National Biosolids Partnership (NBP)

NBP Certified platinumIn the summer of 2012, L/E WWTP was accepted into a training program, sponsored by the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP), to develop and implement a Biosolids Management Program (BMP). Staff progress in program development has resulted in reaching our first goal – preparation of our BMP Manual. NBP acknowledges this accomplishment by awarding Tier 1, Bronze level recognition. This recognition demonstrates that the L/E WWTP made a commitment to the NBP Code of Good Practice, with the acknowledged goal of implementing the 17 NBP Biosolids Management Program Elements and obtaining independent verification of the organization’s BMP.  In January 2013, the plant achieved Gold Level Recognition.  The plant is the first of the new class of BMP Environmental Management System trainees to achieve this distinction.  In December 2013, the plant achieved Platinum Level Recognition.  This designation recognizes that the BMS meets the NBP program requirements and supports excellence in biosolids management practices, augments regulatory compliance, advances environmental performance, and provides meaningful opportunities for public participation.

 

What is the National Biosolids Partnership?

In 1997, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) [formerly the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies], Water Environment Federation (WEF) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP). The NBP is a not-for-profit alliance whose purpose is to endorse environmentally sound and sustainable biosolids management practices that build public confidence within local communities.

What is the NBP’s Environmental Management System Program?

The NBP has sponsored several initiatives designed to advance responsible biosolids management practices within the water quality profession with the goal of enhancing the environmental performance and public perception of biosolids management programs. The cornerstone of these initiatives has been the development and implementation of the NBP’s National Environmental Management System (EMS) Program. The NBP strongly believes that wastewater agencies and their biosolids contractors will benefit from implementing an EMS as part of their overall management program.

What are the goals of NBP’s EMS Program?

  • To endorse environmentally sound and sustainable biosolids management practices that build public confidence in local communities.
  • To help program participants demonstrate to their communities that they are committed to go beyond meeting regulatory requirements and to explain how they are working to improve their environmental performance.
  • To help program participants involve their communities in defining improved performance or areas that still require attention.


What are the benefits of implementing an EMS for biosolids?

The potential benefits of adopting an EMS are numerous and include improved regulatory compliance, enhanced environmental performance, increased efficiency, reduced cost, pollution prevention, improved consistency and quality of biosolids materials and improved relations with local communities.

What are the NBP Blueprint documents?

The NBP has created the following four Blueprint documents to assist biosolids organizations implement an EMS for biosolids:

Code of Good Practice: sets forth ten broad principles that govern the operation of sustainable biosolids management programs. Organizations that commit to the Code have pledged to “do the right thing”.

Elements of an EMS for Biosolids (EMS Elements): define the specific expectations and requirements, grouped into 17 “elements”, that the NBP believes to be important for ensuring that biosolids management activities are performed in an environmentally sound and publicly accepted manner. The EMS Elements define the specific expectations and requirements that an auditor will use to verify that an organization’s environmental management system meets the NBP’s EMS Program requirements.

Biosolids EMS Guidance Manual: a “how to” document that provides guidance on the development and implementation of a biosolids EMS. It provides information on the NBP’s program, its benefits, and a suggested approach, along with specific instructions about and examples of what an organization will need to do to achieve success.

National Manual of Good Practice: a “how to” document that describes the full range of practices available to any facility wishing to implement an EMS for biosolids. The menu approach of the Manual encourages voluntary participation by allowing agencies to assemble the mixture of practices and procedures that are most appropriate for their individual agency. The Manual is available from the NBP and is intended to be used as a reference and guide on developing and implementing an EMS.

What is the purpose of third party verification?

To support the goal of environmentally sound and publicly accepted biosolids management practices, the NBP has developed an independent, third party EMS verification component of its EMS Program. Organizations interested in receiving formal recognition of their EMS and of their participation in the NBP’s biosolids EMS program must achieve verification of their EMS through the NBP’s third party verification program. The third party verification program includes the following objectives:

  • Ensure that the environmental management systems of participating biosolids organizations meet the expectations and requirements established by the NBP.
  • Verify that EMS activities at participating organizations are being implemented in practice, as well as on paper.
  • Assure environmentally sound performance of biosolids management practices.
  • Increase public trust and confidence in biosolids management practices.

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