In a joint collaboration between the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District, the USACE Comprehensive Environmental Compliance Assessment Training Course was held Jan. 23-26 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Thirty-two participants collectively represented USACE Headquarters, ERDC (Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Directorate of Public Works, Environmental Laboratory, Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, and Safety and Environmental Management Office) and Vicksburg, Memphis, Tulsa, Portland and Seattle Districts. The four-day training course included discussion of USACE, Federal and State environmental compliance policies, regulations, responsibilities, and sustainability. Of the five years the training course has been conducted, this was the first time it has been hosted in Vicksburg.
The training course provided a comprehensive approach to the Environmental Review Guide for Operations for Civil Works operations and other USACE projects from a policy, process, and practical perspective. The ERGO was initiated by USACE as a comprehensive self-evaluation and program management system for achieving, maintaining, and monitoring compliance with applicable federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations at USACE facilities (including all facilities owned, leased, rented or otherwise managed by ERDC) and operating projects. The ERGO is used as a specific tool used to conduct two environmental compliance assessments – an internal (annually, except external assessment year) and external (every 5 years).
The SEMO hosted an on-site environmental assessment of three ERDC facilities which consisted of the Directorate of Public Works, the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, and the Materials Testing Center on Jan. 25. During the practical exercise, training participants learned to properly perform environmental assessments, use different assessment techniques, conduct interviews, use environmental compliance manuals, identify and write environmental findings for input into the Corps’ Compliance Processes and Tracking tool.
“Going forward, the SEMO will lead the development of a new team dedicated to maturing a deliberate and comprehensive environmental compliance program yielding environmental benefits for years to come,” said Cynthia Banks, SEMO environmental protection specialist.”