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Give a hoot! Rocket City recognizes companies at Air Pollution Control awards 

HUNTSVILLE – An environmentally aware bird in the 1970s named Woodsy Owl famously urged Americans to “Give a hoot! Don’t pollute.’’

Another raptor of the same family, Mr. Owl once did some hands-on research to find out how many licks it took to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. The answer turned out to be three, but that’s another story.

In true Woodsy spirit, Huntsville’s Air Pollution Control Board has been recognizing local companies for their voluntary efforts to keep the Rocket City’s skies clean since 1997. Only those institutional and commercial facilities that go beyond regulatory requirements for reducing and controlling air pollutant emissions are eligible.

At the Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards ceremony at city hall, Mayor Tommy Battle and the Department of Natural Resources recognized Sanmina, Vulcan Materials and Wiregrass Construction for their exemplary work in setting a high bar in pollution control and prevention.

“Huntsville is an attainment city, meaning we meet the Clean Air Act’s highest standards for air quality,” Battle said. “We need the commitment of our industrial and community members to retain this non-negotiable goal. Maintaining a healthy, clean and sustainable environment is important, and we commend and applaud those who support us in this mission.”

These companies encompass awards given from 2020-23. Award ceremonies for previous winners were derailed by the pandemic.

  • Sanmina manufactures electronic products for the defense and medical equipment industries at its plant on South Memorial Parkway. Sanmina completed a boiler upgrade project at the end of 2020 in which three natural gas-fired boilers were replaced with two smaller, more efficient, natural gas-fired boilers. Sanmina also received Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards in 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2016). 
  • Vulcan Materials operates a limestone quarry and associated stone crushing and sizing process equipment on Stringfield Road. In 2021, the facility initiated a project to reduce rock dust and dirt tracking from vehicles leaving the plant. Vulcan also replaced diesel equipment with newer, more efficient models and installed dust boxes and water spray systems along a rock crusher conveyor system. Vulcan Materials also received Air Pollution Control Achievement Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2018.  
  • Wiregrass Construction operates an asphalt production facility on Stringfield Road. The facility upgraded the stack exhaust dust filtration system and switched fuels in the main process burner from used oil to natural gas – reducing emissions of combustion-related pollutants. This is the company’s first Air Pollution Control Achievement Award. 

“Today’s awardees have had a positive impact on air quality in Huntsville and the surrounding areas,” said Darlene Elliott, the city’s director of Natural Resources.


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