Pollution Prevention

An Environmental Program Fact Sheet


What Is It?

Pollution prevention means taking action to reduce the use of toxics and other potentially harmful materials at the beginning of a process or operation. Examples of pollution prevention practices include: the substitution of less hazardous, less toxic cleaning agents; employee and management training in environmental best management practices; and product redesign and process modification to reduce the amount or toxicity of raw materials and/or conserve energy and other resources.

Pollution prevention can eliminate the necessity of applying for certain permits, thereby reducing your regulatory burden. Savings may be achieved by implementing pollution prevention practices.

How Do I Begin?

Evaluate product design and the production process to identify pollution prevention opportunities which will improve energy efficiency, minimize raw material consumption, and reduce or eliminate pollution to the air, water and land.

You may wish to speak with Department staff to identify pollution prevention opportunities. Contact the Department's pollution prevention coordinator if you have any questions.

The Law

The Federal Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 established pollution prevention as the public policy of the United States. The Federal Act declares that pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source wherever feasible, while pollution that cannot be prevented should be recycled in an environmentally safe manner. In the absence of feasible prevention or recycling opportunities, pollution by-products should be treated. Disposal or other releases into the environment should be used only as a last resort and should be conducted in an environmentally safe manner.

Pollution prevention has also been established as the public policy of the State of Connecticut through Section 32-23pp of the Connecticut General Statutes, which states: "It shall be the policy of the state to encourage the practice of pollution prevention and remediation activities, thereby reducing risks to the environment and the health of workers and consumers. As used in this section, pollution prevention includes the change or use of production processes, practices, raw materials or products that reduce or eliminate the generation of by-products without creating new risks of concern or that protect natural resources through their conservation."

Department Policy

It is the intent of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to institutionalize the use of pollution prevention in all agency programs as the preferred management approach for protecting public health and the environment. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection issued a statement declaring that pollution prevention will guide the Department's efforts to carry out the mission of protecting and enhancing public health and the environment. The Office of Planning and Program Development and the Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance have been designated the leads within the Department and have been charged with implementing pollution prevention as the priority of the agency through public education, industry assistance, and staff development.


The permitting process provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to consider pollution prevention. It is important to remember that pollution prevention works by thinking through your process from start to finish and looking for ways to reduce toxics, materials, and waste.

As owner or operator of a facility, you are encouraged to take into account the following hierarchy of pollution prevention strategies in preventing or controlling pollution:

First, modify the process, raw materials or product to reduce the toxicity and quantity of by-products released to air, water, and land;

Second, where feasible, capture and reuse energy, waste, and by-products;

Third, treat individual waste streams to reduce the toxicity and/or quantity of by-products released; and

Finally, provide the final treatment and/or disposal of all remaining wastes necessary to meet all applicable standards.

Contact Information

Pollution Prevention Coordinator
Office of Pollution Prevention
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT  06106-5127

This overview is designed to answer general questions and provide basic information. You should refer to the appropriate statutes and regulations for the specific regulatory language of the different permit programs. This document should not be relied upon to determine whether or not an environmental permit is required. It is your responsibility to obtain and comply with all required permits.

Fact Sheet: DEP-FS-008

Users Guide to Environmental Permits

Content Last Updated February 2013