During implementation of an EMS the Division identified fuel consumption as one of its environmental targets and was able to reduce fuel consumption.
In the past, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sponsored pilot tests to demonstrate the benefits of implementing Environmental Management Systems by a public utility. A review of case histories and lessons learned in these pilots show that governmental organizations implementing an EMS have, in most cases, been successful. Here are just a few success stories. In Eugene, Washington, the city’s Wastewater Division is responsible for operating a forty-nine million gallon a day treatment facility. During the implementation of an EMS the Division identified fuel consumption as one of its environmental targets and was able to reduce fuel consumption by 10 %.
The Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) with more than 625 employees is responsible the maintenance of 2300 miles of sanitary sewers, 1000 miles of separate storm sewers and 130 miles of major “improved” drainage ditches. Their initial EMS initiatives were focused on district-wide purchasing of fleet vehicles, bulk chemicals, toxic chemicals and certain pumps and motors.
The MSD fleet maintenance has established programs to recycle used motor oil, batteries, tires, parts and carburetor cleaning fluids and Freon. The EMS policy challenges the staff, consultants and contractors to incorporate pollution prevention and environmental protection into all phases of infrastructure rehabilitation and new construction projects.
Besides encouraging EMS adoption through pilot test programs the EPA is also requiring some companies to establish a formal EMS program through “consent agreements” as a result of regulatory enforcement actions. EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center (NEIC) has developed an EMS model based on ISO 14001 standards. Through an enforcement driven consent decree, a company may be required to implement the NEIC model EMS. When included in a consent decree the company must agree to develop an EMS action plan and to provide EPA a copy of its EMS manual within 270 days of the effective date of the decree.
Establishing a formal EMS helped in establishing formalized oil and lubrication management programs. It is too early to conclude that formal EMS and oil and lubrication management programs will lead to improved maintenance reliability. What is certain is that with the development of the ISO 14000 EMS series, increased numbers of publicly owned utilities have elected to establish formal programs and to seek ISO accreditation.
In some cases, implementing an EMS has resulted in an organization establishing specific targets for reducing the amount of waste oils and lubricants generated. It is likely that these organizations will also identify other hidden costs associated with equipment failures, such as response, clean-up and regulatory fines that result from neglecting oil and lubrication management. As these utilities establish specific EMS targets to improve oil and lubrication management improved maintenance reliability is bound to follow.