dedicated lead solder recycling receptacle was deployed reducing lead waste generation from over 300 pounds per year, to just under .064 pounds per year—over 99% reduction. Upgrades to the production facility’s lighting and HVAC systems are anticipated to reduce electricity consumption up to 30% annually. Process improvements for the facility’s wastewater treatment system reduced wastewater generation from 420,000 to 25,000 gallons per year—a 95% reduction. These improvements have significant carryover potential for electronics manufacturers supplying military hardware that requires lead solder.

DEQ is committed to empowering and recognizing Idaho businesses that engage in P2 practices. For more information about DEQ’s P2 Programs, visit or contact Ben Jarvis at

September is Pollution Prevention Month

September 9, 2016

By Ben Jarvis, Pollution Prevention Projects Coordinator

Each September, DEQ celebrates Pollution Prevention Month. During this time, we remind Idaho citizens, businesses, and local governments of the steps that they can take to reduce pollution and to protect our air, water, and overall quality of life. The best way to reduce waste and other pollution is to avoid producing it in the first place. Pollution prevention (P2) is any activity that reduces or eliminates the creation of pollutants or waste at the source. Instead of trying to manage the wastes or pollutants through treatment or disposal methods, P2 aims to prevent the initial generation or reduce the toxicity of wastes and pollutants such as hazardous waste, air pollutants, solid waste, and wastewater.

From individual actions, such as using alternative transportation, to major business efforts that use process improvement to reduce hazardous waste, DEQ encourages and recognizes positive behavior. Individual actions can go a long way in helping prevent pollution and protect Idaho’s resources and way of life. We have P2 tips for citizens to implement at work, at home, when traveling, or when purchasing goods for your family. Learn more here.

One of the ways we recognize the efforts of business and industry, is through our Pollution Prevention Champions awards. During the third week of September, we recognize businesses and organizations that have made notable achievements in reducing pollution. These businesses include family-run restaurants all the way up to major multinational manufacturers. Many of these case studies are used in outreach to other businesses to demonstrate possibilities for pollution prevention. We encourage you to check out our Pollution Prevention Champions profiles to jumpstart your imagination. You can find past champions on our Pollution Prevention Recognition webpage, and look for our 2016 champions later this month.

If you have questions about P2 efforts at your home or businesses, please reach out to me at

The Pollution Prevention Program is committed to encouraging and empowering Idaho citizens, businesses, schools, and communities to engage in behaviors to protect public health and preserve Idaho's environment.

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