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Compliance & Enforcement Results in P2

Organization(s) Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection
Project Description A MA DEP core strategic objective is to eliminate or reduce the volume and toxicity of chemicals used and waste streams generated. Enforcement actions taken in response to non-compliance can provide a strong motivation for regulated entities to consider changes in operations to reduce or better manage toxics.

The MA DEP Bureau of Waste Prevention has developed a protocol to track P2 outcomes in enforcement actions. In some instances, it is possible to estimate the quantity of pollution prevented as a result of enforcement.

In response to DEP enforcement actions in fiscal year 2002, regulated facilities eliminated emissions of approximately 160 tons of ozone forming emissions and other hazardous air pollutants and conserved 5.4 million gallons of water. Those actions took a variety of forms, including changes in raw material, input substitutions, production design and operation modifications, on-site recycling, and implementation of environmental management systems with P2 measures. For example, enforcement for air quality violations at a manufacturing plant in Taunton led the company to replace a degreasing unit that emitted volatile organic compounds with a water-based unit, reducing the release of 3,300 pounds per year of trichloroethylene, a 99 percent decrease. Similar enforcement actions involving companies using paint spray booths, stripping furniture, and molding plastics often led them to solutions that eliminated or substantially reduced emissions below permitted levels.

In 2002, DEP continued its efforts to motivate the public and private sectors to institutionalize compliance reviews through the development of environmental management systems or regular compliance auditing. Environmental Management Systems (EMS) encompasses a broad range of on-going management processes and procedures that allow an organization to systematically analyze, control, and reduce environmental impacts from its activities, products, or services. One venue to introduce these concepts is to give violators an opportunity to develop and implement an EMS as part of the resolution of an enforcement action. During fiscal year 2002, 17 administrative consent orders included the development of an EMS, bringing to nearly 50 the number of EMSs initiated through enforcement actions over the past 4 years.

DEP has also promoted EMS and compliance auditing outside the direct enforcement context. DEP and EPA Region 1-New England co-sponsored an initiative to motivate colleges and universities to audit their facilities for potential violations of state and federal environmental regulations in such areas as hazardous waste management, air emissions, and storm water management. As an incentive, institutions that participated were placed on a low priority inspection list and were ensured that no penalty would be assessed for violations that were reported in accordance with the agencies' self audit policies. Fifty-two private and public colleges in Massachusetts committed to participate in the initiative and are now submitting audits identifying and certifying correction of several hundred violations. In addition, DEP and EPA organized an EMS forum that brought together university representatives with experience developing environmental management systems with their peers from other schools who were interested in instituting an EMS at their campus.

DEP also developed a Municipal Stewardship program, funded by EPA, which offered small grants to about a dozen municipalities that expressed a commitment to develop an EMS to meet their community's specific compliance issues. The program includes mentoring and advanced EMS training, implementation of EMS activities, and measurement of environmental performance.

More Info www.state.ma.us/dep/bwp/
Project Contact
Name Paul Walsh
Phone (617) 556-1011
Project Keywords
Areas of P2 Expertise Environmental Management Systems
Industrial Sectors Educational Institutions
Newsletter Northeast States Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 13 No. 2, Summer 2003 [PDF]


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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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