Environmental team works to keep Andersen clean and green
Stripes Guam | .
published: May 05, 2016
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- In the wake of the annual Earth Day, the 36th Civil Engineering Squadron Environmental Flight are calling members of Team Andersen to take part in ensuring the base and island remains a clean place for Airmen and their families.
The Andersen environmental team comprises 13 service members and civilian experts working in three sections: environmental compliance, natural/cultural resources and environmental restoration. The team participates in air emissions, wastewater, hazmat waste and pesticides and natural resources control programs.
The experts are currently working on numerous projects to include the recently implemented airfield spill response kit program, which serves to curb fuel spillages on the airfield.
“We work about five to ten projects a year,” said Thomas Spriggs, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight chief. “One of our biggest projects right now is the airfield response kits. It’s been an ongoing project, we started out with five kits and now were at 11. The more kits we have the more we will be able to contain oil spills that occur on the flight line. The kits will ultimately save time, money and our environment.”
The team also works diligently to guarantee that the quality of drinking water remains high for Airmen and their families on base.
“We conduct these tests to ensure the drinking water at these facilities is safe,” said William Kavanagh, 36th CES environmental protection specialist. “It’s not only the school facilities we take care of; we make sure all drinking water at all facilities is sanitary for all of us to drink.”
All of the drinking water is derived from an underground aquifer, which is a groundwater source underlying the northern portion of Guam, underneath Andersen AFB. This groundwater is pumped into a distribution system by 13 wells throughout base.
“We have a really unique system here at Andersen AFB,” Spriggs said. “We are the only place on island to have our water distributed straight from the ground. We want members to understand the importance of recycling and picking up trash because everything that is done above ground will ultimately affect our drinking water.”
Clean-up days are held twice a year here on Andersen AFB, encouraging personnel to gather and pick up trash and debris from Tarague Beach. The local community also hosts corresponding beach clean-ups various days throughout the year.
“We don’t want folks only cleaning up on our designated clean-up days,” Spriggs said. “Every day, and everywhere you go, if you see something, pick it up and throw it away. We should strive to keep our roadways, ditches, parking lots and facilities clean. The trash that doesn’t get picked up will likely end up in one of our water wells. We can all play a part in keeping the base clean.”
In an effort to keep all units throughout the base accountable for their facilities, the flight recently updated their policy in which the endangered Mariana fruit bat now symbolizes the environmental management systems’ commitment to BAT: Boost environmental compliance, Avoid waste/conserving resources and Tackle issues/continual improvement. The policy, which was signed by the 36th Wing commander Brig. Gen. Andrew Toth last year, states that each unit must designate a primary and alternate unit environmental coordinator.
“With this new policy, we will be able to work more closely with the individuals that are appointed as coordinators,” said Benjamin Addie, DZSP18 environmental specialist. “It will also help units remain compliant and stay inspection ready.”
To ensure Andersen personnel are working in safe, hazard-free areas, the environmental team will conduct annual audits on buildings that are at high risk. When an audit is performed, the team performs a thorough inspection on the facility to audit for hazardous items such as liquid propane, fuel, fluids, cleaners, generators and more.
“We conduct these audits to catch things that may not be obvious to the personnel working in the buildings,” Kavanagh said. “The members of Andersen (AFB) have been doing a great job with informing us of any issues they have. Everyone is following instructions well.”
The environmental flight requires all service members and civilian employees to complete the environmental management system computer-based training through the Advanced Distributed Learning System that is accessible through the Air Force portal. Upon completion, units will appoint coordinators who will be responsible for providing completed training certificates to the environmental for documentation.
“The appointed unit coordinators will be able to contact us for all environmental issues dealing with their buildings,” Kavanagh said. “They are ultimately responsible for scheduling building walk-throughs with us as well as other responsibilities. “
This system will support the environmental team in their efforts to keep Team Andersen’s commitment to continued excellence, leadership and stewardship in protecting the environment.
For questions concerning the EMS or the new policy, call the environmental flight at 366-5081.