Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards
Augusta County Regional EMS Program
Summary of Program (100 words)
Through regional environmental management and meeting E3 Certification requirements, we have established EMS at each facility to manage environmental risks and go beyond legal requirements to reduce pollution.
· identifying where SPCC Plans are needed and working to complete and implement them;
· recycling of fluorescent/UV bulb/ballasts; office waste (paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum), used oil and antifreeze, scrap metal, tires, e-waste, etc.;
· decision making including environmental impact considerations;
· properly label and store hazardous and non-hazardous materials;
· installed secondary containment at various facilities; and
· a 25% reduction in the fuel consumption rate has been accomplished by Service Authority employees.
Brief description of the Primary Function and Activities of the Partnership
In 2002, a regional partnership was formed between three entities: County Government, the Public Schools, and the Service Authority. These entities are governed by three separate Boards.
The primary function of the partnership is to reduce our environmental risks, meet and exceed regulations, strive to be good stewards of the environment, and set an example for others to follow.
Our activities include developing Environmental Management System (EMS) programs to DEQ’s VEEP and E3 Certification requirements, using ISO14001 as a guide.
Our activities continue by having an Environmental Manager who represents all three entities and EMS team leaders from the entities to manage the regional program. This Team carries out EMS responsibilities such as establishing standard operating procedures, objectives, targets, auditing, training, and emergency management to maintain and go beyond compliance with State, Federal, and local regulations.
Augusta County’s Regional Program is proud to have the following VEEP E3 Certified facilities:
· Augusta County Government Center Complex – Augusta County administrative offices building, Social Services building (consisting of Social Services, Child Support Enforcement, and USDA), the Extension Office building, and the Fire/Rescue training classrooms – which were E3 Certified in 2004 as the Maintenance Centers, and re-Certified in 2007 as the Government Center Complex.
· Augusta County Public High Schools – Operation and student education of five high schools, E3 Certified in 2007.
· Augusta County Vehicle Service Centers – Vehicle maintenance garages for the Public School’s Bus Garage and the Service Authority’s Shop, E3 Certified in 2004.
· Augusta County Service Authority Wastewater Treatment Plants – All ten sewage treatment facilities within the County were E3 Certified in 2005
The facilities within the regional program have benefitted from using EMS as a management tool to reach quantifiable benefits as well as operational benefits. Thus far, it is estimated the following quantifiable benefits have been reached:
· 10,322 tons of recyclables have been recycled since the EMS program began. This includes used oil, antifreeze, UV/fluorescent lights, ballasts, scrap metal, paper and aluminum.
An oil furnace was installed by the Bus Garage, which will allow used oil to be recycled on site. Approximately 2,000 gallons will be recycled through the furnace per year. This will further produce a cost savings from the previous heating system and electricity used. This is the first winter the furnace is being used. Savings will be identified at the end of the season.
The operational benefits far outweigh quantifiable benefits. Prior to the EMS program at any facility, environmental risks were haphazardly being addressed, and facilities were not trying to consciously go beyond compliance. The following is a list of operational benefits that have been achieved through the EMS Program:
· Has made all employees aware of the need to protect the environment.
· Allowed us to learn State and Federal regulations that must be met and to establish methods to stay abreast of changes.
· Allowed us to establish written standard operating procedures (SOPs) for employees to follow so that we meet regulations at a minimum.
· Allowed us to develop written objectives and targets/goals, who is responsible, and when the goal may be reached.
· Allowed us to monitor status and achievement of meeting targets.
· Compliance audits are conducted of the facility to insure legal requirements are met, as well as objectives and targets.
· Establish corrective and preventive actions where facilities are not meeting objectives, targets, or regulations so that they do not occur again.
· Complete environmental awareness training and direct training on aspects and emergency preparedness.
· Management review (including executive management) of all three entities which review the program annually to insure facilities, EMS Team and the Environmental Manager are meeting requirements.
· The program is internally audited to insure the program is successful and meets DEQ VEEP requirements.
· Record keeping has been established where there was none prior to the EMS.
The EMS program is maintained by annually reviewing each facility’s objectives, targets, SOPs, legal requirements, etc. The program is measured on its success by meeting requirements, exceeding requirements, and continuing to increase environmental awareness and stewardship.
Other accomplishments include:
· Establishment of SPCC Plans
· Establishment of labeled storage containers that are in good condition, along with secondary containment.
· Replacement of doors, windows, and air conditioning units
· Reduction in electricity use
· Establishment of new or better recycling programs
· Better management of school chemical labs
· Reduced vehicle usage
· Proper handling of hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals
· Increased operational efficiency
· Improved communication
· greater employee stewardship
· shared environmental solutions
The Environmental Management System process is used as a management tool to define environmental requirements, standard operating procedures, training needs, and how to respond to emergencies. This management tool is used by all employees and meets all legal requirements. This also enables employees to go beyond the requirements. The ISO14001 elements that are met include: environmental policy, aspects identification, objectives, targets, operational control (SOPs), monitoring and measurement, nonconformity, corrective and preventive actions, training and awareness, compliance auditing, and emergency preparedness and response.
The regional EMS Team members and Program Manager use ISO14001 elements, as well as the EMS process, to meet environmental excellence. In addition to the above elements used by all facility employees, the Team utilizes the following: resources and roles/responsibility, management review, legal review, communication, documentation, control of records, and internal auditing of the regional EMS program.
Although there are seventeen facilities individually E3 Certified for our management purposes, there are four EMS programs. Program documents are written in a way that all EMS management procedures are shared by all facilities.
The Government Complex, Public High Schools, Vehicle Service Centers, and Wastewater Treatment facilities all have aspect management documents. These management documents establish objectives, targets, and SOPs to be followed and met.
By streamlining the documents, the Environmental Manager is able to better manage the facilities instead of being buried in paperwork.
Also, all EMS documents are maintained on a web-based system that is password protected to eliminate the need for printing and upkeep of approximately 23 manuals.