U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2 in Cooperation with Long Island University & Columbia University

Posted on July 29, 2015

Client: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 2 in cooperation with Long Island University & Columbia University
Project Type: Environmental Compliance and Best Management Practices Guidance Manual for K-12 Schools and Training Workshops

Major Components

  • Environmental Compliance and Best Management Practices Guidance Manual
    Development
  • Training Workshops

Project Description

Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus in Brookville (Long Island), in tandem with its Brooklyn Campus, collaborated with  Columbia University in developing a comprehensive environmental compliance guidance manual specifically targeting K-12 schools. D&B was tapped to provide technical assistance to develop a “user friendly” guidance manual. The firm, in consultation with the universities, took a very different approach in designing and presenting this manual.LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY & COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Compliance manuals are typically organized by regulatory program area. That format requires the user to review all of the requirements of a particular regulatory program, such as the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act, to determine if any are applicable to his or her specific department. The user must become intimately familiar with each regulatory program area before determining if the activities under his or her jurisdiction are covered by the corresponding regulations. This can be time-consuming and frustrating process!

Environmental Compliance and Best Management
Practices Manual Development

The manual was designed to be considerably more user-friendly, in that it is organized by the “target audience” or “end user.” First, D&B created a “Typical School,” a school organized the way schools are structured in the real world. Our Typical School is subdivided into “Organizational Units” which share similar functions or activities.

Next, we defined the target audience for each Organizational Unit comprising the Typical School. For example, for Administration/Business functions of the school, we identify business officials. For the Academic/Vocational functions, we identify science, art and technology teachers and supervisors. For Facilities Operations and Maintenance, as well as Grounds Maintenance, we identify appropriate maintenance workers, facility directors, and so on.MultiEnvCompTrain - K-12 Schools

Once the primary Organizational Units were identified along with the appropriate target audiences, D&B defined in greater detail the numerous activities that would likely occur within each Organizational Unit. For example, as part of the  Academic/Vocational Unit, we included Science Labs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and Preparatory/Storage Rooms, Fine Arts Labs and Art Studios, Photography Labs, Computer Labs and “Shop” programs, just to name a few.

Likewise, under the Facilities Operations and Maintenance Unit, we included Boilers, Tanks/Containers, Heating and Ventilation, Potable Water, Plumbing Shop, Electrical Shop and a wwhole host of additional departments and shops that are likely be affected by environmental regulation or have related best management practices.

For example, let’s say that you are responsible for Facilities Operation and Maintenance; more specifically, the Plumbing Shop. With your guidance manual in hand, you would simply turn to the section marked “Facility Operations and Maintenance,” and review the requirements for compliance with federal environmental regulations and the best management practices that are applicable to your situation.

Under the guiding hand of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Region 2, Long Island University was responsible for designing and developing the guidance manual for federal EPA environmental regulatory programs and best management practices, with the exception of the hazardous waste program. Columbia University was charged with tackling the hazardous waste portion of the guidance manual. EPA provided technical oversight to both universities during the manual development stage. Both Long Island University and Columbia University tapped D&B for technical assistance.LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY & COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

The firm was first retained by Long Island University to assist with the conceptual design and overall layout of the manual. Departing from the traditional approaches typically used to undertake this type of project was probably the biggest hurdle to overcome. D&B approached LIU with the innovative approach for the manual. The university liked the concept and D&B began work on drafting the manual.

D&B was next retained by Columbia University. As part of EPA Region 2’s plan, Columbia University was responsible for pulling together the hazardous waste component of the K-12 guidance manual. Of all the environmental media, this component can be one of the more difficult regulatory programs to present in a simple and ‘user-friendly’ fashion. Like Long Island University, Columbia University turned to D&B for help.

Training Workshops

During the next phase of the project, Long Island University and Columbia University joined with Pratt Institute; Raritan Valley Community College and Vassar College, with EPA Region 2’s technical oversight, to deliver the contents of the guidance manual at ten workshops throughout New York and New Jersey. Once again, D&B was retained by Long Island University and Columbia University, as well as Raritan Valley Community College and Vassar College, to extract the essential concepts of the guidance manual and to develop these into dynamic PowerPoint presentations targeting the following K-12 school personnel:

• Superintendents, principals and business officials
• Art and science teachers/supervisors
• Building and grounds supervisors
• Health and safety personnel

The workshops for the K-12 public and private school personnel were sponsored in the Fall of 2006 by the New York and New Jersey colleges and universities mentioned above with technical oversight by the EPA Region 2. The firm provided assistance with development of a brochure and website to promote the workshops and provided support regarding workshop registration. D&B also presented the technical information at the workshops in seven fast-paced sessions covering the major federal environmental programs and focusing on:

• Preventing common environmental violations at K-12 schools;
• Promoting pollution prevention and recycling through voluntary best management practices; and
• Managing school facility environmental, health and safety information in a single database using free EPA software.

Workshop attendees received a copy of the Guidance Manual for K-12 Schools and other free guidance materials on environmental regulations and best management practices targeted for K-12 school personnel.

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