Competency wheels turning

EMMTAP, the Emission Monitoring Model Training and Accreditation Project, is funded by the EU Leonardo da Vinci scheme and managed by CRE Group. John Sadler, CRE, reports.

A multi-national project which includes the Environment Agency and Source Testing Association (STA) from the UK among seven project partners, EMMTAP aims to establish a model training framework to define the requirements for personnel competency in the fields of emissions and air quality monitoring. In the UK, the Environment Agency's proposed MCERTS scheme will certify companies and personnel in this area. It is intended that EMMTAP will be used to complement MCERTS in the UK, and by other European countries as they carry out environmental regulation of industrial processes and air quality.

Consistent evaluation
Throughout the EU, there are a number of training providers offering courses to stack and air quality testers; but there has not yet been a consistent way of evaluating the testersÕ competency in carrying out regulatory measurements.

Thus, one of the first tasks carried out by the project team was to survey the attitudes and knowledge of regulators throughout Europe. In a paper-based questionnaire, each was asked to describe how they approached the issues of training, competency and accreditation. This enabled the project team to collate ideas from around Europe to ensure that wheels were not being re-invented.

The project team includes regulatory, industrial and training organisations and it was necessary to ensure a balanced and useful set of outcomes. From the results of the survey, it was obvious that the issue of personnel competency was not well understood outside of the laboratory accreditation systems used in most countries to define a competent chemical analysis. In the field of environmental monitoring, the collection of a valid sample is an essential element in ensuring a viable result. Ensuring the competency of sample collection personnel, then, is similarly important. The Source Testing Association has worked for a number of years on the basis of minimum requirements and has established a system for assessing what personnel do on site when collecting stack samples. The development of MCERTS started with equipment certification and is being extended to include the assessment of personnel and organisations.

It was important that the EMMTAP project team was aware of the training courses that are already available in EU countries. A database has therefore been developed which includes the availability of current training packages for emissions and air quality monitoring.

A meeting of EMMTAP project partners held in Lisbon in February this year reviewed the information that had been collated in the project so far, and faced the task of building an approach to assessing competency. The headings that need to be covered when assessing competency were agreed as follows:

  • Health and Safety
  • Operation of Equipment
  • Data Processing
  • Purpose of Measurement
  • QA/QC
  • Process Knowledge
  • Reconnaissance Visit
  • Method Selection
  • Sampling Location/Number of Samples
  • Protocol Development
  • Reporting
  • Experience/Competence

Prior to that meeting, an STA Technology Transfer Seminar invited delegates to take part in a workshop based on the training delivered in the UK and the proposed elements of competency put forward by EMMTAP. A further discussion was carried out by the STA to assist in the development of the model required.

Framework
Dissemination is a very important part of any European funded project and EMMTAP has been talked about and promoted in a number of European Union countries, the Czech Republic and in the USA. Everyone involved acknowledges the need for a framework for competency and there is a real opportunity for Europe to take the lead in this development. By training the trainers alongside regulators and industrial process operators on what is meant by, and required for, a competent emission measurement, it will be possible to improve the value of results used by regulators to advise government, and to better understand the problems with which they are faced.

EMMTAP project partners meet next in Dublin in September to review progress and issue the discussion document that will be circulated to all interested parties. The second half of the project, due for completion in May next year, will be concerned with gathering comments and investigating how this approach can be integrated into standard practice for industry and regulators alike.

EMMTAP can be e-mailed at Leonardo@cregroup.co.uk



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