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P2 Services LogoPollution Prevention Intern Program

Challenging, hands-on internships  with the Iowa Pollution Prevention Program offer an introduction to project management through assigned projects at top Iowa companies achieving economic and environmental results. Interns apply acquired technical skills to their assigned project to assess a process or a system, identify opportunities, research and recommend alternative options, and implement improvements. An analysis of economic and environmental results is developed for each recommendation.

Common projects address:

Student Perspectives:

John Donahoe

This program gives interns an opportunity to exercise engineering knowledge they have learned in class and practice critical thinking through an environmental and economical lens.
Kimberly Scherber, Iowa State University

Dan Newkirk

A Pollution Prevention Internship is an experience unlike any other with the independence and experience you gain.
Lucas Black, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

  • Lighting retrofits
  • Boiler efficiency
  • Heating, ventilation and cooling efficiency
  • Optimization of a Compressed Air System
  • Motor Efficiency
  • Material Substitutions
  • Resource Recovery and Reuse
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Solid Waste Management Plans
  • Process Improvements

Since the program began in 2001, 166 companies have hosted 292 interns, saving more than 71.7 million dollars by implementing projects that conserve resources and improve processes, with dramatic environmental results. To date, the program has saved more than: 

  • 1.3 billion gallons of water
  • 207,605 tons of solid and special waste
  • 7732 tons of hazardous waste
  • 349.2 million kilowatt hours of energy
  • 8.46 million therms of energy

For more detailed information on recently implemented projects, review the Pollution Prevention Intern Program Case Summaries booklet.

How does the Pollution Prevention Intern Program work?

Iowa businesses, institutions, or agencies submit projects for consideration.

The DNR matches students with specific projects identified by Iowa businesses, institutions, or agencies, based on each student's coursework, academic performance, experience, technical and communication skills.

After one week of training, the intern serves at the host facility, where they analyze the current process, research strategies, calculate cost comparisons and implement improvements. After writing a final report documenting results and recommendations, the intern presents this information to management at the host company and writes a case summary of the project.

Internships begin in May, with 12- or 24-week project opportunities available.

While on-site the intern reports to a company supervisor, who provides daily supervision, company resources, and ensures company support of the project and implementation. Technical advisers with the program provide interns with resources, tools and technical support and guidance throughout their internship.

** Students are not trained in or qualified to assess regulatory compliance issues. **

"This project fully met our needs and occurred at a time when resources were fully committed to other projects. The timing and depth of research could not have been better. This program has been an extremely valuable resource to CNH." Mike Nelson, CNH America, LLC

How do I get started?

Iowa companies, institutions, or governmental agencies with a desire to improve environmental performance, RCRA Large Quantity Generators of hazardous waste, or facilities with annual energy costs of more than one million dollars are eligible to submit an intern project request. Selected companies must sign a uniform program agreement prior to an intern being assigned to the project.

The deadline for companies to submit a request for a 2015 intern is December 1, 2014.

Graduate and upper-level undergraduate students enrolled in engineering disciplines or physical science majors are encouraged to apply. The intern selection process will begin mid-December and continue into the spring until project assignments are finalized.

DNR's Pollution Prevention Services provides interns with salaries and housing stipends.

For more information, contact:
Danielle Dilks

Resources and Information

Intern Case Summaries

total items   6   items x page            
Document DescriptionSize 
p2cs2008.pdf 2008 Intern Case Summaries Booklet7.24 MB
p2cs2009.pdf 2009 Intern Case Summaries Booklet2.91 MB
p2cs2010.pdf 2010 Intern Case Summaries Booklet3.82 MB
p2cs2011.pdf 2011 Intern Case Summaries Booklet4.16 MB
p2cs2012.pdf 2012 Intern Case Summaries Booklet3.06 MB
p2cs2013.pdf 2013 Intern Case Summaries Booklet2.58 MB