Original Date: 04/24/2007
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Expert System for Shipyard Environmental Management
The University of New Orleans, College of Engineering has developed an expert system for shipyard environmental management that helps shipyards easily manage their use of materials and the associated environmental impacts. Reports, trends, and analyses can be performed with minimal effort and provided to the necessary authorities.
Most shipyards maintain records for management of its processes in the form of spreadsheets, charts, data sheets, and various other documentation. There is rarely one source that contains all the necessary information for managing the processes needed to build, refurbish, and overhaul a ship. Once a ship’s needs are established, the shipyard determines what has to be performed. This requires the management to review the processes needed to perform the required task. Based on this, shipyard processes, environmental engineering and science, and environmental regulations must be determined and made accountable. Presently, this is performed by reviewing hardcopy documentation, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), environmental regulations, and permit requirements.
The University of New Orleans, College of Engineering (UNO COE) has developed an expert environmental management system for shipyardsa software application that combines shipyard processes, environmental engineering and science principles, environmental regulations, and information technology skills. The application can be used to help shipyards prevent noncompliance and fines, minimize waste, reduce public health risks, provide cost savings, improve public image, and increase productivity. This is accomplished by the shipyard populating the database with information about the facility, sources, stacks, national pollution discharge elimination system permit limits, air permit limits, outfalls and watershed, air pollution control devices, and wastewater treatment facility data. With this data incorporated into the software program, material usage, MSDS information, abrasives, paints, solvents, filler/weld rods, rainfall data, ambient air quality data, and fuel are included to manage the shipyard’s processes and environmental impact. This software can also be uniquely configured to a shipyard’s specifications. As a result, routine reports can easily be produced, such as discharge monitoring reports (storm and process water), hazardous waste, Tier II, emission inventories, and toxic release inventory. Analyses and decisions can also be performed using data already contained in the database. Some of this data may include historical trends, planning and pollution prevention implementation, troubleshooting, emission calculations, and comparisons (e.g., year-to- year, source-to-source, material-to-material, job-to-job, and limits versus actual).
The UNO COE’s customizable expert system for shipyard environmental management allows a shipyard to easily manage its usage of materials and environmental impacts. Reports to environmental authorities are easily produced and made available, and changes in regulations and limits can be easily incorporated and updated with little or no effort.
Efforts are being made to secure private and government funds so that the application can be improved with additional features that will address changes in regulatory requirements and the environmental management practices.
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