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Facility Environmental Management System



This is the Web site of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) facility Environmental Management System (EMS). This site provides information and resources related to TFHRC's facility EMS and its stewardship of the environment. What is an EMS?

An EMS is the process used by an organization to manage, review, correct, and improve the organization’s impact on the environment. An EMS offers a structured way to incorporate environmental considerations into day-to-day operations; it promotes continual improvement of the environment and human health. Essentially, an EMS brings together the people, policies, plans, review mechanisms, and procedures used to manage environmental issues at a facility or in an organization. Important EMS elements include continual improvement, management commitment, formalization, and awareness of a systems-based approach.

As the foremost highway transportation research facility in the Nation, the TFHRC leads the way in pursuit of knowledge to improve transportation infrastructure, operations, and safety. The EMS assists TFHRC in considering the environmental consequences of its activities and setting goals for reducing or mitigating adverse impacts. Finally, an EMS challenges and empowers individual employees to make environmentally friendly decisions in their day-to-day activities.


TFHRC’s Commitment to EMS

TFHRC provides FHWA and the world highway community with advanced research and development related to new highway technologies. TFHRC is committed to providing solutions for complex technical problems through the development of more economical, environmentally sensitive designs; more efficient, quality controlled constructions practices; and more durable materials. The end result is a safer, more reliable highway transportation system TFHRC is also committed to conducting its operations in an environmentally responsible manner using an EMS. This systematic, proactive approach to managing environmental issues helps protect the safety and health of TFHRC’s employees and contractors; embraces the concerns of neighborhoods, communities, and society as a whole; ensures compliance with Federal, State and local regulations; reduces the potential for operational disruptions; and demonstrates our overall commitment to environmental protection.


Stepping Toward a Greener Future

This program requires an annual self audit to ensure that we are properly implementing our EMS. The audit is designed to focus on those activities of greatest environmental importance within our mission, and provides an assessment of the TFHRC conformance with our EMS. The TFHRC EMS currently identifies three specific environmental management processes (EMPs) for focused attention:


  • The TFHRC researchers are taking actions to make the labs sustainable. In an effort to reduce chemical waste, the Chemical Use Team is targeting and prioritizing specific TFHRC laboratory chemical waste streams for reduction efforts. TFHRC researchers are encouraged to reduce the purchase and use of the targeted chemicals and replace these chemicals with greener alternatives when possible.
  • The facility in its efforts towards Universal Waste Management has recycled 5564 fluorescent lamp feet (100 percent recycling target), 61 lead acid batteries (100 percent recycling target), and 3.7 tons of commercial office mix (paper, newspaper, books), .56 tons of commingled cans and bottles, and .48 tons of grade 3 material (newspapers containing less than 5 percent of other paper. Warehouse space and secondary storage has been defined for these efforts; facility awareness is provided regarding the facilities recycling mission; and funding is provided in order to meet EMP targets.
  • To minimize environmental damage from oil spills and achieve compliance with regulatory requirements, we have provided designated facility storage areas and secondary containment; performed routine inspections, and developed emergency response plans for fuel/oil products utilized at TFHRC. Oil recycling efforts have produced 330 gallons of product this year.


Additionally, TFHRC laboratory managers were challenged to evaluate energy and water efficiencies and recycling, and to consider implementing more sustainable practices. For example, laboratory managers were asked to consider greener alternatives for certain hazardous chemicals and to become more aware of other ways to help minimize the environmental impact of laboratories at TFHRC. For more information about or to participate in any of these efforts, please e-mail tfhrcgreen@dot.gov.


History of EMS

Formal environmental management systems emerged in the early 1990s to provide organizations with a proactive, systematic approach for managing the potential environmental consequences of their operations. Such systems have been widely adopted by industry and Government, and have been effective at improving regulatory compliance and environmental performance.

Current Federal guidance provides a holistic approach to integrating energy, environment, and human health considerations into mission implementation, and sets aggressive goals for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, acquisition, pollution prevention/recycling, high-performance buildings, fleet management, and electronics stewardship. The TFHRC EMS was set up in 2008 in compliance with the following:


  • Executive Order (E.O.) 13148, “Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management,” established a 5-year EMS implementation goal for all Federal facilities.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 5641.1A, “DOT Internal Environmental Management Systems,” establishes the Department’s implementation of Federal EMS requirements
  • Executive Order (EO) 13423, “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” consolidates all previous guidance and policy, including EO 13148, into a single Order.



Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center Facility Overview


» Turner-Fairbank Highway
Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101
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Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101