Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission on April 18 designated the Iowa County Regional Environmental Improvement Commission as an Environmental Management System . Iowa County joins 13 other participants in the program and will begin specialized training provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Legislation in 2008 established Iowa’s Environmental Management Systems (EMS) program, which trains participants in methods to operate in a more innovative, cost-effective and environmentally sensitive manner. Program participants cite improved documentation, communication, and environmental compliance as additional benefits.
The program is a voluntary alternative to the Comprehensive Planning system required of Iowa’s cities and counties, who together to make up Iowa’s 44 Solid Waste Planning Areas. Iowa County is part of the ECICOG Planning Area, which includes two other Environmental Management Systems program service area participants: Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency and the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center.
“EMS is the next step,” said Leslie Goldsmith, the DNR’s lead on the Environmental Management Systems program. “While comprehensive planning concentrates on landfill diversion, EMS helps participants put a system in place to improve overall environmental performance.”
The EMS focuses on six areas: yard waste management, hazardous household material management, water quality improvement, greenhouse gas reduction, recycling, and environmental education.
In addition to training, program participants are eligible for funding to assist with EMS development. Program participants undergo an annual audit and are required to submit an annual report documenting performance.
States interested in learning more about the program may contact Leslie Goldsmith of Iowa DNR.