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Promoting Environmental Justice as an Essential Best Management Practice for Utilities in Economically Distressed Communities

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The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA) operates an 80 million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant in Camden, NJ. The wastewater treatment plant, one of the largest in the State of New Jersey, is located within 100 yards of a residential neighborhood, known as the Waterfront South section of Camden City. Therefore, optimizing the wastewater treatment plant's odor control performance is an absolute necessity to ensure that the plant does not interfere with the quality of life of the residents of Camden City.

In addition, Camden City is one of the very poorest cities in the United States, and Waterfront South is the poorest neighborhood within Camden City. Therefore, it is even more morally imperative that the CCMUA do its utmost to not only, at a minimum, prevent causing adverse impact to its neighbors but also go beyond that and try to improve the residents' quality of life in any way reasonably possible.

This paper will demonstrate:

(1) that the CCMUA decided that implementing environmental justice, through the social

mission described above, would be a core corporate objective for the organization.

(2) how the CCMUA used its Environmental Management System (EMS) to optimize odor control performance at the treatment plant, and

(3) how the CCMUA also implemented several other initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for the residents of Camden City.
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Keywords: Environmental Justice; Environmental Management Systems; Sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2009

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