The audit team, led by third-party independent evaluators from DOE headquarters and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), conducted an extensive evaluation of the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) and Savannah River Remediation (SRR) environmental programs, including environmental regulatory compliance, direct environmental operations, and significant environmental protection and remediation projects and activities. SRNS is the site’s management and operations contractor and SRR is EM’s liquid waste contractor at SRS.
The final audit report to the contractors concluded that the environmental management system conforms to standards set by the ISO, as well as both organizations’ environmental protection requirements set forth by DOE and other regulatory agencies. The report describes the contractor programs as “robust” and states that all focus areas “appear to be professionally managed, well-coordinated, and operationally effective.”
“SRNS is proud of our environmental program that strives to restore and protect the land, water, and air at SRS and our surrounding communities,” said Rick Sprague, SRNS senior vice president, environmental stewardship, safety, health, and quality assurance. “The audit findings verify that we remain on the right path in this important area of our work.”
Patricia Allen, SRR director, environment, safety, health, and quality and contractor assurance, said the audit report shows the liquid waste work conducted by SRR is being handled safely while demonstrating adherence to all policies and procedures designed to protect people, the environment, and the plant.
“Cleaning and closing waste tanks are mammoth-sized jobs that SRR understands and executes well,” Allen said. “This independent audit highlights how seriously we take our work, particularly how well we protect workers, the community, and the environment. And that’s the way it should be. We live here, too.”
In addition to achieving conformance with ISO standards, the successful completion of the audit ensures that the SRNS and SRR environmental management system meets DOE expectations outlined in a DOE order that requires contractors develop and implement an environmental management system that is certified to, or conforms with, the ISO standard.
“Despite our ability to sustain a 'robust' environmental management system, the desired outcome of any third-party evaluation is to identify opportunities to continuously improve. SRNS is a learning organization that appreciates the feedback provided by independent experts. The auditors provided four opportunities for improvement, and we look forward to implementing their suggestions to further strengthen our environmental management systems posture,” said Sprague.
The audit is performed every three years for SRNS and SRR. It is conducted both onsite and in remote locations and consists of inspections, personnel interviews, and facility visits.
ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 165 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.
To receive the latest news and updates about the Office of Environmental Management, submit your e-mail address.