Lead won’t be an issue for Eaton’s Cooper Power Systems’ customers in 2020.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored Cooper Power Systems on Tuesday morning for its contribution to lead and chromium source reductions.

The EPA’s toxic release inventory — a resource for learning about toxic chemical releases and pollution prevention activities reported by industrial and federal facilities — indicated that between 2012 and 2018 Eaton’s Cooper Power Systems had reduced their amount of lead waste by 95%, and between 2011 and 2018, the power capacitor manufacturer has experienced a 99.9% reduction in chromium waste from the facility.

“It’s really been a group effort, I’m just the administrator,” said Robert C. Schoenberger, environmental health and safety manager at Eaton’s Cooper Power Systems. “I turn in all the reports, the design team and the production operators following the process makes all the difference.”

Schoneberger announced that in 2020, Eaton’s Cooper Power Systems plans to eliminate lead from all capacitor cover joints.

“It’s good for the world in general, but it should also increase our business because customers are very interested in environmental sustainability as well and we can show ourselves as a leader in the field,” he said.

Mary Walker, EPA’s Region 4 administrator, was pleased to be in Greenwood because the reduction in emissions seen in the county and at Eaton was “very impressive.”

She thought the facility’s plan to go to zero lead releases was significant because “there is no safe level of lead and none of us should be exposed to it.”

Upon looking at the data for Region 4, Walker was proud to see the “incredible work” from manufactures in the Southeast, especially in Greenwood.

“I think that Eaton, and here in Greenwood, y’all are a great example of what can be done and how we’ve made this progress,” she said. “I really just appreciate being here.”

Mayor Brandon Smith, County Manager Toby Chappell and County Councilwoman Melissa Spencer visited Eaton to applaud its staff on its accomplishment.

“It’s just a testament to the folks that we have in our community and the hard work they put in,” Smith said. “To have a group like the EPA come from Atlanta to recognize us is a big deal. We are just proud of all our industry around here, Eaton especially today.”

Contact reporter Jonathan Limehouse at 864-943-5644 or follow him on Twitter @jon_limehouse.