Aerial view of Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center

Outsourcing Environmental Management on the Florida Space Coast

Summary | ten minute read | This article covers both the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing Environmental Management and “How to Outsource Right.” But before you read further, here’s a fundamental question:

“Is environmental management a core capability for your organization?”

The answer is generally “no” for aerospace companies on the Space Coast, so many organizations outsource Environmental Management. However, it’s tempting to assign Environmental Management to an existing employee as a part-time activity. The problem is that Environmental Management requires a high level of expertise and a commitment to staying current with regulatory changes. Finding qualified personnel to fill these positions is challenging. Training staff to do the job is expensive and time-consuming.

So, please read further if you’re seeking to accelerate the permitting process, lower the cost of compliance, and reduce the risk of being non-compliant by outsourcing Environmental Management to experienced professionals.

Top Five Advantages of Outsourcing Environmental Compliance

  1. Pay only for what you need. Bring in professionals that know the permitting process for your area and industry. Avoid the overhead of full-time staff.
  2. Reduce the risk of being fined or shut down by regulators.
  3. Keep projects on schedule by avoiding costly delays resulting from rejected permits and the resubmission process.
  4. Avoid the cost of funding infrastructure to support compliance – the software, hardware, network of suppliers, and equipment.
  5. Use a trusted third party to establish a record of compliance to discourage lawsuits by environmental activists.

Top Five Disadvantages of Outsourcing Environmental Compliance

  1. Loss of control over the compliance process.
  2. The consulting firm you select may not share the same passion for your mission resulting in a cultural misalignment.
  3. Unexpected hidden costs that weren’t disclosed during the proposal process.
  4. Requisite disclosure of company information to a consultant.
  5. Managing the Environmental Management consultant agreement.

Is Outsourcing Right for You?

This decision comes down to a cost-benefit analysis that is not purely a financial exercise. When outsourcing Environmental Management lowers risk, expedites compliance, and is cost-effective, then outsourcing makes sense. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Have I compared the cost of in-house environmental compliance services with outsourcing?
  • Am I willing to accept the risk of non-compliance, fines, and loss of reputation by going it alone?
  • Are you a small-source generator or a large-source generator?

If violations have occurred or projects are languishing because of pending or rejected permits, you should consider outsourcing sooner rather than later (contact Nelson to help).

How to Outsource Right

First, select a professional services firm with local knowledge of the Space Coast, the aerospace industry, and the regulatory agencies. The firm you select needs to have subject matter expertise including licensed professional engineers (PE) on staff to sign and seal documents. At a minimum, you want someone with experience at these key locations:

  • NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Patrick Space Force Base

The selected firm should have experience with these regulatory agencies and their processes:

  • NASA and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • U.S. Space Force “fence-to-fence” requirements
  • St. John’s River Water Management District
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Successful onsite project performance with aerospace clients on federal and state government land is a requirement. Being local to the Space Coast is necessary to facilitate re-occurring face-to-face meetings while compliance projects are underway.

Once you have the right partner, you need a suitable contract. The contract ensures there aren’t any surprises. At a minimum, the agreement protects both parties and defines:

Your contractor selection process should ensure there’s a cultural fit between your organization and the consultant. And a good contract managed well eliminates the disadvantages of outsourcing Environmental Management.

What Can Be Outsourced?

  • Hazardous Waste and Disposal Determination Procedures
  • Multi-Media Regulatory Compliance Assessments and Improvement Plans
  • Pollution Prevention (P2) Plans
  • Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans
  • Integrated Contingency Plans
  • Development of Recordkeeping and Reporting Systems
  • Development of Compliance Guides and Plans
  • Emergency Response Plans (ERP)
  • Accidental Release and Risk Management Plan Preparation
  • Environmental Management Plans (EMP)
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Compliance
  • Hazardous Waste and Tank Inspections
  • Environmental Audit Inspections and Recommendations

Your Environmental Management professional’s existing relationships with environmental technicians and laboratories are table stakes. Trust your consultant to evaluate results from the lab and make the data actionable for compliance. Your consulting firm’s network is key to maintaining a successful Environmental Management program.

About Nelson Engineering Co.

Founded in 1993, Nelson Engineering Co. is a small, employee-owned engineering firm headquartered in Merritt Island, FL. Since inception, we’ve performed safety and environmental management services for aerospace clients on the Space Coast.

We blend the preparation of drawings and specifications, engineering studies, cost estimates, scheduling, environmental assessments and remediation, design reports, master planning, construction support with lifecycle asset management expertise. We employ nearly 100 professionals in the environmental, safety, mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical, industrial, and aerospace disciplines.

Nelson Engineering has worked at 16 NASA centers and sites. We hold four (4) prime contracts with NASA. We support major commercial aerospace clients on the Space Coast.

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