the world, the voluntary use of environmental management systems (EMS)
is increasing as organizations seek to integrate environmental considerations
into their day-to-day operations, improve their overall environmental performance
and compliance, and demonstrate this performance to outsiders, including regulatory
agencies. An EMS consists of a series of standard procedures and practices that
organizations put into place to manage their environmental obligations. They do
not impose new technical requirements, nor are they a substitute for existing
regulatory standards. However, an EMS provides a framework for an organization
to more effectively manage its environmental obligations and improve its environmental
performance. By effectively managing these obligations, organizations can also
operate more efficiently and reduce costs.
Environmental Management System
While the adoption of an EMS, especially one based on the International Organization
of Standardization (ISO) 14001 voluntary standard, has occurred mainly in the
private sector, some municipalities, including the City of Gaithersburg, are
implementing an EMS compliant with ISO 14001. Since 1997, the City personnel
has planned, developed, and implemented an EMS for the
Department of Public Works, Parks Maintenance and Engineering.
In the process of developing the EMS, a number of objectives and targets were
identified. These include: a reduction in the amount of grit, oil, and other
materials entering the stormwater system; environmental awareness training for
employees; reduction in the amount of salt applied to City streets; and an assessment
of soil conditions and fertilizer needs of City property. The fundamental component
of the City of Gaithersburg's EMS is continued pollution prevention and responsible
compliance with all environmental statutes and regulations.
The City acquired a new oil grit separator and new parts washer. The oil grit
separator reduces the amount of grit and oil entering the stormwater system.
The parts washer does not produce hazardous waste and waste material generated
is disposed as used oil.
State of the Environment Report FY2000