Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 20, 2013

Working to keep it clean, help profits

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — When Pauls Valley hosts its annual noodling tournament this Saturday one of the many visitors expected will be there to help keep it clean.

That’s the word of an Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality employee who sat in as the guest speaker during a recent Pauls Valley Kiwanis Club meeting.

Dianne Wilkins is an engineer who’s been with the DEQ since its inception back in 1993.

More specifically she’s the manager of a pollution prevention program which primarily works with the business and industry sector in the state.

“One of my staff members is going to help at your noodling thing,” Wilkins said, adding this is a common practice for large festival type events all over Oklahoma.

“We try to help make it a more environmental friendly event.”

Overall the work of Wilkins’ division is to provide assistance to businesses and industry in Oklahoma, especially when it comes to waste management.

“I’ve traveled all over and have been amazed at the little bits of industry happening all over the state,” she said.

“We work to reduce the waste they produce. Waste is a peß¡

The idea here is to train businesses and their employees on doing a better job of managing that waste.

For some businesses the waste problem starts with the amount of product kept on hand. When the levels get too high on a regular basis it can wind up putting a dent in profits and the bottom line.

“Businesses work to build up the inventory they have but that can lead to waste they have to pay to dispose of,” Wilkins said. “First thing you do is look at their waste.

“We provide training on waste management and why it’s important not to just to managers but to everyone at that facility. That’s important to workers all the way down the line.”

Because of the nature of the work, much of the focus is on general manufacturing, namely dry cleaners and printers.

“We train on what environmental regulations apply to them and how they apply,” she said.

When there are problems Wilkins stresses she doesn’t take it to the “regulatory arm” of the DEQ.

Instead, her division’s work is confidential and geared more at helping businesses do it the right way, which she said ultimately helps with profits.

“We strive to give assistance and help them know what the right thing to do is,” Wilkins said.

“We want businesses to be profitable. How can we use the expertise of the DEQ to help businesses be more competitive, be more profitable?”

Wilkins was also part of launching the Oklahoma Star Incentive program, which she said recognizes businesses for not only doing it right but going beyond the level of compliance.

“We try to promote good environmental stewardship.”