New Construction Stormwater General Permit

November 24, 2015
By Brian Schefke

The Washington Department of Ecology has reissued the Construction Stormwater General Permit, which will take effect on January 1, 2016. If you’re a business engaged in construction activities like excavating or grading, your activities disturb one or more acres of land, and you discharge stormwater, you must be covered by the permit. In particular, construction site operators need to control sediment buildup and soil erosion in order to limit the discharge of sediments in stormwater, as such discharge can be harmful to aquatic plants and animals.

Freer Consulting Co. can assist you with all aspects of the regulatory process, from …

ISO 9001:2015 and 14001:2015 Now Published

September 30, 2015
By Brian Schefke

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has now published the final versions of the ISO 9001:2015 and 14001:2015 standards. A quick summary of the changes is in our July blog post. For more information, please see the ISO website.

If you have questions about ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 or would like to know more about how to become certified in international and industry standards, contact Freer Consulting at (206) 285-9044 or

Preparing for Fall Stormwater

August 26, 2015
By Brian Schefke

Although fall is still a few weeks away, it isn’t too early for Washington stormwater permittees to prepare for the rain to return. This is particularly important due to this year’s exceptionally dry summer in the Pacific Northwest. Dry conditions cause pollutants to build up, which creates the potential for a “first flush” effect—high concentrations of pollutants in stormwater discharge in the first storm event following a long dry period. The Industrial Stormwater General Permit requires permittees to collect stormwater samples during the first storm event on or after October 1. Because of this year’s conditions, it is likely that …

ISO 9001 & 14001 Approaching Final Revisions for 2015

July 7, 2015
By Brian Schefke

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) plans to issue revisions to the 9001 and 14001 standards by the end of 2015. These standards relate to quality management systems (9001) and environmental management systems (14001). Organizations certified in either of these standards must attain compliance by the end of the transition period, which is three years from the revision’s issue date. It is imperative to prepare for the new versions as soon as practical—when the transition period is over, the old versions are no longer valid and registrars will begin auditing to the new standards. Certified organizations should check with their …

EPA Issues the 2015 Multi-Sector General Permit and Clean Water Rule

June 22, 2015
By Brian Schefke

The EPA uses the 2015 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP), a part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), to regulate pollutant levels in stormwater discharges from industrial facilities. The MSGP applies to areas of the United States where the EPA is the NPDES permitting authority; in most parts of the country however, state governments hold this authority. When seeking permit coverage, check with your state’s environmental regulatory agency to determine the correct permitting authority and how to obtain coverage. All MSGP applicants—both new and previously covered under the 2008 permit—must file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with …

Standard Operating Procedures

May 19, 2015
By Brian Schefke

Customers expect consistent delivery of high quality products and services—an ongoing challenge for every business. It is important that each employee, from management to the front line, understands their duties, and the proper way to accomplish them. For this reason, many businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs ensure consistent quality of products and services, employee safety, regulatory compliance, and continuous improvement of business processes.

An SOP is a process document that describes the steps of a business operation and how to perform them. For example, a firm’s customer service department might have an SOP on …

Low Input Viticulture and Enology

April 1, 2015
By Brian Schefke

Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) is a non-profit organization that promotes environmentally friendly practices for vineyards and wineries through education and certification using international standards in sustainable viticulture and enology practices. Nearly 300 vineyards and 40 wineries in Oregon and Washington are enrolled in LIVE. The program recently expanded to include Idaho and British Columbia.
To be LIVE certified, vineyards must join the program and undergo inspections in each of the first two years of membership. Vineyards must also annually report their agricultural inputs such as:

• Pesticides
• Irrigation
• Fertilizers

Similarly, wineries that join LIVE must undergo …

Process Mapping Enables Good Enterprise Resource Planning

February 27, 2015
By Brian Schefke

Wise businesses think carefully before going through the effort and expense to procure and/or upgrade an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system.  In this blog post, we incorporate lessons from management systems implementation to make the case that businesses should map their business processes out prior to selecting an ERP system.  There are two key points to consider if your business is considering an ERP system purchase.  First, how can you accurately plan for an ERP implementation if you do not know the scope and boundaries of your business processes?  Business process mapping provides the answer to the scope and …

New ISGP Takes Effect January 2015

January 6, 2015
By Brian Schefke

A reminder to Washington Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP) holders: a new ISGP was issued on December 3, 2014 and went into effect on January 2, 2015. We encourage you to review the new permit, as it contains changes that may affect your business. A summary of the most significant changes can be found here. They include:

• Additional SWPPP requirements.
• Continuation of consistent attainment from the previous permit. Once consistent attainment for a parameter is achieved, the permit holder may suspend testing for that parameter for up to three years.
• Additional sampling requirements for specific …