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Earth Day is every day

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Earth Day is every day for TxDOT employees and contractors

 

Roofing material scraps, old tires, worn asphalt, animal waste from dairy farms - all garbage that

could pollute Texas water sources or clog landfills for decades to come. Also, all items the Texas

Department of Transportation relies upon to cut costs and keep Texas highways safe and

beautiful.

 

With an agency goal of improving air quality and a desire to reduce waste and improve efficiency,

TxDOT and their contractors have to get creative. TxDOT is one of the state’s leading consumers

of recycled goods.

 

“Using recycled or reclaimed materials is essential to our highway construction and rehabilitation

efforts, and we also contribute scrap materials to the recycling process,” said TxDOT General

Services Division Director Scott Burford, who oversees department recycling efforts.

 

“In fiscal year 2009, TxDOT used more than 2.8 million tons of reclaimed asphalt and the equivalent of about

780,000 tires of scrap rubber in highway projects throughout Texas. In addition, TxDOT employees recycled nearly 2,000 tons of scrap metal and over 500 tons of scrap paper.”

 

Improving air quality through the use of alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles is another way TxDOT is

protecting the environment. The department operates a fleet of more than 3,300 alternative fuel

and hybrid vehicles, and offers an annual clean air incentive program for department staff,encouraging activities like using public transit, carpooling and brown-bagging a lunch to further reduce emissions.

 

“We’re not all talk,” said Dianna Noble, head of TxDOT’s environmental affairs division, which

oversees the “Drive Clean Across Texas” public awareness campaign.

 

“TxDOT staff and contractors have actively sought out ways to mitigate environmental impact, from testing

permeable asphalt that may act as a filter for storm water runoff to maintaining nearly 10,000 acres

of wetland preservation area.”

 

Committed to improving the environment and in 2009, was honored by the Texas

Commission on Environmental Quality with an Environmental Excellence Award for the

department’s commitment to a cleaner future for Texas TxDOT strives on helping the environment.

 

•In 2009, more than 3,700 TxDOT employees voluntarily participated in the agency’s Clean

Air Plan, reducing toxic emissions by 34.5 tons, avoiding 5.3 million miles traveled and

saving 270,000 gallons of fuel.

 

•Since FY 2006, TxDOT has reclaimed and reused about 15 million tons of roadway

material, saving space in landfills and reducing the environmental impact of new roadway

material production and transport.

 

•The Compost Program recycles organic materials that would otherwise be landfilled or

wash into the watershed by using compost to reduce erosion and promote healthy

vegetation in TxDOT right of way. For example, for over 125 years, manure from dairy

farms in Bosque County ran off farmland and into the Bosque River upstream from the city

of Waco. Using compost from these dairies, TxDOT reduced this source of pollution and

greatly improved Waco’s drinking water.

 

•TxDOT's on-road fleet is in the forefront of clean air efforts through the acquisition of 3,334

vehicles capable of using either compressed natural gas or propane. The department is

also replacing aging vehicles with low-emission hybrid vehicles. There is an estimated 12-

ton reduction of CO2 over the eight-year life of a single hybrid.

•Using alternative fuels, TxDOT has saved over 52 million gallons of gas since 1993. The

use of low emission diesel reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide by approximately 52 tons

Sept. 2003 – March 2005.

 

•The Wetlands Banking Program preserves 9,137 acres. This program is usually more cost

effective than on-site, piece-meal mitigation and better for the environment. Since each

bank is an unbroken area, the native wildlife and plant species remain healthier than the

inbred species which are isolated in smaller, disconnected wetlands. Each of the three

banks serves as an outdoor classroom for physical science students and retreat for hikers

and birdwatchers.

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•TxDOT buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed annually and delays

mowing until after the spring/early summer growing season.


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