OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa-Wapello County Solid Waste Commission was designated an Environmental Management System (EMS) by the Environmental Protection Commission on March 19.
Ottumwa Wapello joins 10 participants in the program and will begin specialized EMS training provided by the Department of Natural Resources this month.
Iowa’s Solid Waste EMS program was established in 2008. It assists participants with operating in a more innovative, cost-effective, technologically advanced and environmentally sensitive manner. EMS is an alternative to the Comprehensive Planning system required of Iowa’s cities and counties, who group together to make up Solid Waste Planning Areas. There are 44 Solid Waste Planning Areas in Iowa.
“EMS is the next step,” said DNR program planner Leslie Goldsmith. “While Comprehensive Planning concentrates on landfill diversion, EMS helps participants put a system in place to improve overall environmental performance on a continuous basis.”
The EMS system concentrates on six component areas including yard waste management, hazardous household waste management, water quality improvement, greenhouse gas reduction, recycling and environmental education.
New EMS program participants receive training and assistance from DNR staff and a specialized EMS consultant. Legislation provides grant funding to assist in developing the EMS and provides ongoing support to participants. Program participants must undergo an annual audit and provide annual reports documenting performance and demonstrating continuous improvement through setting environmental goals.
Ottumwa Wapello EMS contacts are Jody Gates, director of Health, Inspections and Solid Waste, and Janice Bain, recycling coordinator.