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Identifying Environmental Aspects. EPA Regions 9 & 10 and The Federal Network for Sustainability. Objectives. After this discussion, you should be able to: Define an environmental aspect List the steps in preparing an aspects register. Overview. Definition Examples

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Identifying environmental aspects l.jpg

Identifying Environmental Aspects

EPA Regions 9 & 10

and

The Federal Network for Sustainability


Objectives l.jpg
Objectives

After this discussion, you should be able to:

  • Define an environmental aspect

  • List the steps in preparing an aspects register


Overview l.jpg
Overview

  • Definition

  • Examples

  • Building an Aspects Register


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Definition

  • An environmental aspect is the part of an activity, product, or service that interacts with the environment. An aspect can be thought of as the actual or potential “cause” of an environmental impact.

  • Aspects can be regulated or unregulated.


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Environmental Aspects

  • Vehicles emit exhaust

  • Water leaks from distribution system

  • Fueling spills occur

  • Containers not closed

  • Noise from aircraft engine run-up testing

  • Lights and computers left on at night

  • Copier paper bleached with chlorine

  • Bicycles don’t emit exhaust


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Activity, Product, or Service

Flying aircraft

Visitor services

Environmental Aspect

Jet fuel consumption

Jet fuel storage

Noise generation

Gasoline consumption

Electricity consumption

Solid waste generation

Water consumption

Waste water generation

More Examples


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Activity, Product, or Service

Vehicle maintenance

Environmental Aspect

Hazardous waste generation

Gasoline consumption

Noise generation

Electricity consumption

Solid waste generation

Water consumption

Waste water generation

Release of volatiles

Examples


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Activity, Product, or Service

Souvenirs in gift shop

Cafeteria food service

Environmental Aspect

Packaging

Use of raw materials

Fuel consumption for transport

Solid waste generation

Food waste generation

Electricity consumption

Water consumption

Waste water generation

Use of ammonia in refrigeration equipment

Examples


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Activity, Product, or Service

Office work

Environmental Aspect

Electricity consumption

Water consumption

Waste water generation

Use of ozone depleting substances in air cooling units

Solid waste generation

Heavy metals in computers

Examples


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Activity, Product, or Service

Cleaning offices

Playing field upkeep (golf course, softball field, parade ground)

Environmental Aspect

Hazardous material usage

Electricity consumption

Solid waste generation

Water consumption

Waste water generation

Water consumption

Waste water generation

Pesticide usage

Gasoline consumption

Grass clipping generation

Examples


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Aspects and the EMS

When first developing your EMS, do a comprehensive aspects analysis.

ISO 14001 requires organizations to:

  • develop procedures to identify environmental aspects

  • keep register of aspects up-to-date.


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Building an Aspects Register

  • Review gap analysis

  • Assemble list of activities, products, and services

  • Characterize activities, products, and services

  • List aspects

  • Quantify aspects if possible


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Review Gap Analysis

  • Facility walk-through

  • MSDSs

  • Environmental management plans

  • Staff interviews


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List of Activities, Products, and Services

  • Public Affairs office

  • Commercial activities studies

  • GPRA analysis

  • Air Force “compliance site inventories”

  • Real property list

  • NEPA reviews

  • Transportation studies

  • Match list with “fenceline”


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Characterize Activities, Products, and Services

  • Process flow diagrams

  • Interviews with supervisors, managers

  • Hazardous material inventories

  • Hazardous waste records

  • Records from emergency planning, accident reports, emergency incidents

  • Water and energy consumption records


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List Aspects

  • Determine number of distinct aspects

  • Don’t forget about transportation and construction

  • Sort and organize aspects, for example:

    • Releases to air

    • Water consumption, pollution

    • Land contamination

    • Use of raw materials, natural resources

    • Other local environmental, community issues


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Quantify Aspects

  • Use data from gap analysis or aspect identification

  • Collect additional data if available

  • Use consistent units

  • Document sources of data


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Summary

  • Identification of environmental aspects is a key part of an EMS

  • Aspects arise from activities, products, and services

  • An EMS includes procedures for aspect identification and update