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EPIC+

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Top 10 Violations – An Evolution

THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO CUPA IS SELECTED TO IMPLEMENT A PROGRESSIVE PILOT PROJECT UNDER CALEPA’S PROGRAM ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION INDICATORS FOR CALIFORNIA.

Cal/EPA’s Strategic Vision of July 2000 and AB 1360 require the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to: “Develop and Maintain a System of Environmental Indicators”. The County of San Diego CUPA was one of two CUPAs selected to conduct a pilot project that would identify and measure environmental indicators on a select industry type. Through the implementation of this project, the County of San Diego CUPA aimed at improving Unified Program compliance through education.

Close collaboration with the Biotech and Research and Development Industry was essential in the development, testing and implementation of this innovative program. To this effect, an industry-CUPA workgroup was promptly established.

The workgroup used a simple strategy to measure effectiveness; focus on a narrow set of indicators (selected violations) in an industry sector and establish a baseline count of violations per inspection. Workgroup collaboration included development of a training program to calibrate industry and regulators; promotion and hosting of workshops in areas close to biotech and research labs to enhance business participation; sponsoring clean up language to state and county law to clarify requirements; and the implementation of process improvements to facilitate compliance and better allocate resources. The project clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of education and process improvements in attaining compliance.

Thanks to the enthusiastic collaboration in the workgroup from trade associations like BIOCOM and the Industrial Environmental Association, the pilot project was successfully completed and the program evolved into the Education, Process Improvements, and Compliance for Environmental Risk Reduction (EPIC+) Program.

The workgroup collaborators (the CUPA, BIOCOM and the Industrial Environmental Association) have all received awards and recognition for successful implementation of the project. Additionally, the Canadian Ministry of the Environment has inquired into the project's implementation.

Goal:

To reduce the most common hazardous waste, medical waste and hazardous materials violations found in the Biotech and R&D industry sector. The program is open to facilities primarily engaged in biotechnology and laboratory testing in the County of San Diego.

Objectives:

(1) Demonstrate that education and outreach can be effective tools in obtaining compliance from the regulated community; and
(2) Establish a risk-based inspection process that can be used to assist in directing resources to areas of high risk and non-compliance.

Results:

After 2006, violations were reduced by 56%. In 2007, the CUPA established a risk-based inspection process and began enrolling participants. 

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