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Air Force earns three DOD environmental awards

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (May 05, 2006) -- Three Air Force installations received awards for their environmental stewardship at a Pentagon ceremony May 3.

Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, earned 2005 Secretary of Defense Environmental awards. Representatives from each base were at the ceremony to receive a trophy.

The Air Force took three of nine Secretary of Defense environmental awards. During the award ceremony, Marcus Peacock, the deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commended the efforts of all nine award winners.

"For decades now the (Department of Defense) has worked both to defend our country, and to protect our natural resources," Mr. Peacock said. "These two goals are compatible and they both strengthen our nation. I congratulate today's award winners and nominees for the work they have done in serving as a model for others in work that will follow."

Dyess won the team award for environmental quality. As part of their environmental efforts in 2005, Dyess implemented a new environmental management system that resulted in reductions in waste generation and emissions. The base also formed a partnership with the host city of Abilene, Texas, to recycle residential hazardous chemicals.

In 2005, Dyess AFB increased its purchases of environmentally friendly products by 6 percent, and additionally was able to reduce energy consumption on the base, harmful air emissions and water usage. Those reductions resulted in a savings of $750,000.

Tinker took the installation award for pollution prevention. Part of the base's pollution prevention efforts included optimization of its industrial water treatment plant. That resulted in a 3,450-ton reduction of hazardous waste.

The base also was recognized for innovative methods to recycle hazardous chemicals and materials. These included recycling more than 57,000 gallons per year of machine coolant, saving $107,000 annually. More than 200 tons of hazardous chemicals and materials are now diverted each year. The base also was able to divert more than 40 tons of metal sludge from landfills through recycling.

At Wright-Patterson, the C-17 Globemaster III pollution prevention integrated product team took the team award for environmental excellence in weapon system acquisition. The C-17 team's mission is to eliminate or reduce the use of hazardous materials on the C-17 and to initiate proper management of hazardous materials throughout the aircraft’s life cycle.

As part of that effort, the team developed a heat-resistant, environmentally friendly coating to protect titanium slats on the aircraft wings. The team also will be responsible for implementing more environmentally friendly methods of applying paint to the aircraft. That method, involving a roller method, was developed at Charleston AFB, S.C.