The Secretary of the Army honored 19 of its "waste eliminators" - posts (called "installations") and individuals - in April with its 1999 Environmental Awards at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Winners were recognized for capitalizing on emerging technologies and adopting corporate approaches to improve business practices.
"Today's Army is more committed than ever to making responsible stewardship a part of day-to-day operations," says Louis Caldera, Secretary of the Army, during the presentation. "Winners of these awards exemplify how using the best business practices and the latest technology protect our national resources and ensure our military readiness."
Each year, the Secretary of the Army recognizes environmental achievements in Natural Resources Conservation, Cultural Resources Management, Environmental Quality, Pollution Prevention, Recycling and Environmental Cleanup.
The Army's Pollution Prevention Award in the non-industrial installation category went to Headquarters III Corps and the Ft. Hood, Texas, base. They were recognized for eliminating more than 8 million pounds of hazardous and state-regulated waste each year for the past two years, avoiding more than $2 million in disposal costs. The program includes source reduction, reuse and recycling.
Another pollution prevention winner was Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Radford, Va., the largest active propellants and explosives manufacturing facility in the United States. The plant, which is owned by the U.S. Government and run by Alliance Ammunition and Powder Co., Radford, won for maintaining a pollution prevention program to protect Virginia's New River Valley.
The explosives manufacturing plant was able to reduce its sulfate and nitrate emissions and reuse many of its scrap repellents, according to Jeff Pack, pollution prevention coordinator for the Army.
"Instead of incinerating the scrap, we contracted with a commercial explosives manufacturer to sell it," he says. "That effort alone contributed to almost $1 million in savings annually - we would've had to burn 900 pounds of that [scrap hazardous waste]."
In the mid-'90s when Alliance Ammunition and Powder Co. was hired, it assessed and identified areas in which to concentrate its pollution prevention efforts, says Carolyn Jake, environmental affairs manager for the company.
About 10 million pounds of waste were reduced and recycled for fiscal year 1998-1999, resulting in about $3.1 million in savings, she says.
The Hawaii Army National Guard, responsible for 34 sites throughout the Hawaiian islands, won the small installation Natural Resources Conservation Award for protecting native plant and animal species, and promoting sustainable land use practices.
Recyclers also were recognized. Ft. Riley, Kan., home of the 24th Infantry Division and more than 100,000 acres of training land for mechanized forces, won the Recycling Award in the non-industrial installation category. It recycled 7.1 million pounds of materials in 1998, greatly exceeding the National Recycling Coalition's, Alexandria, Va., estimated national average of 4.3 million pounds by communities of a similar size.
For his leadership in opening a 28,000 square-foot recycling center and for creating a public outreach campaign, Richard L. Lucas Sr. of the U.S. Army Training Center, Ft. Jackson, S.C., won the recycling award in the individual category.
Ft. Campbell, Ky., home of the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles Division, won the Environmental Cleanup award in the installation category for involving community members and regulators in planning a cleanup. This initiative resulted in rapidly closing sites and cost reductions.
The U.S. Army Environmental Center, in cooperation with the Army's Office of the Directorate of Environmental Programs and the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, manages the Secretary of the Army Awards Program for the Office of the Secretary of the Army.
Chosen as the Army's best for fiscal 1999, most of the winners later competed with other award winners from the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
For a complete list of the Secretary of the Army Fiscal 1999 Environmental Award winners, contact Cynthia Houston, U.S. Army Environmental Center, Aberdeen, Md. (410) 436-6817. Website: http://aec.army.mil and click on "News Room."