News: 85th CA Bde achieves 100 percent in environmental compliance
By Staff Sgt. David House
85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas - Being 100 percent in compliance is not just a phrase, but it’s a goal that members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade achieved during the brigade’s first Environmental Compliance inspection since their activation in September last year.
“Being able to hit 100 percent on our first inspection was a huge accomplishment for us being that we are a newly activated unit on Fort Hood,” Maj. Kara Escajeda, Environmental Science and Engineering officer for the brigade, said. “This is not something that could have been done overnight.”
The driving force for the unit’s accomplishment was the assistance and support from the Fort Hood Environmental Compliance Assessment Team. They are the subject-matter experts that provide technical assistance to all units and activities located on Fort Hood in all areas related to environmental management and compliance.
Some of the areas that the inspection concentrated on were proper storage and labeling of hazardous materials, segregation of petroleum, oils and lubricants, storage and disposal of batteries and the necessary paperwork. All of that was derived by a plan and a starting point. Step one was finding out what equipment was needed, what was readily available and what needed to be ordered and put into place.
For areas such as the motor pool, that also meant consolidation.
“Much of what I did was reorganize areas such as the UPRPs [Used Product Reclamation Points] to make them better suited for the soldiers,” Sgt. Matthew Wilson said.
“Keeping everything easily accessible went a long way to prevent any possible spills from transporting items across the motor pool and also stopped any cross contamination.”
Old and new alike, both areas required a process.
“I also ended up separating all of the new fluids and supplies to not only keep them organized but to ensure that they were accounted for, properly labeled and soldiers had the correct MSDS [Material Safety Data Sheet] for any product they might come in contact with,” Wilson said. “A lengthy and tedious process, but it was part of the requirements.”
Although the physical aspects of the compliance seemed complicated, so too was the mental aspect and making sure everyone had the proper mindset to change their habits.
“I found that it was best to make sure that the soldiers were involved in the process so that they had a better understanding of what I was doing and why,” Wilson said. “That way they will have a vested interest in the process and will help develop a habit of doing it the right way.”
Doing it correctly involves much more than just common sense as it takes a coordinated effort to make sure that federal, state and local laws and regulations are followed.
“Ask questions,” Wilson said. “Make sure you ask plenty of questions in regards to anything that you think you know, don’t know or think you don’t know. Also have the ECAT team do a few walk-throughs around your area before the actual inspection event to make sure everyone is on the same page as to what will happen.”
Now that they have set the standard, it is up to the members of the 85th CA Bde. to make sure that 100 percent is maintained in subsequent inspections and becomes a positive example for other units across Fort Hood.
Date Posted:06.26.2012 12:59
Location:FORT HOOD, TX, US
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