Thursday, December 1, 2011

Environmental Management System report

Presentation by Brian Allen on the environmental management system
A set of management processes and procedures to help an organization identify, assess, control, and reduce the environmental impact of its activities, products, or services.
Using UMass Lowell Service program, an environmental health and safety specialist, and Triumvirate Environmental Inc.
"more of a change in management issue than a technical fix"
reducing our risk of spills and incidents; wastes and emissions; costs; energy use; liability
benefiting: increased awareness of best practices; sustainability; awareness of energy efficiency and clean energy
Chemical cleanouts at 11 school labs have been done
Next we will be looking at school-specific issues, and providing additional training
Five subcommittees:
  • asbestos
  • hazardous materials
  • incident preparedness and response
  • inspections and corrective action
  • professional development and competency
20 schools constructed during the period from 1950-1978, when PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were used; another 9 with major renovations during that time. Trivumvirate Environmental hired in Feb. 2010 to conduct a comprehensive facilities assessment regarding PCBs for all 29 buildings, along with ongoing work with EPA, throughout

24 light ballasts that were leaking have been removed; those were the immediate risk
Next 156 unlabeled ballasts will be removed; interior dust will be removed; stained light fixtures will be removed; interior and exterior window glazing and caulking will be sealed
then we will have on-going annual re-inspections and exterior assessments as needed
This will cost $1.3 million, estimate
introduces Triumvirate Environmental staff
EPA "is very pleased with the work product; moveover, they're very pleased with the course of action" taken by the school system and the city
"actions taken by the Worcester school system should be commended"
"not running from the problem, but also managing it fiscally responsibility"
back to Allen: initial plan had us doing this work over 4 years
a new electricity contract has freed up nearly $1 million in next year's budget
Allen recommends allocating not only the money already allocated, but the million in next year's budget, and get it done in ONE year (rather than four)
This will need to be planned and then go out to bid, so this vote needs to happen now.
actual bid results will be brought to the committee
Later in the meeting, we're voting on Statements of Interests to MSBA, which include windows for these schools (in either renovation or Green Repair)
The EPA "are pleased with the steps we've taken"
work to commence immediately, and then do long-term planning

O'Connell asks if we see any other "buffer" funds, as we're spending this money ahead of having it
Boone: these are one-time funds, we need to use them on one-time opportunities
"would be safer to use them for a one-time use, rather than using them" in the larger budget for curricular issues
O'Connell concerned around use of chemical and such in science labs; not to shortchange kids' education
either develop processes for not using certain chemicals, or doing what we need in order to make them able to be used safely
Novick: are there other capital needs as we look at science labs (four are included in MSBA submissions)
plan to have EMS Manual for review soon
Foley: hesitant to commit funds ahead, but recognize need to move up the timetable
comment that this is in keeping with environmental responsbility taught by Worcester Public Schools
EAW: acting as responsible guardians
Biancheria: contact with city? Allen: contact has been with fire department (as they handle hazardous materials)

No comments: