The 2005 Virginia Assembly adopted legislation that provides the legal basis for the program. The law, which became effective on July 1, 2005, outlines the structure of the program, including the levels of participation (E2, E3, and E4), requirements for participation, annual reporting requirements and potential incentives (including a provision for alternate compliance methods available to E3 and E4 participants).
What is the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP)?
There are three types of participation in the program: Environmental Enterprise, E2
, Exemplary Environmental Enterprise, E3
, and the Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise, E4
. The E2 level of participation is for facilities in the early stages of implementing an environmental management system (EMS). The E3 level of participation is for facilities with fully-implemented EMSs, pollution prevention programs and demonstrated environmental performance. The E4 level is for facilities with both fully-implemented EMSs (verified by a third party) that have committed to measures for continuous and sustainable environmental progress and community involvement. Participants at any level of the program must have a record of sustained compliance.
Who is eligible to participate in VEEP?
Any Virginia facility that impacts the environment through its operations, activities, processes, location, etc., is eligible to participate in VEEP. This includes, but is not limited to, manufacturers, commercial establishments, federal/state/local government agencies, schools, non-governmental organizations, and small businesses. Each facility must submit a separate application.
Is EPA supportive of VEEP?
In July 2000, DEQ signed a Memorandum of Agreement
with EPA Region III which outlines the agencies' commitment toward regulatory innovation and VEEP. The MOA identifies the processes and procedures that will be used to review VEEP applications as well as requests by VEEP E3 and E4 participants for regulatory flexibility.
How does DEQ define "environmental management system" (EMS)?
An "environmental management system" or an EMS is defined by Section 10.1-1187.1 of the Code of Virginia as a cohesive, comprehensive set of documented policies and procedures adopted by a facility or person and used to establish environmental goals, to meet and maintain those goals, to evaluate environmental performance and to achieve measurable or noticeable improvements in environmental performance, through planning, documented management and operational practices, operational changes, self-assessments, and management review (the term includes but is not limited to systems developed in accordance with ISO 14001).
How does DEQ define "pollution prevention" (or P2)?
Pollution prevention (P2), as defined by Section 10.1-1425.10 of the Virginia Waste Management Act
Means eliminating or reducing the use, generation or release at the source of environmental waste. Methods of pollution prevention include, but are not limited to, equipment or technology modifications; process or procedure modifications; reformulation or redesign of products; substitution of raw materials; improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training, or inventory control; and closed-loop recycling, onsite process-related recycling, reuse or extended use of any material utilizing equipment or methods which are an integral part of a production process.
The term shall not include any practice which alters the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics or the volume of an environmental waste through a process or activity which itself is not integral to and necessary for the production of a product or the providing of a service, and shall not include treatment, increased pollution control, off-site or nonprocess-related recycling, or incineration.
VEEP participation requires a "record of sustained compliance." What does that mean?
As defined by Section 10.1-1187.1 of the Code of Virginia, record of sustained compliance means that "the person or facility (i) has no judgment or conviction entered against it, or against any key personnel of the person or facility or any person with an ownership interest in the facility for a criminal violation of the environmental protection laws of the United States, the Commonwealth, or any state in the previous five years; (ii) has been neither the cause of, nor liable for, more than two significant environmental violations in the previous three years; (iii) has no unresolved notices of violations or potential violations of environmental requirements with the Department or one of the Boards; (iv) is in compliance with the terms of any order or decree, executive compliance agreement, or related enforcement measure issued by the Department, one of the Boards, or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and (v) has not demonstrated in any other way an unwillingness or inability to comply with environmental protection requirements."
What types of regulatory flexibility incentives are available to VEEP participants?
VEEP participants at the E3 and E4 levels may be eligible for approval of any alternate compliance method. As outlined in Section 10.1-1187.6 of the Code of Virginia:
"To the extent consistent with federal law and notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the Air Pollution Control Board, the Waste Management Board, and the State Water Control Board may grant alternative compliance methods to the regulations adopted pursuant to their authorities, respectively, under Sections 10.1-1308, 10.1-1402, and 62.1-44.015 for persons or facilities that have been accepted by the Department as meeting the criteria for E3 and E4 for facilities under Section 10.1-1187.3, including but not limited to changes to monitoring and reporting requirements and schedules, streamlined submission requirements for permit renewals, the ability to make certain operational changes without prior approval, and other changes that would not increase a facility's impact on the environment."
Those interested in alternate compliance methods should review the request form. Please contact Sharon Baxter for more information.