- Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
- EMS Basic Information
- EMS Training
- EMS Success Stories
- Waste Management Related Initiatives
Waste Management Related EMS Initiatives
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
SummaryEnvironmental Management Systems (EMSs) have emerged as an important vehicle for improving environmental performance by providing organizations with the tools to both successfully manage their environmental activities, and to manage those activities in a cost effective manner. In a May 15, 2002 EPA EMS Policy Statement, the EPA Administrator encouraged the use of EMSs across a broad range of organizational settings. The statement emphasized that EMSs:
"help organizations better integrate the full scope of environmental considerations and get better results, by establishing a continuous process of checking to make sure environmental goals are met. EMS implementation ensures that procedures are in place for taking remedial action if problems occur. From a business perspective, they can often help make organizations more efficient and more competitive"
Wastes, together with the EPA Regions and states, is working towards these goals by disseminating information on EMSs, developing appropriate guidance and policy, and implementing pilot projects.
In accordance with the Administrator's Position Statement, Wastes is encouraging widespread use of EMSs at Resource Conservation and Recovery Ast (RCRA) Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) and generators, with emphasis on improved environmental performance and compliance, pollution prevention, and continuous environmental improvement.
Wastes EMS initiatives are closely coordinated with those of other EPA offices including the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation.
Wastes Position on EMS
In concert with the Administrator's Position Statement on Environmental Management Systems (August 1992) ORCR strongly encourages the adoption and implementation of successful EMSs by organizations to bring about meaningful environmental improvement in terms of better compliance, pollution prevention, improved overall environmental performance, and public involvement. Our office is exploring the use of EMS as a tool to improve environmental performance and to facilitate materials management (e.g. enhanced recycling). Additionally, we are actively encouraging state efforts to integrate EMSs into their programs.
To provide knowledge sharing opportunities and encourage EMS development, Wastes has sponsored the following opportunities for the regulated community and agency representatives:
South Carolina State Innovation Grant
Environmental Management Systems offer an opportunity to streamline, integrate, and potentially achieve better environmental results through the permitting process. To explore the relationship between permitting and EMSs, EPA is partnering with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). South Carolina DHEC recognizes the potential of EMSs through the voluntary South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP), and Environmental Innovations Pilot Program. This program will enhance the DHEC's experience with incorporating EMSs into the regulatory framework.
The focus of this project is to study selected facilities that have an EMS and a DHEC issued permit. Two of the selected facilities will have RCRA permits so that a more in-depth study of the relationship between RCRA permits and EMSs can be undertaken.
The goals of the project include:
- Improve the overall performance of a facility;
- Explore ways permit requirements can be integrated and streamlined based on an EMS;
- Determine how an EMS can help to ensure consistency in the development, issuance, inspection, interpretation, and potential enforcement of a permit both from a single-media and cross-media perspective; and
- Evaluate the potential benefits of incorporating EMSs as an incentive for permitting options.
Study results will be evaluated in the context of the current permitting process. Ultimately, the project will provide recommendations on the integration of EMSs into permit decisions.
Wastes has provided in-depth EMS training to designated Headquarters and Regional RCRA staff, and has made web-based introductory EMS training available. Wastes encourages all EPA State RCRA program regulators to take this training to gain a basic familiarity with EMS principals.
Environmental Management Systems Summit
To discuss how to jointly foster the continued use of quality Environmental Management Systems to bring about meaningful environmental improvements, over 40 high-level officials from industry, states, local governments, public interest groups, and EPA met in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2004. Speakers included EPA's Acting Assistant Administrator and the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Conference attendees discussed real-world experiences implementing effective EMSs, opportunities and future directions in use of EMSs to achieve environmental leadership, and EPA's role in those efforts.
View the results from the meeting: Environmental Management Systems Summit - Summary of Proceedings April 2005 (PDF) (20 pp, 63K, About PDF)