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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - USMA

United States Military Academy, West Point


The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point is located in 16,000 acres approximately 50 miles north of New York City. In addition to being a Federal service academy with a full range of academic, military, and athletic activities, West Point is the nation's oldest continuously occupied garrison. The Corps of Cadets at West Point has an average size of just over 4,000 with approximately 1,600 permanent military personnel with 2,900 dependents living at West Point. There are also approximately 4,500 civilian employees.

Methodologies and Procedures

Achievements have been made through process modification, material substitution, and improved material management. The long-term objective of West Point is to reduce and minimize the use of hazardous materials, the generation of wastes, and emission of pollutants to the environment.

Pollution Prevention Plan: The USMA completed a Pollution Prevention Plan. To date, West Point has implemented 90 percent of the projects targeted by the Plan for execution.

Use of High Velocity/Low Pressure (HVLP) Paint Gun: The motorpool at West Point uses a HVLP paint gun that generates less waste than the conventional paint gun. Unused paint is stored until it is needed for another job.

Contact Water Separator: The Laundry and Dry-cleaning Plant installed two water separators that can segregate perchloroethylene from wastewater. This project eliminated 34 percent (30,000 lbs) of all the annual hazardous waste generated at West Point.

Conversion to Laser Printers in the Defense Print Plant: The Defense Print Plant converted to photocopy machines and laser printers which generate less waste and expose workers to fewer chemicals.

Conversion of Boiler to Natural Gas: The USMA Central Power Plant upgraded a boiler to burn natural gas in addition to fuel oil. During the summer months only natural gas is burned which results in reduced emissions and potential spills.

Minimization of Chemicals Used in the Chemistry Department: Virtually all of the experiments performed by students have been scaled down from liter volumes to milliliter volumes.

Recycling Program: West Point has a recycling program for residential and industrial areas of the post. Residents separate recyclables for weekly curbside pickup. Offices at West Point collect white office paper, colored paper, glass bottles, plastic containers, and aluminum cans for recycling collection. In maintenance shops, batteries, antifreeze, freon, oil filters, used oil, scrap metal, and rags are recycled or reused.

Energy Savings: USMA retrofitted light fixtures under an EPA Green Lights Partnership. Green Lights is a voluntary, non-regulatory program promoting energy efficiency and reduction of air emissions from power plants through investment in energy efficient lighting. The lighting replacement resulted in $610,512 of gross savings annually. West Point accomplished the retrofits through use of an innovative contract where by the contractor makes the initial capital investment and receives a portion of the resulting energy savings in dollars.


The USMA realized economic benefits in the areas of reduced disposal costs, reduction in the amount of materials required and elimination of harmful chemicals.

Through equipment upgrades and retrofits, the USMA has saved $458,000 in energy costs and reduced energy consumption by 3,338,000 kilowatt hours.

The USMA collected over 1,100 tons of material through its recycling programs reducing the solid waste stream.

Potential liability has been lessened by reducing cadet and worker exposure to harmful chemicals.

Hazardous waste generation has been reduced by over 34 percent.

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This page was last modified April 21, 2000

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