A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust

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Dave Heineman, Governor

Board of Trustees

District I
District II
District III

Agency Directors

Trust Staff

 

October 2011

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Advancing Responsible Chemical Management in Nebraska
  3. Local Pharmacy Medication Disposal – A Prescription for Public Health
  4. Upcoming Events
  5. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on YouTube

 

Executive Director Corner

We are busy getting ready for the next board meeting that will take place on November 8th here at the Ferguson House at 1:30 and we will hold our first grant committee meeting that same day.  We will begin reviewing the 93 new grants we have before us.

We are also in the process of hiring a new Grants Assistant, since Tina has moved away from Lincoln with her family.  Hopefully we can get a quality candidate hired in the next few weeks and get them trained and ready to assist our grantees. 

The Huskers struggled with Wisconsin and I hope the football team continues to get better as the season progresses.  I have to admit that I didn’t have much hope in the third quarter when we were down by 21 points to Ohio State, but Bo’s boys showed some real fortitude to come back and win that game.  I’m sure we’ll miss Jared Crick, but I think he has been playing with some injury issues and may never have been 100% this season.  I wish him all the luck in his recovery and eventually the NFL draft next year.  The volleyball team showed some weaknesses early, but they have also showed their fortitude in recent matches against some good Big 10 competitors.  My hometown football team (South Loup) was 6-0 until last week when they were handed their first loss by Garden County.  I hope your football and volleyball high school teams are doing well.

Get ready for the cooler weather and have a safe harvest!

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director

 

Advancing Responsible Chemical Management in Nebraska Schools by Jane Polson, Keep Nebraska Beautiful

Visit any school in the United States or Nebraska, and the odds are good that you will find rooms that contain bottles, boxes, bags, and buckets holding hazardous chemicals. In many schools, most of the chemical containers have not been opened for years. Few school staff, teachers or administrators have even a rudimentary understanding of hazardous waste regulations, or safe chemical storage, handling and disposal practices.

chemical

Chemicals stored at a high school

Most schools are inadequately prepared to properly dispose of hazardous waste they generate.  They are even less prepared to decide which chemicals sitting on shelves and in cupboards are no longer needed.  There is a pressing need for state and local agencies to step in and work with schools to help them through the process of getting no-longer-needed hazardous chemicals out of their schools in an environmentally sound manner.

Keep Nebraska Beautiful (KNB) and the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) have stepped in with support to aid the advancement of responsible chemical management.  Schools often need chemical management training as well as financial assistance to help ensure the safety of their students, staff and the community.  Much work has been done through the Nebraska School Chemical Cleanout Campaign (NESC3) to that end. The ultimate goal of the NESC3 is to get dangerous and unneeded chemicals out of Nebraska schools in a safe and environmentally appropriate manner and to make proper chemical management self-sufficient and sustainable in all schools.

The NESC3 originated in September 2007 when U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded Nebraska with a $150,000 grant to build a program to address chemical risks in schools.  Nebraska was the only state selected from more than thirty applicants to receive this grant. Keep Nebraska Beautiful, in partnership with numerous state agencies and organizations, has championed the development and implementation of the Nebraska School Chemical Cleanout Campaign.

Since September 2007, the following program highlights have been accomplished:

  • One-hundred and eighty-eight (188) high schools have participated in a chemical cleanout campaign.
  • Twenty-six (26) schools from Educational Service Units 4, 5 and 6 are being funded for cleanouts by the Nebraska Environmental Trust during 2012.
  • Every public high school has had the opportunity to participate in a grant funded cleanout.
  • Governor Heineman signed a Proclamation endorsing the Nebraska School Chemical Cleanout Campaign.
  • Lieutenant Governor Rich Sheehy, Nebraska Commissioner of Education, Roger Breed and Nebraska Athletic Director, Tom Osborne performed Public Service Announcements to raise awareness in Nebraska of the potential risks from mismanaged chemicals and prevent future mismanagement of chemicals.
  • Joint Letter of Support was signed by the three executive directors of Nebraska’s major school associations.
  • Legislative Resolution 373 was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on the 18th day of March 2010.  Legislature Resolution 373 resolved:

    That the Legislature supports the Nebraska School Chemical Cleanout Campaign.

    That the Legislature encourages Nebraska Schools to adopt and perform  responsible chemical management and build a school chemical cleanout campaign for the safety of students and school

The chemical cleanouts from 188 schools have resulted in the following:

  • 11,987 chemicals removed
  • 10,624 pounds of chemicals removed
  • 1,145 pounds of mercury removed
  • 8,316 pounds of high hazardous chemicals removed
  • 34 schools had radioactive materials removed
  • 72 schools had potentially explosive chemicals removed
  • Two schools had Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) materials removed

This action was a cost-savings of $7,500.00 per school.

Other highlights of the Nebraska School Chemical Cleanout Campaign:

  • Received Nebraska Environmental Trust grant award of $108,024 to implement hazardous waste disposal from Nebraska schools.  
  • Designed a new NESC3 website www.NebraskaSC3.org where training materials and numerous resources are provided to assist schools in achieving sustainability and self-sufficiency.
  • Developed NESC3 Recognition Program to recognize those schools that advance chemical management in their school to achieve sustainability and self-sufficiency.  

 

Local Pharmacy Medication Disposal – A Prescription for Public Health by Daniel N. King, Primary Author/Grant Manager,
Nebraska MEDS Coalition

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Many stakeholder groups and local residents have an interest in the proper disposal of unused or unwanted medications, since improperly disposed pharmaceuticals can be harmful to the natural environment and public health.

As a member of the the Nebraska MEDS (Medication Education for Disposal Strategies) Coalition, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) is utilizing a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant to coordinate a pilot project in Lincoln and Lancaster County to help consumers properly dispose of their medications.

The LLCHD and the Nebraska MEDS Coalition have spent the last several months researching similar programs from around the country including an existing and on-the-ground medication disposal project in Iowa known as Iowa Take Away, http://iarx.org/takeaway/. That medication disposal program and the Nebraska MEDS pilot project match collection efforts with those who know pharmaceuticals best: pharmacies and pharmacists.

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Still months away from the formal launch date, the Nebraska MEDS Coalition has hired a project coordinator to oversee the effort and is working through challenging questions surrounding the collection of controlled versus non-controlled medications. Two planned outcomes of the effort include 1) creation of an educational kit for pharmacists and pharmacies, detailing safe and legal practices for the management of their customers’ unwanted medications, and 2) a valuable qualitative and quantitative data set, which will support future statewide efforts to better manage pharmaceutical waste.

Upcoming Events

- November 8, 2011 - 4th Quarter Board Meeting and Grants Committee Meeting, Ferguson House.

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