The Charleston Commissioners of Public Works (CPW) has had an operating Environmental Management System (EMS) in place since October 15, 1998. The EMS model followed by CPW is the ISO 14001 International Standard. On June 20, 1999 CPW achieved registration of its first operating group
to the ISO 14001 standard and since that time, through four registration audits, has achieved registration for all groups and functions within CPW. Putting an EMS in place and obtaining registration through third party verification takes hard work from many committed people, long hours, full
management support and the incorporation of a whole new company culture. During the past three years many public agencies have visited CPW to review the detailed functions and activities of its EMS. Additionally, many agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada have requested information and detailed
examples of its EMS program. Common themes expressed by these agencies can be summated to four questions; what were the methods of implementation used? what was the level of effort required? what benefits have been realized? and what were the steps taken to achieve 14001 registration? Invariably, these agencies were looking to implement an EMS that was credible and judged against a broad-based standard. This
paper will attempt to describe in detail the EMS established by CPW, the methods used to address the various requirements of ISO 14001, the level of effort required, the use of a third party Registrar and provide examples of some benefits realized by CPW to date.
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