What is an Environmental Enterprise?
Under the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program, an Environmental Enterprise or E2 is a facility in the early stages of implementing an environmental management system emphasizing pollution prevention.
What are the benefits of being an Environmental Enterprise?
Facilities achieving Environmental Enterprise status are eligible for a number of benefits, including technical assistance for the development and implementation of an environmental management system and pollution prevention program. Other incentives include positive public recognition, possible reductions in annual permit fees, and a single point of contact within DEQ.
What must a facility provide to DEQ to achieve Environmental Enterprise status?
Participation in VEEP is on a facility by facility basis. To be considered for inclusion as an Environmental Enterprise, a facility must submit an application with the following information for each of its facilities under consideration:
A copy of the facility’s policy statement outlining its commitment to improving environmental quality, stressing compliance with environmental requirements, pollution prevention, training, communication and continuous improvement.
- An evaluation of the actual or potential environmental impacts and aspects from current or future activities at the facility, including a comprehensive list of impacts and aspects, an explanation of the process used by the facility to determine its significant impacts and aspects, a summary of the most recent impact and aspect review process, and the facility’s schedule for reviewing and reevaluating its impacts.
- Objectives and targets for addressing significant environmental impacts, including the facility’s goals (or objectives) for addressing its significant impacts and aspects and the projects or tasks that are planned to address each of the significant impacts and aspects (with an implementation schedule).
- Description of the facility's pollution prevention program, including a comprehensive list of p2 projects and accomplishments, not limited to those which address its significant impacts and aspects and any environmental results and costs savings achieved from past projects if available.
- Commitment to environmental measure reporting: E2 facilities are required to commit to report on at least one of the VEEP environmental measures in their annual reports, which are due by April 1st each year for the previous calendar year. Facilities can report on a specific project that falls within one of the categories (i.e., switching to a non-hazardous parts washer to reduce hazardous waste generation) or their results for reducing the entire waste stream (i.e., energy use for the entire facility). These measures should be tied to goals and targets of the facility’s EMS and pollution prevention plans. VEEP measures are: air emissions, energy use, water discharges, water use, waste, materials use, land use, product performance and other.
Does a facility have to have a perfect record of compliance with environmental regulations?
Facilities applying to any level of VEEP must have a record of sustained compliance. As defined by Section 10.1-1187.1 of the Code of Virginia, record of sustained compliance means that "the person or facility (i) has no judgment or conviction entered against it, or against any key personnel of the person or facility or any person with an ownership interest in the facility for a criminal violation of the environmental protection laws of the United States, the Commonwealth, or any state in the previous five years; (ii) has been neither the cause of, nor liable for, more than two significant environmental violations in the previous three years; (iii) has no unresolved notices of violations or potential violations of environmental requirements with the Department or one of the Boards; (iv) is in compliance with the terms of any order or decree, executive compliance agreement, or related enforcement measure issued by the Department, one of the Boards, or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and (v) has not demonstrated in any other way an unwillingness or inability to comply with environmental protection requirements. DEQ will conduct a review of each applying facility’s compliance record, including a review of EPA records as appropriate.
E2 Examples & Resources
To assist facilities begin implementing their pollution prevention programs and preparing their E2 applications, DEQ has developed the following resources:
- Sample Policy Statements. All E2 applications must include an environmental policy statement, outlining the facility's commitment to the environment. When reviewing each application, DEQ staff will look for an environmental policy statement that:
- includes/stresses compliance, pollution prevention, training, communication & continuous improvement; and
- addresses elements that are supported by EMS activities.
- Identification of Environmental Impacts: All E2 applications must include a description of the facility's process for identifying and evaluating its environmental aspects (activities) and impacts (results of the activities). At a minimum, each application should include a list of the facility's most significant environmental impacts. Once a comprehensive list of aspects has been compiled, it must be ranked. Objectives and tasks would be developed for those aspects that score/rank as "significant." However, aspects that are not deemed significant may still be addressed by the facility. When reviewing each application, DEQ staff will look for:
- comprehensive list of impacts/aspects;
- method for determining significant impacts/aspects;
- impact/aspect review process outlined; and
- scheduled review and reevaluation of impacts.
Setting Objectives & Targets: All E2 applications must include a list of the facility's objectives for reducing its significant environmental aspects. Ideally, objectives will include numerical goals with projects designed to achieve these goals. Facilities should identify specific tasks to achieve the objectives that include a schedule for completing tasks and assign responsibility. When reviewing each application, DEQ staff will look for:
- objectives which address the facility's significant aspects; and
- planned tasks for addressing each objective with a targeted schedule for implementation.
Pollution Prevention: For the pollution prevention section, facilities should list any other environmental projects outside of the ones already included in the application that are ongoing or planned, including quantified reductions realized or expected and any cost savings. When reviewing each application, DEQ staff will look for:
- a dedicated pollution prevention section listing projects & accomplishments;
- quantified results and costs savings; and
- pollution prevention activities outside of significant impacts/aspects.
Pollution prevention focuses on eliminating or reducing waste at its source, as opposed to managing, disposing and/or treating a waste. Facilities of all types have shown that adopting pollution prevention approaches can lead to significant environmental results as well as cost savings. DEQ promotes pollution prevention approaches and techniques, such as source reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, toxic chemical use reduction and the use of green building concepts, through a variety of programs.