1994 Pollution Prevention Report - Evaluation and Management

Introduction to Prevention, Information Clearinghouse, Information Transfer, University Outreach, and Technical Assistance

VIII. Program Evaluation and Management

Pollution prevention programs at the local, state and federal levels across the nation often are frustrated in their attempts to measure the impacts of their efforts. Like any prevention program, measuring pollution that did not occur is problematic at best. In addition, because so many forces are acting to reduce the amount of waste generated by industry, governments and citizens, such as the increasing costs of disposal and liability as well as a greater understanding of our impacts on the environment, it is difficult to quantify the amounts of avoided pollution that may be attributed to any particular action. Given this scenario, it is necessary to look for other types of program results and feedback for an indication of OPP's performance.

Anecdotal evidence of the program's effectiveness is always helpful, but it is neither comprehensive nor easily quantifiable. Two other types of qualitative feedback in particular have been useful to OPP's evaluation process in the past two years: a survey of program clients and interaction with the program's advisory committee.

A. 1993 Client Survey Summary

In January, 1993, a survey was sent to 127 industry and government representatives, as well as private individuals, who had made inquiries to OPP during 1992 (OPP was then known as the Waste Reduction Assistance Program). Thirty-eight, or 30 percent, of these surveys were returned. In July 1993, an analysis of the responses was compiled as a report entitled, "Waste Reduction Assistance Program Client Survey," which was distributed to interested parties in the Department. The primary conclusions from the survey were:

OPP took action based on these observations almost immediately with the development of its first video, as described in Section III-C. Further steps have been taken since the time of the survey to expand OPP outreach efforts, to increase the utilization and usefulness of program products, and to improve the focus of materials that are developed.

B. Virginia Pollution Prevention Advisory Committee

The pollution prevention legislation adopted by the General Assembly in 1993 authorizes the formation of advisory panels to assist the Department in administering its pollution prevention program. In early 1994, the Department created the Virginia Pollution Prevention Advisory Committee, a 23-member panel that consists of representatives from industry, education, environmental and public interest groups, and local, state and federal government organizations (a membership list is included as Appendix F).

The advisory committee meets on a quarterly basis. Three subcommittees have been formed to concentrate on the following issues:

  1. Resources that are available within Virginia to support pollution prevention initiatives
  2. Resources that are available from the federal government to support pollution prevention initiatives
  3. University- based pollution prevention outreach programs.

The first two subcommittees have been charged with investigating additional funding sources that are available to the Department and other organizations interested in providing pollution prevention technical assistance services within the Commonwealth and at the federal level. To date, a number of potential sources of funding, including DOE and EPA's Environmental Technology Initiative, have been identified. The third subcommittee, which focuses on pollution prevention activities within Virginia's universities, coordinates its activities with the DEQ-University Pollution Prevention Workgroup.

The advisory committee has discussed program directions with OPP staff and the DEQ Director. Presentations from other organizations involved in promoting pollution prevention within Virginia have included: Virginia Power's ConserVision Program; the Institute for Environmental Negotiation and the UVA Darden School's project for small businesses, undertaken with the Management Institute for Environment and Business; update from EPA Region III staff; the Institute for Cooperation in Environmental Management's retired engineer technical assistance project in the Philadelphia area; and the Chesapeake Bay Pollution Prevention Program.

The Advisory Committee has made several suggestions to the Department regarding pollution prevention activities. According to the committee, the Department needs to:

Future efforts planned for the advisory committee include coordinating with other groups that are examining pollution prevention efforts in Virginia, including the State Advisory Board to the Air Pollution Control Board and the Joint Subcommittee Studying Pollution Prevention.

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Last Updated: October 11, 1995