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Environmental responsibility nets big dividends for Erie VMF and the Postal Service

At the Erie Vehicle Maintenance Facility there is a lot of money to be saved by being green.


Being an environment steward is not only the right thing to do, but, as the Erie Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF) employees discovered, there’s a lot of money to be saved by being green.
Located in the Lake Erie watershed and staffed by employees who enjoy the outdoors for recreation, the VMF began incorporating environmentally friendly processes into their operations in 1994.
"It was a responsibility we knew we had to wrap our arms around. We all love the outdoors and we knew the impact our operations could have on water quality," said VMF Supervisor Lou Fallon.
As the years passed, more and more environmental processes were added to operations. Today, anti-freeze, waste oil, scrap metal and lead tire weights are recycled.
From left: Lead Technician Jon Johnson, Administrative Clerk Michael Martone, Automotive Technician Bob Biebel, Automotive Technician Kevin Roward and Storeroom Clerk John Orloff.
Even paper hand towels used by mechanics are recycled along with other waste paper, an idea supported by Custodian Greg Gervais.
"Everything has a place and everything in its place," said Lead Mechanic Jon Johnson. This rule is one these VMF employees follow for their tool boxes, equipment and recycling.
In 2005, EPA Region III conducted a random compliance audit at the facility and with the exception of changing the wording on an oil label; they couldn’t find any environmental issues.
Most recently, the site submitted a "No Exposure Certification" to replace the stringent requirements of their storm water permit – something they could only do because they were able to eliminate the risks to storm water on the site. If they are successful in dropping the permit, it will save the Postal Service an additional $10,000 in annual permit costs.
Green in good, and in this case, green means savings for the Postal Service.


About the Author

Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the BostonGlobe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines.

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