7 Ways Pantex Helps the Environment
The Pantex Wind Farm has allowed the site to consistently exceed DOE goals regarding the use of renewable energy and reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Pantex continues to acquire electronics products that are environmentally sustainable. During FY 2020, Pantex received the EPEAT Purchaser Award for purchasing approximately 95% of monitors, computers, telephones, televisions, and other imaging systems that met the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool criteria established by the Green Electronics Council. Nearly 100% of all computers and monitors save energy by using power management tools. Pantex Sustainable Acquisition also received the DOE Greenbuy award for purchasing eight green products in three different categories.
Recycling to prevent waste
During FY 2020, Pantex recycling efforts resulted in a total 1,265,048 pounds in recycled material. The following quantities (in pounds) of waste shipped to various recycling companies:
- Batteries 73,967
- Cardboard 95,360
- Electronics 22,451
- Lamps 2,857
- Other 140,937
- Paper 48,200
- Plastic 6,720
- Scrap Metal 814,316
- Scrap Tires 29,620
- Used Oil 30,620
Employing renewable energy
The plant continues to use renewable energy-powered equipment such as solar-powered aerators in the wastewater lagoons, solar-powered lights at parking lots, and solar-generated power to emergency notification towers. Since the summer of 2014, the Pantex Renewable Energy Project or “wind farm” has allowed the site to consistently exceed DOE goals for using renewable energy and reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. The wind farm also provides both Pantex and Y-12 with renewable energy credits, which help exceed DOE sustainability goals.
Reducing energy intensity
Pantex has reduced energy intensity by 20% since 2015 primarily through the use of the Pantex wind farm. Energy intensity is the amount of energy used per square foot of plant’s footprint. By 2025, the goal is to reduce energy intensity at Pantex by 30% from the 2015 baseline. Energy savings in projects such as the HVAC Strike Team replacements and security lighting upgrades will further Pantex’s progress in reducing energy consumption.
Conserving water resources
The groundwater remediation program at Pantex focuses on pumping water from the perched aquifer and limiting the amount of recharge back into the perched aquifer. When contaminated water is pumped from the perched aquifer, it is treated to remove contaminants. This treated groundwater is then mixed with treated wastewater from the rest of the plant. Over the last two years, Pantex has renovated a subsurface irrigation system that, under a permit from the State of Texas, allows this treated wastewater to be beneficially reused for crop irrigation. Using the treated wastewater for irrigation increases crop production and reduces the amount of recharge going back into to the perched aquifer. On a typical day, between 900,000 and 1 million gallons of treated wastewater will be used in the subsurface irrigation system.
Following the rules
The State of Texas has issued Pantex an environmental compliance rating of “high,” which is the best rating that is offered by the state. The rating is based on Pantex’s compliance with its permits and authorizations and all of the environmental laws and regulations applicable to its operations. In addition, the state has classified the Pantex water supply and distribution system as “Superior.” This is also the highest rating offered by the state and is based on performing operations that go beyond those required by regulation.
Pantex continues to use digital technology, such as the X-ray machine in the Pantex Occupational Medical Department, to eliminate silver-contaminated film wastes and reduce annual radiography waste. Electronics equipment is dispositioned through certified recyclers, transferred, or donated to other sites and/or educational institutions through various government programs. Accordingly, 99% of electronic equipment was kept out of landfills. In addition, more than 95% of all Pantex printers have duplex printing capabilities to save paper use.