St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M’s Brookings, South Dakota facility will receive a “Mayor’s Sustainability Award” from the mayor of that eastern South Dakota city, which is located a little more than 200 miles from the company’s world headquarters in St. Paul.
According to the city’s website, “The Brookings Mayor’s Sustainability Awards recognize excellence in sustainable practices demonstrated by local businesses, organizations, and individuals, while promoting a culture of resiliency.”
3M is receiving the mayor’s “Environmental Resilience” award, geared toward businesses or individuals that “focus on innovative projects that use sustainable practices to enhance environmental infrastructure, conservation or resource management.”
According to the mayor’s proclamation, the Brookings Sustainability Council specifically recognized 3M for a water use reduction strategy it developed. The proclamation quoted from a July 2017 article in the local paper, the Brookings Register:
“To conserve water, 3M employees used innovative thinking to design a closed loop system that could leverage recirculated water at the Brookings site. Historically, the plant utilized a vacuum pump system that required continuous flow of water through the pumps to run production equipment and maintain equipment temperatures. Water cooled the system and maintained a water ring seal to create the vacuum. Water was supplied for a single pass and then sent to the sewer or used to supplement water lost in facility cooling towers. The continuous water usage averaged over 20 million gallons annually.
“With the new system, 3M Brookings decreased annual water consumption for the vacuum system by over 18 million gallons.”
The mayor’s statement notes that Brookings households typically use a little more than 42,000 gallons per year, meaning the 3M facility’s reduction—from about 20 million to about two million gallons a year—freed up enough water to supply 426 homes for a year.
3M’s Brookings facility is focused on the company’s efforts in health care, manufacturing medical, surgical and food safety products.