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Chemsweep Program Wins 2007 Karl Mason Environmental Award
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John Tacelosky, Chief, Division of Health & Safety; Dennis C Wolff, Secretary of Agriculture; Donald Gilbert, Environmental Program Specialist.

The Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals announced it awarded the 2007 Karl Mason Award to the Department of Agriculture’s Chemsweep Program. Secretary of Agriculture, Dennis Wolf, accepted the award on behalf of the Program.

The Chemsweep Program removes hundreds of thousands of tons of dangerous chemicals from storage places (many causing actual or potential groundwater pollution) and disposes them in an environmentally safe manner. Pennsylvania's program has received national recognition and has been copied by many states.

The Department of Agriculture and Penn State University cooperatively administer the program.

Chemsweep has grown from the collection of a modest 30,000 pounds of pesticides from six counties in 1993, to a program that has served over 4,500 Pennsylvanians and collected and safely disposed over 1.5 million pounds of waste pesticides.

The Chemsweep waste pesticide collection program is designed to provide all citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with a means to dispose of cancelled, suspended, or unwanted pesticide products. The program reduces environmental liability and serious actual or potential pollution of waters of the Commonwealth.

Each year, many pesticide products are cancelled by the manufacturer or phased out of operations, leaving growers and applicators with quantities of potentially dangerous and toxic materials. In addition, many commercial establishments, farmers and homeowners have unwanted and/or unusable pesticides.

Approximately 90 percent of the waste pesticides collected are burned in EPA approved incinerators. The remaining pesticides are either offered for recycling or are treated and placed in hazardous waste landfills permitted by EPA.

The Award’s name-sake, Karl Mason, served as Pennsylvania’s first State Environmental Administrator from 1952 to 1966. Karl’s holistic vision of environmental management set the pattern for the state that embraces all essential elements of the problems of air, water and land related waste disposal and community environmental protection.

The general framework established by Karl serves as the foundation for Pennsylvania’s environmental protection programs to this day.

Karl believed and put into practice the notion that environmental protection is primarily the business of professionals who have the skills by virtue of their scientific training to manage the technical and scientific complexities of maintaining a safe, healthy and clean environment. He was committed to the belief that continuing education was an essential part of the career of every environmental professional.

For more information about PAEP, Conservation Heritage, and Karl Mason visit the PAEP website.

If you are interested in assisting in promoting research and dissemination of information about the Commonwealth’s rich conservation heritage, you can contact, Wayne Kober, Chair of the PAEP Conservation Heritage Committee at wwkpa@hughes.net .


5/25/2007

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