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TUGA Times

August 20, 2010

EPA Self Audit:

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents (BOR) is conducting an EPA Self Audit of the entire university system. The UGA Tifton Campus had a partial inspection conducted on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and a preliminary report on findings was given Thursday morning. There seems to be a bit of confusion about the audit and I will try to provide some clarification.

This is NOT an inspection by EPA. The BOR sends a team consisting of a BOR employee and one or more hired consultants. They use EPA guidelines to inspect the premises and identify and report deficiencies. Deficiencies are not subject to fines or legal action, so in a sense this is a ‘friendly’ inspection. A final report will be furnished to the EPA by the audit team in April 2011. We will have 60 days to respond to the findings at that point.

pp The inspection is not finished. The team will be returning to finish the audit in the near future. If you were not inspected this week there is a good possibility that you will be inspected on the next visit. There have been several deficiencies identified thus far which will have to be corrected. A final report will be furnished to our campus this fall which will identify deficiencies and their location. Because there are several different types of deficiencies to be addressed, we will develop a strategy on how to resolve the issues. This will be a campus-wide effort and departmental units and scientists with buildings and laboratories with identified deficiencies will be required to participate in the clean-up, disposition of chemicals and pesticides, or establishment of proper storage or handling protocols. This is not an effort that can be handled by FMO, although they will be instrumental in assisting with the process.

I want to personally thank Tim Ross (Director of FMO) and Stan Diffie (Chair of the campus Safety Committee) for their efforts in hosting the audit team and helping them tour the campus for the audit. Though the response to the audit will take time, effort and money, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that we can meet the requirements of an EPA inspection, and that our campus is a safe place, both for our personnel and for the environment. I will expect everyone's cooperation as we move forward with this intensive effort.

Award Recognition:

Congratulations to Dr. John Beasley who was recently awarded the President's Award for outstanding contributions to the peanut industry. Dr. Beasley was a guest speaker at a joint Pre-harvest meeting held by the NPBPA - National Peanut Buying Points Association and the APSA – American Peanut Shellers Association at Lake Blackshear.

Utilities:

It has been a hot summer indeed, and utility costs are up. Thus far utilities for the experiment station are running over $17,500 ahead of the same time last year, and Conference Center utilities have increased by $4945 over the same period. These are significant increases. Given that the governor has already withheld 4% of this year's budget it is obvious that it will be a challenging year. I am asking everyone to take energy management very seriously. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Turn up thermostats at the end of the work day and on weekends and holidays. Turn off window units in unused rooms, and close exterior doors. We simply cannot afford to waste energy. I ask each and every member of this campus to take this seriously and participate. Don't leave it to someone else.

Safety on campus:

Fall harvest has begun, a new group of students and student workers are on campus, and we all need to be safety conscious. It is the responsibility of all scientists and supervisory staff to ensure the safety of their employees. If you witness something being done that is unsafe, stop or correct the behavior immediately. A few obvious points follow: no one should ever be riding in the back of a pick-up truck on or off-road. Utility vehicles such as Gators, golf carts, lawn-mowers or four-wheelers are not street legal and should not be operated on roadways. Farm equipment operated on the roads should at the very least have a visible slow moving vehicle (SMV) symbol mounted on the rear of the tractor or implement. Preferably all tractors should have working caution flashers which are used during road transport. All safety shields should be in place, and employees should be trained to use equipment if not experienced. No one wants to be involved with a preventable accident. Please make sure that all employees use and operate equipment safely.

Upcoming Events:

  • August 26 — SW Research and Education Center Field Day, Plains
  • September 6 — Labor Day Holiday
  • September 8 — Peanut and Cotton Field Day, Tifton
  • September 14-16 — Georgia Peanut Tour
  • September 21-23 — Tri-State Peanut Disease Tour
  • September 23 — Southwest District Recruitment Event, TCCC, 5pm
  • October 19-21 — Sunbelt Expo

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