We worked with The City of Columbus’ Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to develop and implement a first-in-class environmental management system (EMS) that provides the structure for long-term environmental regulatory compliance, and for reducing overall environmental impacts. Based on ISO 14001 standard, an internationally known voluntary standard for environmental management, the EMS addresses DPU’s numerous facilities and programs. In 2014, the DPU became the first public utility in Ohio to obtain ISO 14001:2004.

Client

City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities

Location

Columbus, OH

100+

DPU facilities visited

60+

operational procedures developed

1st

public utility in Ohio to obtain ISO 14001:2004

Setting the Stage for Compliance

Setting the Stage for Compliance

We teamed up with DPU’s newly established Regulatory Compliance Section to develop self-audit capabilities and establish a program of ongoing compliance monitoring and assurance. The audits encompassed all of DPU’s over 100 water, wastewater, fleet maintenance, reservoir and electric distribution facilities. The operations and infrastructure associated with these facilities were audited against applicable federal, state, local environmental laws and regulations. We also trained newly designated Environmental Team Leaders and created functional facility compliance management plans for facility staff to easily use.
Building on the Baseline

Building on the Baseline

The audits provided the baseline for the development of the EMS. Close collaboration was paramount to the success. We led monthly EMS core team and steering committee meetings throughout the project duration. We assisted in identifying thousands of DPU activities presenting environmental impacts and developed ISO-required core EMS procedures as well as training for DPU management on each procedure. We also advised DPU on how to address the most significant environmental impact, led development for over 60 operational procedures and conducted a review of all departments’ Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans.
The Road to Certification

The Road to Certification

Once the EMS was developed we helped DPU pursue third-party certification to the ISO 14001 standard. Since the EMS was new to the organization and implementation of processes and procedures was inconsistent, so we also developed the DPU Roadmap to ISO 14001 Certification, which outlined critical path actions and key EMS implementation milestones. Key areas addressed by the roadmap included employee communication and outreach, employee education and awareness, routine self-auditing, and emergency preparedness.
Effective EMS Implementation

Effective EMS Implementation

In practice the Roadmap provided DPU training and structure to support organization-wide buy-in for the EMS. We created pocket EMS awareness cards, prepared monthly EMS topics, conducted awareness audits and established online training recourse on critical EMS procedures and work instructions. We also supported DPU’s emergency preparedness program through training.
Demonstrated Success

Demonstrated Success

Once the EMS had been implemented, we planned and executed a comprehensive environmental audit program including state and federal air quality regulations. After obtaining permits, we trained City staff on permit implementation and record keeping requirements. In 2014, following a week-long certification audit, DPU became the first public utility in Ohio to achieve ISO 14001 certification. We continue to support DPU in refining the program and updated to the  new ISO 14001:2015 standard issued in 2015, attaining recertification with an impressive zero non-conformances.

Project Contact

Our team is committed to improving the places we call home.

Bring genuine ingenuity to your community.

Robert W. McGormley
Robert W. McGormley
Senior Vice President