White Paper: Connecting the Dots for Compliance at Ports

December 2, 2016
By Brian Schefke

Check out our latest White Paper, “Connecting the Dots for Compliance at Ports, by Freer analyst Nick Lowe-Hale and featured in BC Shipping News!…

Freer Town Halls in October

October 20, 2016
By Brian Schefke

Join Freer Consulting, Hal Calbom, and Sustainable Media Partners for our Town Halls on Best Practices and Integrated Compliance Systems on October 26 and 27.

The October 26 Town Hall will be held at the Port of Morrow Riverfront Center in Boardman, OR. The October 27 Town Hall will be held at the Courtyard Richland Columbia Point in Richland, WA. Both Town Halls will feature a complimentary buffet with bar service. We hope to see you there!…

White Paper: Mitigating Excel Risk via an Enterprise Risk Management Solution

August 31, 2016
By Brian Schefke

If your business uses Microsoft Excel to manage and process data, you could be incurring risks such as inaccurate financial statements, client overcharges, and nonconformance to standards. These risks often go undetected and can ultimately harm your business. To find out how Freer Consulting can help you improve your risk management, download our White Paper, “Mitigating Excel Risk via an Enterprise Risk Management Solution”.

If you are interested in learning more about Freer’s risk management consulting services, contact us at (206) 285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.…

Phase I Municipal Stormwater Permit Revised

July 29, 2016
By Brian Schefke

The Washington State Department of Ecology has issued a revised Phase I Municipal Stormwater Permit that will go into effect on August 19, 2016. Developed as part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), the Phase I permit regulates stormwater discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) in incorporated cities with populations of over 100,000 and in unincorporated counties with populations greater than 250,000.

The main changes in the permit include:

  • Incorporation of municipal stormwater programs that provide equivalent or better protection of receiving waters as compared with the minimum technical requirements as stipulated in Appendix 1 of

QMS vs. BMS

June 30, 2016
By Brian Schefke

Increasingly, businesses are implementing a quality management system (QMS) that meets the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard, since potential customers often require certification in ISO 9001. If your business has a QMS, it’s worth considering a shift in focus from maintaining a QMS to developing a business management system (BMS). Doing so doesn’t require you to change your business practices; rather, a BMS can enhance your current practices by providing for accountability and continual improvement.

The BMS concept entails focusing on your current business processes while conforming to standards like ISO 9001. For example, your business processes may include:…

EPA Issues Draft Construction General Permit

April 21, 2016
By Brian Schefke

Construction activities can have a significant impact on stormwater discharges. Stormwater flows through construction zones pick up sediment, oil and grease, heavy metals and other pollutants, which are ultimately deposited into receiving waters. In order to limit pollutants in stormwater, construction that disturbs one or more acres of land requires permit coverage, either under the Construction General Permit (CGP) administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or by a state regulatory agency.

The EPA has issued a draft CGP that is available for public comment through May 26, 2016. Once the draft CGP is made final, it will replace the …

The SPCC Rule

March 11, 2016
By Brian Schefke

If your business stores oil on site, you may be subject to the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule. The intent of this rule, established in 1973, is to prevent oil spills from reaching navigable waters and nearby shorelines, as well as to mitigate any direct spills in water and shoreline areas.

A facility is subject to the SPCC Rule if:

• The total aggregate aboveground capacity of the facility’s oil containers is greater than 1,320 gallons, and/or;
• The total aggregate capacity of the facility’s buried oil storage containers is greater than 42,000 gallons.

To comply …

Internal Audits – Objective and Competent

February 9, 2016
By Carrie Salters

Internal audits, while necessary, are often dreaded by companies that conduct or receive them for a few reasons:

• The auditor’s responsibilities are time consuming—they schedule, conduct, and provide a detailed report of each audit to management.
• The auditees often feel interrogated by the auditor.
• It can be difficult to find a qualified and objective auditor.

Internal audits may be conducted by a delegation of employees or by a third party auditor. In either case, the auditor must be objective when conducting audits. Depending on the size of the company, it can be difficult to find a group …

ISO 9001:2015 – Leadership Commitment

January 23, 2016
By Brian Schefke

Many companies struggle with implementing ISO 9001 without upper management’s leadership. Businesses seeking certification in the latest revision of the ISO 9001 standard should understand the importance of top management being committed to the standard and maintaining compliance with it. Section 5.1 of ISO 9001:2015 stipulates the ways in which management should exhibit leadership with respect to their company’s quality management system. Among the requirements are:

• taking accountability for the effectiveness of the system;
• ensuring the integration of the system into the company’s processes;
• communicating the importance of the quality management system and conforming to its requirements;…