Original Date: 04/22/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Since its inception in 1985, the Best Manufacturing Practices (BMP) Program has solicited and received feedback from its customers the Federal Government and the U.S. industrial base. This dialogue has provided the BMP Program with direction, generated new development, and highlighted the need for more focused efforts. In listening and responding to the needs of American companies and institutions, the BMP Program has provided answers through technology transfer. These answers have resulted from conducting electronic, non-electronic, service industry, and educational surveys; as well as through more concentrated projects as in the 1990 Solderability Guidelines and 1993 Producibility Measurement handbooks.
Consequently, in early 1994 when industry spokesmen, government representatives, and the BMP Program participants discussed the broadening impact of environmental issues, the BMP Program responded by establishing the Environmental Best Manufacturing Practices (EBMP) Program. The charter for this special branch of the BMP Program echoed that of its parent program in determining and disseminating information on environmental best practices in manufacturing and related arenas. In 1995, the EBMP Program concentrated on identifying exemplary programs and practices through quarterly meetings across the United States. These meetings were attended by companies such as Texas Instruments, Rockwell, and Hughes; and government entities such as the Army, Air Force, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The academic institutions were represented by the University of Maryland, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Texas at Austin. Discussions during these meetings highlighted the need for specific, environmentally-focused surveys as the means to provide more information in this increasingly important area. As the result of one of these 1995 quarterly meetings, the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee volunteered to become the EBMP Program's initial environmental survey site.
It is perhaps appropriate for Chattanooga to host the first EBMP Program survey since they have both proceeded down a similar path. Much as the program came to a crossroads in its environmental technology transfer evolution, the City of Chattanooga also reached a critical juncture in its environmentally-influenced economic development. A city with a heavy manufacturing base, Chattanooga was designated in 1969 by the then-U.S. Health, Education and Welfare Department as one of the most polluted cities in the United States. Since that critical turning point, Chattanooga has evolved into a benchmark for environmental improvement with a strong commitment to sustainable development through economic growth. The City's long and sometimes painful journey was acknowledged in 1990 when the EPA recognized Chattanooga for its clean air and in 1995 designated it on Earth Day as America's most improved city.
What makes this turnaround effort so significant and which influenced the EBMP Program survey -- was the concerted effort between government, business organizations, and the community to work together first on individual problems, then as part of a more coherent "vision" for Chattanooga's future. What became apparent during the late 1960s to early 1980s was that the citizens wanted not just change, but continuously maintainable development so that protection of the environment incorporated economic growth and quality of life for all of Chattanooga. This evolutionary initiative, begun in the late 1960s, became an infusive vision manifested in several programs such as the Chattanooga Venture, the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, the Greenway initiative, Riverpark, and the Electric Bus program.
Chattanooga, Tennessee is located at the juncture of the states of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama and is surrounded by the southern Appalachian mountains and Cumberland Plateau. Nestled in the heart of the Tennessee River Valley, Chattanooga is home to more than 152,000 people and is part of Hamilton County that supports a population in excess of 285,000. The City's economic base includes a diverse group of businesses including Coca-Cola, Moon Pies, Brock Candies, Olan Mills, Provident Insurance, Dixie Yarns, and numerous heavy industry representatives.
Over the last 27 years, Chattanooga has undergone substantial changes with strong support from public/private campaigns. Government, business, and civic leaders provided the basis for new community-enhancement programs through the Chattanooga Venture, a not-for-profit organization designed to facilitate the community's involvement in the City's future. This tool has not only helped citizens address the important strategic issues for the community's vitality, but also acted as a catalyst for change. The Chattanooga Venture served as an incubator for major improvement programs such as Vision 2000, the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, and the RiverCity Company before they migrated to the community.
Vision 2000 marked the turning point for the community by soliciting input from the citizens on where they wanted to see Chattanooga's future go. More than 1,700 people participated in open meetings, bringing to the City's leaders' attention those issues that were critical to the growth and quality of life for all who called the City home. These 40 goals translated into projects to address family violence, renovation of a local theater, the opportunity for all to have decent and affordable housing, and cleanup of the downtown riverfront area. This highly successful grass-roots input from community citizens is a benchmark for other communities that want to develop a comprehensive process that is supported by decisive citizens.
In support of one Vision 2000 goal, the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise was organized as a non-profit association between city, federal, state and local institutions to develop, finance, and renovate affordable housing for low-to-moderate income citizens. The community had identified the deteriorating condition of older, inner-city homes as a significant concern and a major obstacle to the quality of life. As a result, the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise went to the top of the City's agenda for immediate address. Consequently, more than 3,000 units have been produced or rehabilitated.
Chattanoogans also evaluated the assets deserted by factories and foundries along the Tennessee River and developed a "Greenway" path along the riverfront, creeks, and scenic corridors. A physical and spiritual reconnection to the Tennessee River that runs through downtown Chattanooga was fundamental for the City's inhabitants. Vital to the overall spirit of the city, the riverfront also represented major economic possibilities. Many programs and improvements were implemented including revitalization of buildings into shopping areas and theaters, construction of the world's largest freshwater aquarium, salvage and renovation of an historic bridge for pedestrian use, construction of a highly-popular riverwalk, and development of one of the nation's premier electric bus lines. These projects have produced enormous financial rewards and strengthened an esprit de corps among the population that has propelled Chattanooga into the national and international spotlight.
What began as a response to overwhelming problems has evolved into a highly successful, interrelated series of programs and projects for Chattanooga. Building on what matters to its citizens -- the environment, quality of life, and sustainable growth -- the City continues to canvass, analyze, and incorporate goals and objectives to ensure that it stays a model, environmentally-supportable city that listens and cares not just about the environment, but about the generations of Chattanoogans who will inherit it.
Similarly, the BMP Program continues to "ask the users" what they need and how the BMP and now its Environmental program can provide information for the U.S. industrial base to remain globally competitive and environmentally attuned. The BMP Program is proud to have the City of Chattanooga as its first EBMP Program survey site. This community's efforts echo the BMP Program’s mission by providing an exceptional example of government, industry, and people working together to improve the reliability of goods while enhancing the quality of life.
TABLE OF ACRONYMS:
The following acronyms were used in this report:
|BHC|| ||Better Housing Commission|
|BMP|| ||Best Manufacturing Practices|
|CC|| ||Clear Choice|
|CHRB|| ||Community Housing Resource Board|
|CMA|| ||Chattanooga Manufacturers' Association|
|CNE|| ||Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise|
|EBMP|| ||Environmental Best Manufacturing Practices|
|ESP|| ||Economy Surplus Power|
|GPD|| ||Gallons Per Day|
|NPDES|| ||National Pollution Discharge Elimination System|
|POTW|| ||Publicly Operated Treatment Works|
|SCBC|| ||Scenic Cities Beautiful Commission|
|TVA|| ||Tennessee Valley Authority|
|VOC|| ||Volatile Organic Compound|
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.