General TURA EMS Requirements & Compliance

Is an EMS that is not certified by a standards organization, but has been in place for one full EMS cycle, eligible to be a TURA EMS?

Yes, an EMS does not have to be certified by a standards organization in order to be eligible, as long as it meets the requirements of 310 CMR 50.80.

Can a facility use its corporate EMS to satisfy its TURA requirement if it is modified to meet the TURA requirements for its Massachusetts facility?

Yes, an existing EMS can be modified to meet the specific TURA requirements of 310 CMR 50.80.

Will MassDEP give credit to companies that have a TURA EMS by giving them a lower inspection priority?

No, implementing a TURA EMS will not affect how often a facility may be inspected. However, MassDEP believes that implementing an effective EMS can improve an organization's environmental performance.

If a company chooses to use its EMS in lieu of a TURA Plan for a planning year, can the company return to TUR planning the next planning year?

An EMS meeting TURA requirements is intended to serve as a permanent substitute for TUR planning under TURA. However, a company may choose to return to TUR Planning at any time.

Does an EMS under TURA also have to address resource conservation planning under TURA?

No. While many EMSs include energy use or water use as aspects of their EMS, there is no requirement to address and report on these aspects as part of an EMS under TURA.

If a company chooses to use their EMS to satisfy its TURA planning requirement, does the EMS then become a legal document?

No. However, if a company uses its EMS to meet its TURA obligations, MassDEP could check the EMS to see if it includes the required elements in 310 CMR 50.80. In other words, the requirement to have an EMS that meets the requirements of 310 CMR 50.80 would become a legal obligation for the company and subject to MassDEP review.

How will MassDEP "judge" the quality of a TURA EMS?

If MassDEP inspects a facility with a TURA EMS, it may check to see if the EMS is in place and has all the elements required in 310 CMR 50.80. MassDEP's inspection would focus primarily on whether the required elements are in place and documented. For example, a TURA EMS must have environmental and compliance training. As part of an inspection, MassDEP may determine whether such training is documented in the EMS. However, in general MassDEP would not evaluate the quality of the training.  

Will inspectors look at specific records associated with its EMS?

If MassDEP inspects a facility with a TURA EMS, they may review records associated with any required elements of the TURA EMS to assure that it is being implemented and functioning appropriately. If MassDEP finds that, based on its review of records, elements of the EMS are not being implemented, then the EMS would be deemed to not be functioning properly and the facility should take appropriate corrective actions.

Must a Senior Management Official read the entire EMS before certifying that he or she has examined and is familiar with it?

There is no requirement that the official read all the supporting documentation for the EMS.  However, this person should have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the EMS to be comfortable that it meets TURA requirements.  Each facility will have its own procedures for ensuring proper review of business and other actions by senior management.  It should be sufficient if the senior management official follows the company's standard review procedures when reviewing the TURA EMS.

A TURA EMS must emphasize source reduction as the means of achieving objectives and targets. What is source reduction, and is a facility required to implement source reduction?

Source reduction includes practices that reduce the amount or toxicity of raw materials (including chemicals), energy, water, or other resources before they become a waste (i.e., before recycling, energy recovery, treatment, or disposal). While a facility with a TURA EMS must consider source reduction, the facility is not required to employ source reduction to meet its objectives and targets, since source reduction opportunities may not be available or may not be technically or economically feasible. In general, many facilities that consider source reduction do find that it is to their benefit to implement source reduction (including toxics use reduction) where possible.

If a company is implementing an EMS in lieu of a TURA Plan, and in the next year it must start reporting a new TURA chemical, does the company have to incorporate the new chemical into its EMS and include it in its next EMS progress report?

Yes, companies should incorporate any new covered toxics that become reportable under TURA into their EMS and include these toxics in their annual toxics use reports as well as in their next EMS progress report submittal. Companies do not need to return to TUR planning for that new reportable chemical, but would evaluate toxics use reduction opportunities in the context of implementing their EMS.

Should new higher hazard substances be handled differently than other covered toxics in a TURA EMS?

