Whirlpool, Mars earn KTWEA’s top award

Pretreatment is environment aid

RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Posted 10/12/15

Two longtime Bradley County industries that partner with Cleveland Utilities in a closely monitored pretreatment wastewater program have earned awards from the Kentucky-Tennessee Water …

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Whirlpool, Mars earn KTWEA’s top award

Pretreatment is environment aid


Two longtime Bradley County industries that partner with Cleveland Utilities in a closely monitored pretreatment wastewater program have earned awards from the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association.

Whirlpool Corporation-Cleveland Operations, which remains the county’s largest employer, and Mars Chocolate North America, whose products are arguably the sweetest, were recognized recently by the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.

“We’ve got some really good news for two of our customers, good news for Cleveland Utilities and good news for the community in general,” CU President and CEO Ken Webb told the utility’s governing body during a formal monthly session.

The “good news” is word from the two-state WEA that both Whirlpool and Mars Chocolate have gone above and beyond in their commitment to protecting the environment, and doing it by partnering with CU, Webb said.

“This award signifies a commitment to the partnership between industries and utilities, and ultimately to the protection of the environment,” Webb pointed out. “This year, we are proud to have two of our own Cleveland industries receive this award.”

Under resounding applause by board members and in front of a small crowd attending the gathering, Webb read from the certificates that describe both Whirlpool and Mars Chocolate North America as being “outstanding operations” because of their commitment to the environment.

The awards span the 2014 calendar year.

“This award is conferred to recognize the dedication, resolve and outstanding effort of the employees of [these facilities] in the pretreatment of industrial wastewater,” the certificates cite.

A pretreatment program is one in which an industry treats its own water refuse — which is used in its daily operation — before the water is disseminated into the CU wastewater collection system.

According to Webb’s presentation, Whirlpool is the world’s largest manufacturer of premium cooking appliances including ranges, wall ovens and cooktops.

“Their industrial processes generate wastewater that is subject to the federal categorical discharge standards for metal finishing and porcelain enameling in addition to the local limitations established by Cleveland Utilities,” Webb explained.

He added, “Investment in newer and cleaner technologies has enabled Whirlpool to meet their wastewater discharge limitations with minimal pretreatment; however, they have maintained the ability to operate pretreatment processes including metals precipitation, sludge recovery and disposal; and pH adjustment prior to discharge into the Cleveland Utilities collection system.”

Webb pointed to some of Whirlpool’s “outstanding performances,” including:

- Becoming a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-Certified facility;

- Adhering to Detailed Standard Operating Procedures and Maintenance Procedures;

- Use of continuous effluent pre-testing; and

- Maintains quarterly monitoring and reporting.

“These performance measures have resulted in no pretreatment violations over the past three years,” Webb said.

Maureen Sertich, North American Sustainability Lead for Whirlpool Corporation, said the measures the company uses are indicative of its commitment to the environment.

“This further demonstrates Whirlpool’s commitment to sustainability and environmental performance,” Sertich said. “We’re making positive progress on improving our operations and are proud of achieving this award for outstanding performance in the pretreatment of industrial wastewater.”

Representing Whirlpool at the presentation were Ben Armstrong, senior environmental engineer, and Mike Bacon, manufacturing services leader.

While Whirlpool manufactures some sweet cooking products, Mars Chocolate mixes up some sweet confectionaries that are baked up in some giant-sized ovens. Two that are made in the Cleveland plant on Peerless Road are the ever-popular M&Ms and Twix candies.

“Their industrial processes generate wastewater that requires a complex level of pretreatment,” Webb explained. “They are the only industry in the Pretreatment Program to utilize biological treatment.”

He added, “This process is similar to that used by the Cleveland Utilities Wastewater Treatment facility, and enables Mars Chocolate to substantially reduce the amount of conventional parameters prior to discharge into Cleveland Utilities’ collection system.”

Webb said Mars Chocolate operates the largest pretreatment system regulated by CU’s Pretreatment Program.

He listed some of Mars Chocolate’s “outstanding performances,” including:

- Implemented an Environmental Management System;

- Operates a Detailed Standard Operating Procedures and Maintenance Procedures system;

- Conducts effluent pre-testing before discharge; and

- Maintains quarterly monitoring and reporting system.

Like Whirlpool, the Mars Chocolate plant’s performance measures have resulted in no pretreatment violations over the past three years, Webb said.

Attending Thursday’s presentation for Mars Chocolate were David Wilson, utilities manager, and Dennis Burge, wastewater treatment manager with Stover and Associates.

Also on hand for the Whirlpool and Mars Chocolate presentations were Steve Barger and Karen Hall of Cleveland Utilities who work closely with the pretreatment program; and Lisa Pickel, executive director of Cleveland Associated Industries.

In other developments during Thursday’s CU board meeting:

- Jan Runyon of the Administrative Services Division who heads up human resources operations reported CU had completed its United Way campaign. With its smallest workforce in 12 years, CU has raised the most ever for United Way — $52,172. She credited the work of a 15-employee United Way at Work Committee. Within the CU workforce, 75 percent (114 employees) contributed at the Fair Share level; two gave Pillars-level gifts; 17 gave at the Leadership level; and two were 365-Club givers.

“This goes to show the character of our employees at Cleveland Utilities,” Runyon told board members. “They are always trying to give back to the community.”

- Webb announced CU’s annual picnic will be held Thursday, Oct. 22.

- Webb also announced CU’s team finished in second place in the recent River Counties Association of Realtors “Volley for a Cure” Volleyball Tournament.

- Board members approved a new “Dark Fiber” lease with Volunteer Energy Cooperative. “Dark Fiber” refers to a shared use of fiber optics by multiple companies.

- Board members approved a purchase order with WESCO in the contract amount of $137,280 for 1,056 AMI-ready electric meters (Form 2S, Class 200). The purchase order was signed Sept. 4 as an emergency purchase due to CU’s meter inventory becoming too low, because of the long lead times required in meter purchases, and the recent increased demand for meters due to replacements and the surge in apartment construction in CU’s service area. WESCO is the sole authorized distributor for Elster’s AMI electric meters.

- Approved a purchase order with Wavetronix in the amount of $61,963.50 for Wavetronix radar vehicle detection equipment to be installed at the intersection of Stuart Road and Old Tasso Road, and to replace stock inventory.

“The existing vehicle detection system at Stuart and Old Tasso has continuously failed, leading to increased maintenance costs,” Webb said. “CU has been utilizing the Wavetronix detection system as the standard for several years and has seen excellent performance with little or no maintenance required, resulting in cost savings.”

He added, “TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) has approved the use of this equipment in the signalization component on any scheduled projects within the city of Cleveland’s control and maintenance. This is a sole-source purchase.”

- The next Cleveland Board of Public Utilities formal session will be held on Monday, Nov. 2, at noon at the Tom Wheeler Training Center.


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