University of Hawaii Supplemental Environmental Projects


This project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action taken by the United States and the State of Hawaii alleging violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. As part of the Consent Decree settlement, the University of Hawaii (UH) undertook extensive injunctive relief, paid a civil penalty of $505,000 (divided between the United States and the State), and performed a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and Hawaii State Dept. of Health. The SEP is intended to secure significant environmental and/or public health benefits. Under the SEP, UH identified and implemented a total of seven pollution prevention and/or waste minimization projects on its campuses from 2001 – 2004. As required by the Consent Decree, the University has spent over $1.2 million on the implementation of the SEP.


SEP 001: Developing Microassays and Alternative Laboratory Procedures to Minimize Hazardous Waste Generation

Participants: UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources (CTAHR), Human Nutrition Food Animal Sciences (HNFAS), PI: Michael Dunn

This project significantly minimizes the generation of hazardous waste produced during the day-to-day operations of the laboratory by downsizing current assays to a micro-scale and, when possible, converting to alternative procedures that eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals. The environmental and public health benefits derived from successful implementation of this SEP include reduced quantities of hazardous chemicals being used and stored in the lab, reduced handling and exposure by laboratory staff, and reduced generation of waste for disposal.


SEP 002: Laser Touch/STAR Training for University of Hawaii Auto Body Repair & Painting Programs

Participants: Auto Body Repair & Painting Programs of HCC, MCC, HawCC, and KauaiCC

This project provided training and equipment to auto body programs to promote pollution preventive spraying techniques to current and future auto body industry professionals. The project served to: 1) reduce hazardous material consumption and pollution outputs by improving the efficiency of manual spray coating operations; and 2) educate auto body instructors, students, and professionals to ultimately transfer these good operating practices out into the industry and community. By implementing more efficient spray coating processes, hazardous material consumption and waste generation have been reduced.


SEP 003: Mercury-Containing Equipment Exchange Program

Participants: UH System-wide

This project was implemented to conduct a Mercury Exchange Program throughout the UH system to eliminate the use of mercury-containing equipment. The University collected and exchanged mercury equipment with equivalent non-mercury alternatives. The program exchanged approximately 1,250 thermometers and 75 pieces of mercury-containing equipment, including thermometers, manometers, barometers, and diffusion pumps.


SEP 004 & 005: Conversion of Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Curriculum to Microscale Experimentation for UH Manoa, UH Community Colleges and UH Hilo

Participants: Chemistry Departments of UH Manoa, UH Hilo, WCC, HawCC, Kauai CC

To minimize the hazards, expense, and chemical waste of the organic chemistry laboratory, UH implemented this SEP to convert to microscale or small-scale chemistry (SSC) experiments. Traditionally, organic chemistry experiments have been carried out on the macro-scale level, using volumes of organic reagent and solvents typically ranging from 25-100 milliliters. Carrying out the same experiments using microscale techniques generally use one-tenth of the volume of reagents and solvents.

The successful implementation of this SEP has reduced the amount of chemicals and hazardous materials required to conduct the undergraduate organic chemistry lab experiments, as well as the quantity of waste generated from the experiments.


SEP 009: Use of Digital Photographic Equipment to Replace Darkrooms

Participants: UH Manoa, Botany Department and CTAHR (TPSS)

The participating departments of this SEP were utilizing standard photographic processing techniques that generated spent fixer and developer wastes. By converting from “wet chemistry” processing of photographic film to the use of digital equipment to produce images and photomicrographs of cells, this project eliminated the generation of photo-processing wastes in the participating departments at UH-Manoa.


SEP 010: Honolulu Community College Print Shop Conversion to Digital Printing System

Participants: Honolulu Community College, Print Shop

The HCC Print Shop provides a wide range of printing and duplicating services for the University. HCC Print Shop previously employed the use of analog lithographic printing techniques which utilized a large amount of supplies and chemicals and generated significant quantities of wastes. The goal of this project was to eliminate the Print Shop’s generation of traditional lithographic print shop processing wastes by converting to a complete digital printing system.

The implementation of this project required a substantial equipment change. All of the offset presses, darkroom cameras, film processors, and associated supplies and equipment required for the lithographic printing production processes were replaced by a Xerox high-speed digital printing system.

The successful implementation of this SEP has resulted in the environmental and public health benefits of eliminating virtually all HCC Print Shop hazardous wastes, which consisted of ink, water, solvents, heavy metals, acids, alcohols, gum arabic, VOCs, and over 15 gallons of developer and 15 gallons of fixer per week. Eliminating the use of chemicals and hazardous materials also provides a cleaner air quality and a safer working environment for staff and students in the HCC Print Shop and reduces liability for environmental contamination.


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Last Updated 22 June 2005