VA VISN 21
In late 2011 and early 2012 EI performed on-site environmental compliance and green environmental management systems (GEMS) audits at ten U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Sierra Pacific Network (VISN 21) locations including medical centers in San Francisco, CA; Honolulu, HI; Manila, Philippines and Reno, NV. Over 100 buildings were assessed for compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Led by national experts in environmental compliance and environmental management systems, EI used broad and practical knowledge of regulations related to air emissions, ozone depleting substances, petroleum storage, wastewater, asbestos, lead-based paint, Environmental Safety and Occupational Health (ESOH) documentation, hazardous waste and medical waste to support the VA in their pursuit of improved compliance and effective GEMS programming. EI auditors inspected each site’s facilities, interviewed VA personnel, reviewed permits, checked records, and researched regulations prior to entering all positive and negative findings into an online, electronic tracking program for use throughout the VA. EI auditors provided a findings report for each facility and took care to identify not only areas of non-compliance, but also areas of success and ideas for improved environmental management practices. EI was available to each facility’s compliance and GEMS coordinator for discussion of findings and ideas. The audits left VA facilities with the steps to improve regulatory compliance and innovative methods to enhance their GEMS practices.