First Environment performed multi-media environmental compliance audits and ISO 14001 GEMS audit services at seven medical centers within VISN 18. The size of the facilities included in the review ranged from 325,000 – 1,150,000 sq ft. We audited each facility’s compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local environmental regulations and EOs using U.S. TEAM Guides and state audit protocols. The operational scope of the audits included hazardous waste management, including universal and pharmaceutical wastes; storage tanks (both ASTs and USTs); drinking water wells; laboratories; patient care facilities; in/outpatient pharmacies; sterile supply and materials management; recycling operations; and biomedical waste disposal practices.
The GEMS assessments were performed to verify that each site management system conformed to the requirements of EO 13423 and ISO 14001:2004, and to determine if the GEMS had been implemented as planned. The scope also included an assessment of the effectiveness of GEMS implementation at the facility, and an examination of how the GEMS was operating at the site. Following the audits, the assessment team entered its findings into the VA’s electronic database, CP-Track, and provided the facilities with an opportunity to review and comment on the findings. The project was completed on-time and within budget.