September 19, 2002

Saturn receives pollution prevention award

Spring Hill, Tenn. – The Saturn Spring Hill facility that currently produces VUE compact sport utility vehicles was awarded the MVP2 (Most Valuable Pollution Prevention) award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable for its efforts to improve water quality, conserve energy, reduce waste, improve air quality and address hazardous wastes.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Pollution Prevention Roundtable is a non-profit organization and the largest membership organization in the United States devoted solely to pollution prevention

To achieve this honor, the manufacturing complex was judged on its environmental management system, environmental regulatory compliance, community outreach, and mentoring in pollution prevention.

“We are very proud of GM’s strong commitment to the environment, and this award is a great example of our continued efforts,” said Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president, energy and environment. “In addition, Saturn’s efforts have resulted in waste reduction, which translates to cost savings. This is a definite benefit to the bottom line – one that directly impacts our ability to be competitive in the marketplace.”

The facility saves 21 million gallons of water per year by eliminating the use of city water during the multi-stage paint preparation, and by eliminating one of the wastewater flow streams going to the on-site wastewater pre-treatment plant.

Saturn’s Spring Hill facility worked with paint suppliers to adopt new water-borne paints and coatings with fewer hazardous air pollutants and toxic chemical ingredients, and upgraded its base coat application equipment with improved robots and electrostatic technology. The new technology improves the transfer efficiency to reduce base coat paint usage and has increased the number of surfaces reachable to reduce paint over-spray.

“Saturn more than doubled the amount of basecoat paint ending up on car parts by implementing this electrostatic painting technology, “said Shari Meghreblian, Saturn Environmental Affairs Manager.

The new technology eliminated 146 tons-per-year of air emissions, 455 tons-per-year of hazardous materials and 167 tons-per-year of solid waste for the facility.

Saturn also incorporated a sophisticated electrical and natural gas monitoring system in more than 75 locations throughout the plant to aid energy conservation. In 2001, Saturn saved 29 million-kilowatt hours of electricity and 70,400 MCF of natural gas.

When Saturn’s polymer plastic exterior body panels are not up to specification they are recycled to create GM wheel covers and caps, as well as non-automotive plastic goods. Re-use of the plastic eliminated nearly 300,000 pounds of scrap plastic and reduced the need to manufacture new plastic as raw material.

Details of the Saturn Spring Hill facility’s pollution-prevention achievements are available to the public at

Connect with