Fermilab environmental program receives international recognition

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  • Kurt Riesselmann, Fermilab Office of Communication, media@fnal.gov, 630-840-3351

Batavia, Ill. — Restoring a native prairie and recycling material are just two examples of the environmentally friendly activities run by the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The highlight, however, is a management philosophy at the core of the laboratory that goes far beyond. On October 11, Fermilab officially received international recognition of its environmentally sound management practices at a small ceremony at the lab.

NSF International Strategic Registrations, represented at the ceremony by William Rutledge, awarded Fermilab with the ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system. NSF International Strategic Registrations is a company that provides management systems registrations worldwide.

“This is a notable achievement for Fermilab,” said Bill Griffing, director of Environment, Safety & Health at Fermilab. “We have a reputation for environmental excellence in the United States. The ISO 14001 registration puts our name on a list of corporations recognized internationally for their excellent environmental management systems.”

For many years, Fermilab’s commitment to the environment has gone beyond meeting its obligations under federal, state and local regulations. The laboratory’s dedication to reducing its impact on the environment crosses all levels of organization, including major project planning, how individuals perform their daily activities, and waste-saving opportunities offered to visitors when they come to the laboratory.

Recent improvements at Fermilab include better recycling opportunities for various types of material and working with neighboring communities to compost brush picked up at their curbsides. Fermilab also participates in the Federal Electronics Challenge to manage and recycle electronic items.

The ISO 14001 standards require an organization to meet a stringent set of criteria. The organization must have an infrastructure and management plan that allows it to comply with environmental laws and standards, to improve its environmental performance and to achieve measurable environmental objectives.

An ISO 14001-certified organization must have an environmental management system that assesses the environmental impacts of all activities taking place across the organization, from the planning of major new projects to the daily activities of workers. Managers must communicate with their employees about environmental aspects of their work and look at ways to minimize the environmental impact of daily activities.

“We’ve had many components of an environmental management system in place for some time,” said Paul Kesich, manager of the Environmental Protection Team at Fermilab. “In 2006, we decided to seek ISO 14001 certification to strengthen our system and to gain more credibility. We developed the missing components and began the registration process. The laboratory went through three audits, including a weeklong onsite audit conducted by two NSF International Strategic Registrations representatives.”

Fermilab is a national laboratory funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy, operated by the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC. The DOE Office of Science is the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation. Fermilab is home to the Tevatron, the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator, and is a leader in the development of accelerator technology since the laboratory’s founding in 1967.