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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - SUNY at Geneseo

SUNY at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY


Pollution prevention at SUNY Geneseo is an ever-evolving process. Over the past ten years, SUNY Geneseo has implemented many pollution prevention activities, resulting in reduced waste and emissions.

Methodologies and Procedures

The pollution prevention program at SUNY Geneseo is truly an integrated approach. All campus personnel involved in the varied campus operations and processes continue to review and critique activities to identify improvements and possible reductions in environmental impacts.

As a campus, Geneseo faces special challenges - the collective memory of the student population is limited to no more than four years. Thus, pollution prevention programs never "mature," they must constantly be "re-launched." With each re-launching, the students offer enthusiasm, commitment and innovation. In 2002, the Solid Waste Recycling Program was re-launched. More than 40 students volunteered to participate in the program re-design efforts. Their input for new innovations to the program will help ensure its success.


  • The volume of hazardous waste generated by campus operations has averaged less than 1,500 pounds each year since 1996 - a reduction of about 90 percent when compared to 1995.
  • The current potential to emit (PTE) from the central heating plant is approximately 6 percent of the pre-upgrade PTE. Actual emissions of SO2 have been reduced by 95 percent.
  • After a review of actual need, the underground fuel storage volume at the central heating plant was reduced from 100,000 gallons to 60,000 gallons.
  • The college enjoys a campus-wide reduction in the use of toxic products.
  • The Chemistry Department conducts its experiments on a "microscale," involving only very small amounts of chemicals.
  • The Art Department and the Scene Shop use non-toxic materials as replacements for solvents in the paint and etching studios.
  • The Biology Department replaced formaldehyde-preserved specimens with those preserved in a less toxic alcohol-based solution.
  • Photography, both academic studio and campus publications, has turned to digital imagery as a chemical-free option.
  • Use of chemical herbicides was reduced over 90 percent from 1993 to 1999.
  • The Student Health Center uses only non-mercury containing thermometers, and it and other departments, including chemistry and biology, are eliminating other mercury-containing equipment.
  • The Department of Facilities Services replaced oil-based paints with water-based paints eliminating the need for a solvent-based brush cleaner tank, paint thinners and other solvents. This use of water-based paints also greatly improved the indoor air quality of the buildings being painted.
  • Floor finishes, polishes and even water treatment chemicals were replaced with less toxic alternatives.
  • The custodial program involves distribution of "daily use amounts" of very specific low-toxicity cleaning chemicals. As a result, wastes due to unnecessary use of custodial cleaning chemicals were completely eliminated.
  • Water treatment chemicals at the Heating Plant are now maintained in an automated dispensing system eliminating any waste of chemicals resulting from incompletely emptied drums.
  • Facilities Services recognized that waste minimization requires products be properly stored and maintained to prevent spoilage or premature "aging." Paint, fertilizers and pool chemicals are purchased in small quantities to ensure products will be usable and stored under manufacturer's recommended conditions.
  • A campus-wide prohibition of idling motor vehicle engines produced not only an improvement in indoor air quality, but also a reduction in fuel use.
  • A program to replace all single-walled elevator hydraulic cylinders with new double-walled cylinders and casings has been initiated.
  • The entire hexavalent-chromium containing chiller system at the campus ice hockey rink was removed and replaced.
  • All electrical transformers filled with oils containing PCBs were drained and removed from the campus. This project generated more than 17 tons of metal transformer carcasses - all of which were completely recycled as scrap.
  • Solid and Universal Waste recycling programs at the campus continue to expand.
  • The campus implemented a program to purchase chemicals in returnable containers for products such as propane and laboratory gases whenever possible to minimize waste generated.
  • Non-road vehicles powered by electricity or by smaller gas engines have been purchased for on-campus maintenance staff in order to reduce fossil fuel use and emissions.

Any comments or questions?
Contact us at: 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750;
518-402-9469 (phone); 518-402-9168 (fax)

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