Not necessarily. Toxics designated as Higher Hazard Substances that a company uses above reporting thresholds must be included and addressed in the same way as other covered toxics in the EMS. However, the higher hazard designation and focused attention of the TURA program on higher hazard substances may influence the priority a company places on setting objectives and targets in its EMS for such substances. For more information on Higher Hazard Substances, visit the TURI website at

Policy Statement

Do the words "source reduction" have to be in the EMS policy statement or can it be implied?

The regulation and statute do not explicitly require the specific words "source reduction" to be in the policy statement, although including these words would be an easy way to demonstrate compliance with the requirement in 310 CMR 50.82(1). A policy statement could reflect a commitment to source reduction by describing how a company will seek to reduce natural resource use, chemical use, etc. without necessarily using the words "source reduction."

What is the difference between commitments to continual improvement of the EMS versus continual improvement of environmental performance as specified in 310 CMR 50.82(1)?

Continual improvement of the EMS refers to continual improvement of the EMS as a system, while continual improvement of environmental performance refers to continual improvement of the environmental performance of a facility by seeking to reduce the impact of its environmental aspects.

Objectives & Targets

Does a company have to establish objectives and targets for each covered toxic (i.e., TURA-reportable toxic)?

Objectives and targets should be established for each covered toxic. However, while a company must designate all covered toxics as significant aspects and should consider in its planning how to address the impacts of its covered toxics, it may choose not to set quantitative objectives and targets for every covered toxic (e.g., if there are no feasible alternatives). Each company has unique criteria that it uses to assign significance of identified aspects, which typically include the number of significant aspects that it can reasonably address in any one year. Therefore, it is conceivable that a company identify its use of a covered toxic as significant, but not assign a specific, quantifiable objective and target for that aspect because other significant aspects have been deemed to take precedence. In this case, the company may choose to develop qualitative objectives for its covered toxics. These might include commitments to continue research and development of potential safer alternatives over the course of the two-year period.

What are adequate objectives for reportable chemicals?

310 CMR 50.82(4) requires that a company have "a process for establishing measurable objectives and targets that address significant environmental aspects and other EMS commitments and that emphasize preventing pollution at its source".

Like TUR Planning, the objectives and targets will depend on the company's evaluation of what is technically and economically feasible for its operations. Where an objective is set, it could be similar to how the company has set toxics use reduction goals in prior planning efforts (e.g., reduce chemical x by y% by year z). An objective could also be a commitment to research new technologies or substitute chemicals within a certain time frame with the hope that this activity could result in identification of future toxics use reduction opportunities.

Emergency Preparedness & Response

Should covered toxics be identified specifically in the EMS's Emergency Preparedness element?

It is not a requirement of a TURA EMS that covered toxics be identified specifically in the emergency preparedness plans. However, a company could determine that a release or other emergency involving a covered toxic warrants specific treatment in its emergency preparedness plans, in which case the toxic would be specifically included in the plan.

EMS Auditing

What is the definition of an independent EMS Audit as stated in 310 CMR 50.81(2)e and 50.82(13)? Does it need to be an external audit or could it be an internal audit?

The TURA regulations require that EMS audits be performed by an independent auditor. An "Independent Auditor" is defined in 310 CMR 50.10 as a person who "may be a third-party auditor or an employee of a facility provided that the employee is not the person who has responsibility for implementing the EMS." Therefore, a company employee could conduct an independent EMS Audit (provided the employee is qualified to conduct EMS audits); however, employees may not audit any elements of the EMS for which they are directly involved in the routine implementation.

Can the TURA EMS certifier be the same person as the independent auditor?

Yes, the independent auditor can be the same person who certifies that the TURA EMS meets the requirements of 310 CMR 50.80 (i.e., the TUR Planner or EMS professional who signs the EMS Progress Report). This is not, however, required.

If a company has an existing EMS that was last audited in 2005, and its next audit is scheduled for 2009 (per their existing audit schedule), does the company need to audit its EMS again prior to July 1, 2008 if it wants to use it in lieu of a TURA Plan?

No, the company would not have to audit its EMS again before July 1, 2008, but it would have to revise its EMS audit schedule (going forward) to meet the requirement that a TURA EMS must be audited on at least a two-year cycle (310 CMR 50.82(13)).

What is the difference between a compliance audit and an EMS audit?

