U.S. EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks speaks at an ARCHS' hosted forumThe name United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is synonymous with promoting clean and healthy communities. The name ARCHS is synonymous with building partnerships for the greater good of St. Louis.

Therefore, in 2007 when the EPA awarded ARCHS with a $100,000 grant to help area residents and small business owners learn how to safely dispose of hazardous waste items, ARCHS' St. Louis Area Communities Against Toxics Partnership (SLACAT) was born.

"(I take seriously) the agency's duty to make sure our work serves the legitimate needs of every American," said EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks in a letter to ARCHS. "The natural environment on which we all depend for life itself deserves everyone's respect. By the same token, as all must care, so all must see that their efforts on behalf on the environment are respected, welcomed and encouraged."

ARCHS' partnering organizations added an additional $100,000 in expertise and services. ARCHS served as the grant's fiscal agent and managing partner.

The partnership addresses air and water quality, lead and indoor mold issues to reduce risk exposure. The grant promotes local problem solving initiatives that can be replicated across the country.

When the grant was awarded, SLACAT planned to collect three tons of household hazardous waste over the three-year period. After all was said and done, not only did the partnership collect 8.3 tons of waste, but it also distributed 3,000 "Go Green Tool Kits."

The EPA's OEJ's Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement program requires selected applicants, or recipients, to use the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Model as part of their projects. The model assists affected communities in developing proactive, strategic and visionary approaches to address their environmental justice issues and to achieve community health and sustainability.

"Good luck with ARCHS' continuing work on behalf of St. Louis' people and their aspirations," Brooks said in the letter.