training to waste minimization initiatives and the construction of improved waste treatment facilities. Efforts are made to link with other Eastman organizations and to align with other environmental improvement projects. Projects are then implemented, and customers are informed of the anticipated improvements.
The next step in the cycle is to check for improvements resulting from the water-quality initiatives. For many industries that practice QMP, this check step is accomplished by reviewing readily available measures, such as discharge monitoring reports, that might provide data on improvements in compliance with discharge permits. These measures are also used by Eastman. However, Eastman has gone beyond these measures and now makes periodic river studies an important feature of its water-quality management system.
Eastman has turned to a third party, the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS) of Philadelphia, to conduct these studies. The academy, founded in 1812, is a world-renowned, nonprofit institution dedicated to environmental research and natural-history education. Over the years, ANS has completed a total of 15 river studies at Eastman's four major plant sites.
These river studies include the collection of chemical, physical, and biological data at locations upstream and downstream of the manufacturing facilities. Special attention is placed on evaluating the resident populations of algae, aquatic plants, noninsect macroinvertebrates, insects, and fish. Through the years, the design of the river assessment has evolved from an emphasis on species richness to a balance between population dynamics and community interactions. These changes are consistent with the early assessments yet allow for more robust program designs that support rigorous statistical analyses.
Results of the river studies have been communicated to Eastman's customers, including the public and regulatory authorities. It is through this communication that the benefits of the studies are realized. Improved understanding of water-quality issues is then incorporated into the next iteration of the continual improvement cycle.
ANS river studies are designed to assess the overall health of a river that receives discharges from a facility. Much like a medical checkup, certain indicators are evaluated as the basis for the assessment. The studies focus on components of biological communities that have been shown to be the most sensitive indicators of environmental quality (Schindler, 1987). If abnormalities are detected in one or more of the indicators, additional more-focused studies are recommended. To be properly implemented, the third-party reviews need to be scheduled every 4 to 5 years, depending on the nature of the commercial operation.
The indicators are represented by groups of organisms that reflect different functions in the aquatic community. These groups have varying strengths and weaknesses that, when properly assembled in a program, can be complementary