City of Fort Worth- Biosolids Program
Environmental Management System (EMS)
In 2000, the City of Fort Worth (Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility) became one of the original twenty-one agencies across the United States to voluntarily participate as a demonstration agency in the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) Environmental Management System (EMS) for biosolids programs.
Environmental Management System (EMS)
A biosolidsEnvironmental Management System (EMS) is a management system outlined and designed for biosolids programs by the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP). The NBP provides EMS outlines and guidelines using biosolids best management practices and agencies across the United States are encouraged to participate in this program to help protect and enhance the environment.
National Biosolids Partnership (NBP)
The National Biosolids Partnership is a voluntary partnership between the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and Water Environment Federation (WEF) with advisory support from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The Partnership is committed to developing and advancing environmentally sound and sustainable biosolids best management practices through comprehensive management systems. The NBP supports excellence in biosolids management practices, augments regulatory compliance obligations, evaluates environmental performance, and provides meaningful opportunities for public participation.
Fort Worth made a commitment to the NBP to develop, implement and maintain an EMS for the Fort Worth Biosolids Program. In establishing a biosolids EMS, Fort Worth’s expectations were to continue to advance to the “next level” in biosolids performance and management. This would involve improving overall environmental performance, providing greater opportunities for public comment/involvement, and enhancing communication between divisions, employees, contractors and the public.
On July 20, 2005, the City of Fort Worth's Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility became the7th agency in the United States and 1st agency in Texas to obtain National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) EMS certification!
To obtain this biosolids EMS certification, the Fort Worth Biosolids Program underwent a thorough evaluation and audit of their EMS practices and processes. The EMS audit was conducted by both internal auditors and “EMS certified” third party auditors. Once EMS certification is obtained, the biosolids EMS is audited on an annual basis to maintain EMS certification.
One year later (July 2006), the Fort Worth Biosolids EMS Program successfully underwent internal and external audits and met requirements to maintain EMS certification and obtained the “EMS - Tier 4 Platinum Certification,” which represents “the highest achievement in biosolids management and environmental stewardship” recognized by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Currently there are 100+ agencies across the United States participating in the NBP EMS program, and 17 agencies are currently EMS “certified”.
Environmental Management System - Benefits
The Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility has realized a number of benefits from developing and implementing a Biosolids EMS. The benefits include:
- Document Management.
Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility, other Water divisions and our contractor spent numerous man-hours accomplishing the development and update of relevant standard operating procedures (SOP’s) throughout the biosolids value chain. Developing and writing the SOP’s "in-house" nurtured the sense of employee awareness for the EMS and fostered the feeling of "making a contribution" to the EMS process and indirectly "improving the environment". Documents and SOP’s are filed in a central location at each division. The documentation of procedures has greatly improved operational efforts for both the contractor and the City.
- Improved Communications.
Another benefit of the biosolids EMS implementation was the opportunity for each of the divisions in the Water Department, our contractor and other City Departments (Internal Audit, Legal, etc.) to learn more and understand better how biosolids processing, activities and operations interact with a number of groups. This awareness resulted in better, more effective communication between all groups and was a morale booster, which directly and indirectly supports biosolids best management practices and biosolids quality.
- Annual Goals and Objectives.
Each year a formal set of goals and objectives are established for the biosolids program. A clear outline of annual goals and objectives has helped the biosolids program focus on, plan and improve current and future (continual improvement) operations and issues.
The EMS process has helped Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility put a greater emphasis on training and documentation of training activities. Training classes have been revised and new classes added. Questionnaires/tests have been implemented at the end of training sessions to reflect retention and effectiveness.
Improved Public Outreach Efforts with Interested Parties
Website: A revised Web format was added to include up-to-date biosolids information, easier contact information and phone numbers, annual Biosolids Management Program and EMS Performance Reports.
Public Forum: Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility conducts an annual biosolids “Public Forum” where stakeholders and interested parties are invited learn about biosolids program operations, activities, etc. and where the City seeks input and invites the public to provide comments and input on biosolids operations and activities.
To find out more information about the City of Fort Worth Biosolids “Beneficial Reuse/Recycling” Program and the Fort Worth Biosolids EMS program, please call:
Village Creek Reclamation Facility 817-392-4960
Biosolids EMS Manager 817-392-4965
To find out more information on biosolids in general and about the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) EMS program, visit the national biosolids website at: www.biosolids.org. Additionally the City of Fort Worth has created two informational brochures about the biosolids program. The general brochure gives information about biosolids and the Fort Worth program. The technical brochure provides technical information about biosolids material including safety and environmental aspects.