Phew! Now that you’re certified you can rest!

- By:

Courtesy of Water Environment Federation (WEF)

Certification of an environmental management system (EMS) to the ISO 14001 standard is just the beginning of a long process to practice the continual improvement principles upon which the standard is built. It is a long process to reach certification and a never ending process to continue it. Annual surveillance audits are required in between the 3 year certification audits. There are additional programs that an organization is eligible to join once the certification is reached. The need to continue to involve employees in the program and the ongoing management support must be maintained long after the program has been implemented.

The Kent County Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (KCWRTF) is the first wastewater facility in the country to have its Environmental Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) certified to the ISO 14001 EMS standard, the OHSAS 18001, EHS-MS standard and the National Biosolids Partnership’s (NBP) EMS standard. The facility is only the second wastewater facility to be admitted to the US EPA’s National Performance Track Program.

For the past two years, the facility has targeted obtaining these certifications. A large expenditure in manpower was required to get the program started. This paper will discuss a summary of the programs costs, shortfalls, strengths and benefits. The paper will look at the changes that have occurred at the facility since certification and how the EHS-MS addressed the changes and what changes to the EHS-MS was required to accommodate the changes.

This paper will also look at the activities required to maintain the momentum of the past two years to prevent the gains made in developing and implementing the program are not lost. It will provide insight into the methods that any certified facility can use to prevent the program from atrophying and the results of the first round of interim/surveillance audits.

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