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Environmental management systems (EMSs) are rapidly becoming a normal part of many private companies's business models, but many public agencies have not yet seen an EMS as a part of their business model. EMSs offer a number of distinct advantages to a public agency; however they do come at a significant cost. Many senior managers and many operating personnel are not yet convinced that they can benefit from adopting an EMS.

An EMS can be defined as a series of policies, procedures and work instructions that are designed to reduce or eliminate any negative impacts upon the environment that occur at a facility. There are a variety of models that can be used to create an EMS. Some of the more common models include the International Organization of Standards (ISO) 14000 model and the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) model. The ISO model can cover a wide variety of facilities and operations while the NBP model specifically covers the biosolids operations at a wastewater facility. Kent County has implemented an EMS that combines both models and is seeking certification under both programs in 2005.

This paper will look at the advantages and disadvantages of EMSs and discuss them in greater details. The information can then be used to sell managers and staff on the EMS.

One of the keys to success for any EMS is getting both senior management and operating staff buy-in into the program. This paper will provide some ideas on how to convince either the facility managers or the operating staff, that an EMS adds enough value to the organization to pursue one. It is based upon the experience of someone who has developed an EMS for a wastewater facility.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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