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IOWA COUNTY — Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission designated the Iowa County Regional Environmental Improvement Commission as an Environmental Management System on April 18. Iowa County joins 13 other participants in the program and will begin specialized training provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Legislation in 2008 established Iowa’s Environmental Management Systems program, which trains participants in methods to operate in a more innovative, cost-effective and environmentally sensitive manner. Program participants cite improved documentation, communication and environmental compliance as additional benefits.
The program is a voluntary alternative to the Comprehensive Planning system required of Iowa’s cities and counties, who group together to make up Iowa’s 44 Solid Waste Planning Areas. Iowa County is part of the ECICOG Planning Area, which includes two other Environmental Management Systems program service area participants: Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency and the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center.
“EMS is the next step,” said Leslie Goldsmith, the DNR’s lead on the Environmental Management Systems program. “While comprehensive planning concentrates on landfill diversion, EMS helps participants put a system in place to improve overall environmental performance.”
The Environmental Management System focuses on six areas: yard waste management, hazardous household material management, water quality improvement, greenhouse gas reduction, recycling and environmental education.
In addition to training, program participants are eligible for funding to assist with Environmental Management Systems development. Program participants undergo an annual audit and are required to submit an annual report documenting performance.
Solid Waste Planning Areas and Service Areas interested in the program designation may apply annually by contacting Leslie Goldsmith at Leslie.Goldsmith@dnr.iowa.gov or 515-725-8319.