What Does an Environmental Compliance Manager Do?

Many people have heard of the term “environmental compliance manager,” but few understand what the job really entails. Since the Flint water crisis, these managers have become integral to keeping companies, and in some cases, local authorities, in check for environmental breaches. Here is a quick primer on what these managers do and why their work is so important to public health.

Ethics And Compliance

Environmental compliance managers work on specific issues, mainly those that have to do with environmental concerns, such as:

  • pollution
  • gas and chemical leaks
  • oil spills

They work in:

  • companies that handle hazardous materials
  • government agencies
  • watchdog groups to ensure that the federal laws remain upheld to ensure protocols are met

In America, the majority of these managers work within government agencies as the local, state, and federal level. Their primary concern is to investigate and report any breaches of federal law. They also work hand-in-hand with the appropriate authorities to help enforce laws. In some cases, these managers move on to work as advocates in the private sector.

Investigate Breaches

Managers in this capacity are scientists and investigators. Their main responsibility is to ensure that any environmental ethics law is investigated thoroughly. They are tasked with using scientific tools to measure the severity of the breach. This can include collecting samples from water, soil, or other types of evidence. They must also analyze the samples they collect for any chemicals that are deemed harmful to the human or animal population in the area. Finally, if they do uncover a violation, it is their duty to attempt to measure the severity of the violation. Environmental breach of compliance codes can sometimes take years to reveal the full impact of the breach.

Report To Senior Level Management

In the event that a breach is found, environmental compliance managers must do a full report of the extent of the violation. This can include:

  • their scientific results
  • their ability to measure how the violation may affect the populations in the area
  • what, if any, long-term impact may come about because of the breach

If licenses and permits held by companies expire, they are tasked with listing the length of time between the expiration of the documents to when the breach was uncovered. They must also be aware of the regulations and laws set forth for environmental compliance. The strength of the violation may require a recommendation for punishment.

Decide Consequences For Breaches of Ethical Code

Environmental compliance managers are considered critical in deciding the consequences of the environmental law breach. Because their work uncovered the breach, they are also expected to make a recommendation, based on law, as to what the punishment for the breach might be. The consequences could be as minor as administering written citations to requesting jail time for those who are ultimately responsible for the breach. If an environmental breach reaches criminal court, these managers are also called as witnesses. They usually work on behalf of the prosecution, as they most likely work for the government.

It is common knowledge that environmental challenges hinder the way people work and live. When a breach happens, it’s vital that compliance managers are able to do their job effectively and rectify the situation as quickly as possible. Now that we’ve covered an environmental compliance manager does, passionate individuals can learn more to see if this career path is a good fit for them.