United States
                         Environmental Protection
                                 Office of the
                                 [Mail Code 1802]
May 2000
                         Project  XL   Communities:
                         Steele   County
Project XL, which stands for "excellence and Leadership," is a national initiative that
tests innovative ways of achieving better and more cost-effective public health and
environmental protection. Project XLC, excellence and Leadership for Communities.
encourages local public sector and community organizations to come forward with new
approaches to demonstrate community-designed and directed strategies for achieving
greater environmental quality consistent with community economic goals. The
information and lessons learned from Project XL and XLC are being used to assist the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in redesigning its current regulatory and
policy-setting approaches. Project XL encourages testing of cleaner,  cheaper, and
smarter ways to attain environmental results superior to those  achieved under current
regulations and policies, in conjunction with greater accountability to stakeholders. It
is vital that each project tests new ideas with the potential for wide application and
broad environmental benefits. As of May 2000, twenty-five pilot experiments are being
implemented and approximately thirty additional projects are in various stages of

The Steele County Project Sponsors, nine small-to-medium sized industrial facilities
located in Owatonna and Blooming Prairie, Minnesota are committing to  reduce the
discharge of four priority metals that flow to the local waste water treatment facilities,
and to implement significant water use reduction controls. The Owatonna County
Sponsors will work to reduce the discharge of the four priority  metals, while the
Blooming Prairie County Sponsors will focus on the Biological Oxygen Demand
(BOD), or organic material in wastewater;  Total Suspended Solids (TSS); and Total
Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN).  The ten sponsors  include:
                          Truth Hardware Corporation
                          Cybex International Inc.
                          Crown Cork and Seal Company Inc.
                          Elf Atochem
                          Josten's Inc.
                                          • SPX Corp. Service Solutions
                                          • Uber Tanning
                                          • Viracon Inc.
                                          •   Wenger  Corporation
The Owatonna Sponsors also plan to minimize storm water runoff at each participating
facility and will work with the local wastewater treatment facility to develop and
distribute to the community educational materials on the importance of minimizing
storm water infiltration into the sewer system. The local wastewater treatment facilities
in Owatonna and Blooming Prairie as well as the State  of Minnesota are active
participants in this project. The Steele County Project, EPA's 24'" Final Project
Agreement, was signed on May 31, 2000.

The project's Sponsors have committed to four key areas of environmental
performance that will enhance  local  environmental  quality:

       •      Reduce the discharge of four metals (Chromium. Copper,  Nickel, and
              Zinc) and three priority effluents (BOD, TSS. TKN)  that flow into the
              local wastewater treatment  facilities;
              Reduce the amount of water flowing  to the local wastewater treatment
              Minimize  the adverse impact of storm water on the local wastewater
              treatment facility by  reducing the runoff from each participating facility
              and developing education materials for the local community; and
              Arrange and participate in training for the development of an ISO
              14000.based Environmental Management System (EMS) for each

To facilitate the achievement of these environmental benefits, EPA has proposed to
modify existing Federal environmental regulations. Specifically for the Owatonna
Wastewater Treatment Facility (OWWTF) and the Owatonna participating sponsors,
EPA has proposed that the OWWTF be given the discretion to: 1) express
concentration-based limits for categorical pretreatment standards as mass-based
limits; 2) implement incentive-based monitoring such that when metal discharge goals
are met the frequency of monitoring may be reduced; 3) eliminate monitoring where a
pollutant is not discharged; and 4) develop an alternative Significant Non-Compliance
(SNC) approach where SNC would be published  on the MPCA website rather than in
the local newspaper. The Blooming Prairie Sponsor  is  not seeking regulatory

Stakeholder involvement is key for a successful XLC project. The Steele County
Sponsors have worked to ensure that those parties with a stake in the project are
informed and  have had an opportunity to fully participate in project development.
Efforts have included:
              Contact with a diverse local and national stakeholder group;
              Holding regularly scheduled public meetings  to inform the  public;
              Requesting coverage of public meetings by the local media;
              Providing  public access to project documents through State, EPA
              Regional and Headquarters offices, as well as via the Internet.
As project implementation  proceeds, outreach to local stakeholders will continue via
the local media and direct contact. National and local stakeholders will also have
adequate access to information to judge the success of the project.

              The effectiveness of an overall community-based approach to
              achieving  superior environmental results.
              Can providing mass-based limits prior to full adoption of water
              conservation practices encourage facilities to incorporate water
              conservation measures into their operations  to a greater extent?
              Will development of an alternative approach  to SNC publication
              enhance a community-based approach to joint problem solving?
EPA Region 5:

EPA  Headquarters:
Project  Sponsors:

State of  Minnesota:
Abeer Hashem
Matthew Gluckman
Dennis Sershen (Owatonna)
Tri Nguyen (Blooming Prairie)
Andrew Ronchak
(202)  260.5355
(507) 444-4481
(507) 583-6641
(651)  296.3107
More information about the Steele County XLC Project, or the Project XL Program, is
available on the Internet at http://www.epa.pov/proiectxl, or via Project XL's
Information Line at 202-260-5754. Information is also available at the Minnesota
Pollution Control Agency's web site —
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