EMS ensures resource availability
March 22, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Mar. 22, 2012) -- The Environmental Management System is a tool that helps ensure Soldiers today -- and the Soldiers of the future -- have the land, water, and air resources that they need to train; a healthy environment in which to live; and the support of local communities and the American people.
Fort Rucker's Directorate of Public Works Environmental and Natural Resources Division is looking to make sure everyone on the installation, military and civilian, is educated on its EMS policy in it's ongoing efforts to promote sustainability.
An EMS is a standardized environmental management approach that is implemented Army-wide, said Melissa Lowlavar, Environmental Management Branch chief and EMS management representative.
"Our EMS is built on the ISO 14001 standard, which is the specific checklist of standards and guidelines selected for Army installations by the Department of the Army," said the EMS management representative. "[Our EMS] is set up and has been fully declared since 2009, which means that it's working like it's supposed to. Essentially, the EMS works to protect the installation from environmental problems."
E=pc2: environmental policy is to prevent pollution, comply with environmental laws and continually improve. That is the policy that DPW-ENRD wishes for people to know, according to Lowlavar, adding that every employee and all installation personnel must be familiar with the EMS policy and have general EMS awareness training when they start working on post.
EMS awareness training is available on DPW's website at www.fortrucker-env.com where people can learn and get a general understanding of EMS, she said. There are also training courses for becoming environmental officers, which is a two-day training class, and an environmental point-of-contact, which is a four-hour training class. Environmental officers are also required to take an annual four-hour refresher course that teaches updates of any regulations.
"The way our EMS works so effectively is that we have our environmental officers and points of contact in every organization all over post," she said. "That's our web of information. We feed information through them and they are our main POCs for anything environmental, whether it's pollution prevention activities we're trying to initiate or compliance problems.
"Our scope is fence line to fence line" to include all military, civilian, tenant and contractor organizations working within the installation boundaries that have the potential to impact significant environmental aspects, the management representative explained.
The driving force and basis behind Fort Rucker's EMS procedures that are implemented are the significant environmental aspects, which were determined after reviewing the impacts of various aspects of Fort Rucker's activities, products and services, according to Lowlavar.
The significant aspects that the EMS policies govern are air emissions, energy use and conservation, hazardous waste generation, natural resources alteration, noise generation, pollution prevention, solid waste generation and hazardous spills to water and soil.
The Army requires an annual review of all the significant aspects, which is fulfilled with a review with Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander and head of EMS, in order to ensure that the EMS is working properly, said the management representative.
"I have desk-side management review with the colonel in October on the general state of our EMS," she said. The review is conducted to determine the system's suitability to the mission, vision and culture; adequacy in fulfilling the policy and requirements of the EMS; and effectiveness in managing and improving environmental performance.
The EMS management review is also an opportunity to go over the annual internal and three-year external EMS audits that are conducted as a part of the Environmental Performance Assessment Systems program to determine the conformance status of the EMS, said Lowlavar.
The annual internal EPAS and EMS audits are scheduled for April 30 to May 4, during which there will be one EMS team and two EPAS compliance teams looking at compliance across the installation as well as conformance with EMS, according to the management representative.
"I might go out to a facility on post and ask what EMS is and what is the environmental policy," she said. "The people in that facility are expected to know what EMS and its policy is. If everybody is using the tools of the EMS -- the procedures, the forms and the work instructions -- then everything works seamlessly."
For more information on EMS training, visit www.fortrucker-env.com.