Numerous companies struggle with the complexities of collecting and managing environmental data. With several facilities and many required reports, the task can become extremely time-consuming and challenging.

One solution is an Environmental Management Information System (EMIS). The system collects data in one easy-to-access location to provide more than just the required regulatory reports for its facilities. This same data also is used within an EMIS to assist facilities in improving their overall business performance by measuring and comparing environmental, engineering, and operational indicators.

An EMIS is an electronic tool utilized to assist facilities in maintaining compliance with their environmental regulatory requirements. The EMIS provides a single source for storing and calculating the quantifiable data needed to meet environmental compliance monitoring, recordkeeping, and regulatory reporting requirements‹thus complementing a corporation¹s Environmental Management System.

A user-friendly set of spreadsheets and databases comprise an EMIS, allowing an organization to enter air, water, and land data into one system for multiple facilities, eliminating the redundancy often encountered by manually entering data into several reporting systems. For example, the quantity of a raw material often is needed for both air emission inventory reporting, as well as toxic release inventory reporting.

Facility and corporate staff can access EMIS data from a common location, allowing access to real-time data and historical data. Access to historical data within an EMIS also provides corporations with trending capabilities. Without an EMIS, corporations typically manually compile this data by collecting it from each facility. Using an EMIS, this data is entered only once but is used for multiple purposes. This also allows a corporation to compare data against previous years and among several facilities.

In addition, an EMIS can and should be used to track and manage internal risk reduction programs, cost-saving opportunities, and efficiency improvements. It can be used to provide a link among engineering, operations, and compliance, resulting in an immediate return on investment.
It can track quantifiable pollution prevention goals, ISO 14001 objectives and targets, and the cost savings associated with these improvements. For example, utility costs for raw water, wastewater, electricity, and natural gas can be tracked in an EMIS. These cost savings can be realized by implementing improvements that not only decrease environmental releases, but also improve operating efficiencies. This data can then be compared against production, over periods of time, and among various operating facilities.

An EMIS also can store an environmental calendar and audit data. An environmental calendar stores notifications and reminders for the deadlines of a facility¹s environmental regulatory requirements. A calendar feature within an EMIS also provides a single documented source for a corporation to show it¹s completed these requirements. Audit program data also can be stored in an EMIS, adding significant value when compared to individual audit reports. Quantifiable audit scorecard data can be tracked for environmental compliance, management systems, and pollution prevention/energy efficiency audits. Storing this data in one location also assists facilities with integrating these audit programs. IBI