August Mack Newsletter | April, 2019

Spring Cleaning: Dusting off your EHS & Sustainability Program
by Shawn Woll

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. The days are getting longer, the snow is melting and the flowers are blooming. What is not to love about spring? Cleaning. Yes, the annual Spring Cleaning that always meant stripping everything down and vacuuming and scrubbing and wiping areas of the house that I didn’t know even existed. While Spring Cleaning was tough it was always rewarding in the end. One of the rewards of Spring Cleaning was finding toys, money, less-than-perfect report cards, and half-eaten candy bars tucked away in the couch. Yes, Spring Cleaning was tough but it always ended with a sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that our house was in order…for now at least.

As an adult, Spring Cleaning has taken on new importance for me not just at home but also at work. This is a time when we can look at our responsibilities at work and see where we have fallen short and set new goals and expectations for our self for the coming months. This is especially important in the Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) world. EHS professionals have a multitude of environmental regulations, deadlines, and paperwork that can easily become overwhelming. In addition to deadlines, regulations, paperwork, and permits EHS professionals’ must also make sure that they are implementing any permits or standards that pertain to their organizations. Completing an EHS audit is a great start to making sure that all regulations that may apply to your facility are being addressed.

Let’s assume that you have completed an audit or are currently aware of the regulations and standards that apply to your facility. The next logical question to ask is “are we implementing and complying with the permits and regulations?” This may be a tough question to answer; especially if you have not walked around your facility lately to see if floor practices match what is expected in your permits and regulations.  Spring is the perfect time to stretch your legs and walk around your facility and take a look at what may need a little Spring Cleaning.

So, what are we looking for as we walk around the facility? Well, let’s take a look at waste. If your facility generates hazardous waste take a look at satellite accumulation areas as well as areas that store waste after satellite accumulation prior to leaving your facility. Talk with personnel and see if they are familiar with what the operating procedures are in regards to hazardous waste. Take a look around and ask yourself are drums labeled correctly or at all, are lids properly secured, is signage displayed and correct, and are materials being separated into the correct waste containers? Only by visiting these areas can we verify if our operating procedures are being implemented.

The next area we may want to look at is air emission sources labeled in your air permit. Again, talk with your personal and see if they are familiar with operating procedures. Are records being kept of paint usage and are they up-to-date? With a change of weather comes a change in habits. Perhaps your painter is enjoying the spring days and leaving doors open while painting. Is this a violation of your air permit? Check where your pain booths exhaust. If you see paint on the roof this may indicate that your filters are not be working properly. In addition, this may trigger an air violation as well as a stormwater violation when it rains and the paint on the roof is washed away. Again, only by getting out from behind your desk and walking the facility can we see what is happening on the floor.

So you completed an audit and walked around your facility. You have pinpointed areas of concern that may need some additional assistance, now what? Well, this is when the real cleaning begins. 

For more information on this topic, sign up to attend our webinar on April 24, 2019.


Shawn Woll is the Business Development Representative for August Mack Environmental, Inc. in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania office. He has industry experience in geologic field services, sustainability, and, design and installation of renewable energy systems. Shawn heads the business development in the Pennsylvania office focusing on compliance, transaction, and eCAP clients. Shawn earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geoscience from The Pennsylvania State University. Shawn can be reached at 717.399.9587 ext. 227 or via email at swoll@augustmack.com


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