A compliance audit verifies a facility's compliance with regulatory requirements. An EMS audit verifies a facility's conformance to its EMS and, in some cases, conformance of the EMS to an applicable EMS standard (e.g., ISO 14000, Performance Track, Responsible Care).

Does the independent EMS audit every two years need to include all the elements listed in 310 CMR 50.82?

Yes, the independent audit should assess how well the TURA EMS conforms to the various elements listed in 310 CMR 50.82, how effective it is in achieving its goals as stated in the environmental policy, and whether the EMS demonstrates an emphasis on source reduction in its approach towards minimizing environmental impacts, especially for covered toxics.

Can the same person certify the EMS Progress Report both as the Senior Management Official and the TUR Planner/EMS Professional?

There are separate eligibility requirements for each of these roles.  In most cases, the certifiers will be two different people.  However, it is possible that the same person could certify an EMS as both the TUR planner/EMS professional and the Senior Management Official as long as that person meets the requirements for each role.

The Senior Management Official must be "an official who has management responsibility for the person or persons completing the report or plan, and who has authority to act for the toxics user." (See 310 CMR 50.10).  The eligibility requirements for a TUR Planner/EMS Professional are described on pages 16-17 of MassDEP's Environmental Management System Planning Guidance.

What will MassDEP do if part of the TURA EMS is missing?

A MassDEP review of a TURA EMS Progress Report and/or facility inspection including review of the TURA EMS would focus on whether the elements required by 310 CMR 50.80 are in place and are documented.  If a required element has not been addressed or has not been adequately addressed, the facility could be subject to enforcement action.  At a minimum, MassDEP would require that the EMS be modified and that the facility indicate what corrective action has been or will be taken on the next EMS Progress Report submitted to MassDEP.

EMS Progress Report

Can a company submit the EMS Progress Report via eDEP? Will it have the capability to attach files (pdf, excel, etc.)?

Yes, a company can submit its EMS Progress Report vie eDEP. In fact, submitting via e-DEP is the preferred submittal method. There is no capability to attach files via eDEP. However, it is not necessary to attach any files to meet the requirements of 310 CMR 50.80.

How will MassDEP use the information in the EMS Progress Report?

MassDEP will use the Progress Report to verify that the facility is complying with 310 CMR 50.80.

Do each of the covered toxics listed in Section A1 of the Progress Report need to have an established objective and target in section A2?

Not necessarily. A company should establish a specific objective and target for each toxic or it may choose to group toxics together and establish an objective and target for the group.

In Section A2, do objectives and targets have to be based on "per unit of product"?

No, objectives and targets do not have to be based on "per unit of product", although they can be. A company needs to have a process to establish objectives and targets and a process to measure performance. Objectives and targets should depend on the company's processes and what makes sense for the company to track.

What is the purpose of section B?

The questions in Section B serve as a compliance "check list" to help the company and the certifying professional better understand how well the company is integrating toxics use reduction into its EMS. If a company can check "yes" to all the questions, it can be reasonably assured that it is meeting the intent of the TURA EMS. This section also provides the opportunity to describe what corrective actions the company has taken or will take if a "no" answer was given.

In Section B1 of the Progress Report, does "current toxics" mean all of the reportable toxics at the facility, even those under reporting threshold, or does it mean the same as "covered toxics" in Section A1?

In Section B1 "current toxics use" refers to the "covered toxics" listed in Section A1. A company's TURA EMS only must address covered (i.e., reportable) toxics; thus Question 1 asks whether the company has checked if feasible alternatives to currently reportable toxics have become available. It also does not include toxics that may become reportable subsequent to the submission of the EMS Progress Report.

In Section B1, does any technical and economic evaluation conducted by the company on alternatives have to be documented?

Like TUR Planning, the objectives and targets depend on the company's evaluation of what is technically and economically feasible for their operation. 310 CMR 50.82(4) requires that a company have "A process for establishing measurable objectives and targets that address significant environmental aspects and other EMS commitments and that emphasize preventing pollution at its source". So, the technical and economic evaluations should be documented in accordance with the company's procedures.

Is a specific employee notification required under Section B2 in the Progress Report?

