First initiative of a town wide environmental management system (EMS)

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Courtesy of Water Environment Federation (WEF)

Today’s wastewater utilities are faced with many challenges which include increasing customer demands, regulatory oversight and upgrade to state of the art equipment and processes. Wastewater utilities are also finding it necessary to evaluate management systems and approaches. An environmental management system (EMS) is a set of management processes and procedures that allows an organization to evaluate, control, and reduce the environmental impacts of its activities, products, and services and operate with greater efficiency and control. Developing and implementing an environmental management system (EMS) for a wastewater utility can also yield benefits by enhancing environmental compliance, increasing employee environmental awareness, improving public perception and improving operating efficiencies. The Town of Leesburg in Virginia has decided to develop and implement a Town Wide EMS. Upper management understood that a Town wide EMS was an aggressive goal and they decided to break the Town wide EMS development into initiatives. The Water Pollution Control Division (WPCD) of the Department of Utilities was chosen for the first initiative. The second initiative would expand to the Utilities Lines division within Utilities and continue to expand with other initiative to other Town departments and Utilities divisions. This paper discusses the WPCD EMS, barriers, lessons learned and benefits from the first initiative of the future Town Wide EMS.

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