WEF announces environmental management system project for water, wastewater utilities

Under a cooperative agreement with the EPA, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) recently announced a new project to develop a comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS) for water and wastewater utilities.

Alexandria, Va., June 21, 2001 — Under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) recently announced a new project to develop a comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS) for water and wastewater utilities.

The project will look at successful utility management tools, identify barriers to the implementation of available programs, and identify incentives for integrating these tools into a comprehensive EMS.

Recommendations from the effort, formally titled "Development of Comprehensive Environmental Management Systems Guidance For Public Utilities - Phase I," will be used in a second phase, possibly to develop a guidance document for utilities.

Current utility management programs and techniques are disconnected from one another and widespread adoption has been slow. This project will examine the feasibility of developing a comprehensive EMS to enable utilities to identify and efficiently manage its capital assets, address a range of environmental impacts, and focus on improving environmental performance beyond levels required by regulations - all through an open process that addresses the needs of communities, regulators, and other stakeholders.

"I am very excited about this comprehensive EMS project," said Stephen Graef, chair of WEF's Utility Management Committee. "It will provide a practical EMS template for all utility business categories - a utility-wide approach that takes the best management programs out there and integrates them into an overall EMS framework."

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) will partner with WEF and EPA on this project. A workgroup, comprised of WEF and AMSA members, as well as other key stakeholders including EPA, will have its initial meeting at WEFTEC 2001, the Federation's annual meeting and exhibition being held in Atlanta, Ga. this October. A project web page, hosted on the WEF web site ( http://www.wef.org) and linked to the AMSA site, is planned to provide information and promote dialogue.

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. The WEF network includes more than 100,000 water quality professionals from 77 Member Associations in 31 countries.

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