Under the TURA EMS option, there is no specific requirement that you notify your employees by January 1, 2008. However, you should involve your employees in the process undertaken to review and update your EMS (including objectives and targets related to toxics) to ensure that it meets the TURA EMS regulation requirements. For more information, see 310 CMR 50.82(8).

In Section B4 of the Progress Report, does "all" refer to reportable spills only or any size spill, even drips?

The intent of Question 4 in Section B is to verify that a company is seeking to ensure that all leaks, spills, releases and byproduct generation are minimized to the extent practicable. This would include spills reportable under various government programs as well as those that are not, since any uncorrected spilling or leaking would run counter to toxics use reduction.

In Section B5 of the Progress Report, does "all regulatory requirements" mean any applicable regulatory requirements (e.g. OSHA, RoHS, etc.) or only all environmental regulatory requirements that are applicable to a company's operations?

Question 5 refers only to US federal and Massachusetts environmental regulatory requirements since a TURA EMS requires companies to have a process to identify their environmental legal requirements (310 CMR 50.82(3)). However, in the spirit of TUR planning, a company should consider all of the requirements and costs that the use of toxics pose for a company (e.g., health and safety, RoHS compliance, training, insurance, waste disposal, etc) when evaluating the full impact of toxics use and considering alternatives.

In Section B6 of the Progress Report, does a TURA EMS need to have been audited at least once between 2006 and 2008?

No, the regulations require that an EMS must have been audited at least once to qualify as a TURA EMS. If you are planning to use the EMS option for the 2008 planning year (i.e., you have or will modify your EMS to meet the TURA requirements by July 1, 2008), but your EMS was last independently audited prior to July 1, 2006, you would answer "no" to Question 6 ("Our EMS has been audited by a qualified independent auditor at least once during the past two year TURA planning cycle."), and then in #8 you would explain that your audit schedule has been revised to the two-year cycle required by 310 CMR 50.82(13) and that your EMS will be independently audited prior to July 1, 2010.

Is Section B7 of the Progress Report redundant, since soliciting information from vendors, consultants, government agencies, etc. is part of identifying and evaluating alternatives as asked in Question 1?

Question 7 complements and elaborates on Question 1 to make it more explicit that a facility should look broadly at potential toxics use reduction options.  

In Section B9 of the Progress Report, can a company include information on the success of its resource conservation projects?

Yes, a company can include information on the success of initiatives to reduce energy use, reduce water use, or to achieve other EMS objectives and targets.

Would MassDEP hold an EMS professional or Toxics Use Reduction Planner who certifies a facility's EMS responsible if the EMS does not actually meet the requirements of 310 CMR 50.80?

In signing the Progress Report, an EMS Professional or TUR Planner is certifying that the facility's EMS satisfies the requirements of 310 CMR 50.80 and that it demonstrates a good faith and reasonable effort to integrate toxics use reduction, at the time the professional signs the Progress Report. The professional or planner would not be held responsible if, after certification, a company changes the EMS or fails to implement the EMS so that the EMS no longer meets the TURA regulations. The ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the EMS meets the requirements lies with the senior management official.

EMS Professional

How and when should an EMS Professional document their experience and education to MassDEP?

EMS professionals should submit a cover letter with documentation supporting their experience and/or training when they submit their first Progress Report. MassDEP has prepared a checklist doc format of Resource Conservation Plan & EMS Checklist
pdf format of                             Resource Conservation Plan & EMS Checklist                to assist in submitting this documentation. This documentation may be submitted electronically to Walter Hope at MassDEP at This documentation only needs to be submitted to MassDEP once, and must be maintained by the professional or planner for three (3) years. In addition, the company may require maintaining copies of this documentation as part of their EMS.

What is acceptable EMS training for TURA Planners and EMS professionals?

Acceptable EMS training includes EMS training courses offered by TURI, OTA, MassDEP, EPA and various other commercial and trade organizations. For more information visit the following websites:

MassDEP Toxics Use Reduction Program

Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI)

Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA)

If you are a TUR Planner and would like prior approval of continuing education activities, complete and submit the "Continuing Education Credit Pre-Approval Form" doc format of TUR Planner Continuing Education Credit Form
pdf format of                             TUR Planner Continuing Education Credit Form                and send it to Walter Hope at MassDEP at