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    New pilot program said to save thousands at Camp Lemonnier



    Story by Lt. Desiree Woodman 

    Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

    CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - The blazing African heat mixed with a dash of water and an enormous amount of sun has proven to be the perfect formula to save money and improve the environment at Camp Lemonnier. The U.S. Naval base located in Djibouti, Africa, started a pilot project called bioremediation. What is bioremediation? Simply put, it’s a waste management technique that uses naturally occurring organisms to break down hazardous materials into less toxic or non-toxic substances.

    Bioremediation isn’t a new concept to the Navy, it’s been going on for years around the fleet. Last December, Camp Lemonnier started a pilot project that has proven to show promising results.

    “We bring the contaminated soil to two basins located at the camp’s sewage treatment plant,” said Camp Lemonnier’s Installation Environmental Program Director, Laura Muhs. “We add water and microbes which will break down the hydrocarbons, the fuels and the oils, and essentially clean up the soil.”

    Initially, Muhs estimated it would take 4 to 6 months to treat the contaminated soil before it could be put back into the environment, or used as fill for construction sites. That timeline has changed significantly. After only five weeks, the first batch of contaminated soil saw its average concentration of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) drop to an average of 0.50 mg/kg, well below the goal of 10 mg/kg TPH. With the successful completion of the first round of bioremediation, the camp has already started to clean its second batch of contaminated soil.

    “We’ve been sending it away,” Muhs said. “It would be loaded into 55-gallon steel drums and shipped to Europe which is an expensive project since we have to pay for it by the pound.”

    Muhs said it’s not unusual for a small spill to require twenty 55-gallon drums to clean up the site. Since 2013, Camp Lemonnier has spent a little over $91,000 to ship soil out of Djibouti. By utilizing bioremediation, the camp is expected to save roughly $160,000 by treating the soil locally and returning it to the environment. This can happen within a short period of time; maybe even a few years.

    Camp Lemonnier provides, operates and sustains superior service in support of combat readiness and security of ships, aircraft, detachments and personnel for regional and combatant command requirements; and enables operations in the Horn of Africa while fostering positive U.S.-African Nation relations. Camp Lemonnier is a U.S. Navy led installation operated by Commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia via U.S. Naval Forces Africa and Commander, Navy Installations Command.



    Date Taken: 01.28.2016
    Date Posted: 01.28.2016 10:23
    Story ID: 187240
    Location: CAMP LEMONNIER, DJ

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