|Environmental Management System|
The Soil Drainage Research Unit has established and implemented an EMS (Environmental Management System. Our EMS is a systematic approach that enables us to reduce our environmental impacts while working to achieve our research mission. Specifically, our EMS follows the "Plan-Do-Check-Act" model found in the ISO 14001 International Standard and is a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing, and improving the actions we take towards meeting our Research Mission and our environmental goals. Every year our EMS Committee in conjunction with the Research Leader identifies ways that SDRU might negatively impact the environment and then establishes annual goals for preventing and/or reducing our environmental impacts. Each year we conduct annual EMS audits and reviews to determine if we are on target for meeting our EMS goals. This continual process is designed to enable us to continually improve our EMS over time.
Our EMS encompasses environmental awareness, regulatory compliance, pollution prevention, conservation of natural resources, and energy conservation. For example, we have identified that our use of paper, cardboard, and plastics may have a negative environmental impact. Therefore our EMS goal is to minimize solid waste going to local landfills. To meet this goal we established a recycling station in our chemistry laboratory where SDRU employees can drop off paper, cardboard, and plastics, and glass that will later be recycled through Ohio State University. Our recycling efforts between 2005 and 2011 have prevented 2400 pounds of paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass from ending up in local landfills. We estimated using the U.S. EPA's Waste Reduction Model that this recycling effort has resulted in a reduction of 6402 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted and is the equivalent of reducing the annual emissions of 1255 passenger vehicles.
We began developing our EMS in 2007 and three years later our EMS was fully implemented and in conformance with the EMS requirements established by Executive Order 13423. Other notable EMS related accomplishments include: 1) providing annual EMS training for all SDRU employees; 2) conducting an annual inventory of SDRU's greenhouse gas emissions since 2010 using information on our annual petroleum use, amounts of mixed recyclables, air travel, computer power settings, and use of 100% recycled paper; 3) using solar panels as a power source for 20 automated water samplers used as part of our ongoing research studies; 4) implemented policy for duplex printing of documents to reduce the amount of paper used; 5) promoted energy conservation by developing recommendations for computer power settings; and 6) purchasing of two flex fuel vehicles that use E85 fuel. In summary, our EMS ensures that we serve as an example to the agricultural community in how organizations, businesses, and farms can work to reduce their environmental impacts.
Below are pdf files of our annual EMS policy and our current EMS training course.