WASHINGTON - Several government fleets were among 41 recipients recently recognized by the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities for their efforts in reducing and/or recycling hazardous chemicals in their organization.
The City of Oxnard, Calif.; the City of Reno, Nev.; and Cobb County (Ga.) Fleet Management have successfully eliminated the use of lead in their fleet operations.
City of Oxnard. The City of Oxnard eliminated the use of lead wheel weights in favor of steel weights, at a rate of approximately 260 lbs. of replacement lead weights annually. Additionally, the City has eliminated pollution from its vehicle fleet caused by lead weights falling off vehicles while in use, which would add lead to the road and highway environment.
City of Reno. The City of Reno eliminated 400 lbs. of lead wheel weights from the public works fleet by the end of January 2009. The increased cost of the weights is about 50 percent, but since labor comprises 90 percent of the wheel-balancing expense, the increase is minimal, according to the City. As the steel weights become more readily available, the overall cost is expected to drop. At the same time, health care issues related to lead exposure to employees and the environment will be greatly improved.
Cobb County Fleet Management. Cobb County Fleet Management successfully met its challenge to convert and recycle 2,500 lbs. of lead wheel weights, eliminating a potential toxic pollutant from posing a risk to human health and the environment. The process of changing from lead to steel for the entire Cobb County fleet occurred over a nine-month period.