Grant boosts N.H. colleges’ enviro health efforts

Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire have received funding from the Davis Educational Foundation to support a cooperative network of colleges and universities aimed at meeting environmental health and safety requirements at the local, state, and federal levels.

The network, called The New Hampshire College and University Compliance Assistance Cooperative (NHC3UA), includes the 16 organizations that make up the New Hampshire College and University Council.

“UNH and Dartmouth have been sharing resources successfully for more than six years, and with support from the Davis Educational Foundation, we can now expand our efforts,” said Michael Blayney, director of environmental health and safety at Dartmouth. “By reaching out to other colleges and universities, we can broaden our effectiveness in addressing environmental protection, sustainability, and resource conservation on our campuses.”

The three-year grant of more than $100,000 will support a program of conducting audits at each institution to identify the requirements needed for achieving regulatory compliance with the N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The grant also will support the development of a password-protected Web site for sharing and the hiring of a student intern to collect information as well as assist in the environmental audits at each school.

“For more than a decade, colleges and universities in New England have faced increased scrutiny by the EPA and other state and local environmental agencies for compliance with air, water and hazardous waste regulations,” said Bradford Manning, director of environmental health and safety at UNH. “We anticipate that collaborative efforts like this will result in substantial cost savings for the institutions by avoiding large fines or the necessity of hiring individual consultants to provide legal or technical assistance.”

Blayney said that the long-term goal of the NHC3UA is to develop a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS) for all the colleges and universities throughout New Hampshire. With this, each institution could use the EMS as a model and refine it for their individual campuses.

Key elements of the EMS would include hazardous materials source reduction and substitution, emergency planning, transportation demand management, sustainable purchasing guidelines and strategies, environmental compliance, food safety and integrated solid waste management.

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