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    SD National Guard receives environmental award for sustainment program, initiatives

    SD National Guard receives environmental award for sustainment program, initiatives

    Photo By Lt. Col. Anthony Deiss | U.S. Army Lt. Col. Tom Nelson, South Dakota Army National Guard Environmental Program...... read more read more



    Story by Lt. Col. Anthony Deiss 

    South Dakota National Guard Public Affairs   

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The South Dakota Army National Guard received a 2018 Environmental Security Award for outstanding program and initiatives in environmental excellence, Feb. 12.

    The SDARNG’s Construction and Facilities Management Office received a third place finish in the Team/Individual – Sustainability Award category for significant progress in implementing environmentally responsible practices.

    The award was presented by the Army National Guard at the Professional Education Center at Camp Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas, during the Fiscal Year 2019 Program Guidance Course.

    “Receiving this award demonstrates that our efforts towards waste stream reduction, increased waste diversion and systems management has made a significant impact on the culture of the SDARNG to create a greener, more resilient state,” said Lt. Col. Tom Nelson, SDARNG Environmental Program manager.

    The CFMO’s Sustainability Team is charged with maintaining compliance and improving sustainable management throughout the state. Their gains in diversion and compliance have saved the SDARNG in disposal costs, generated recycling revenue, and avoided costly censures or impediments to training.

    “The SDARNG has saved over $15,000 in tipping fees by diverting solid waste from the landfill,” said Emily Beck, SDARNG environmental compliance and conservation manager. “A total of 25.76 tons of material was recycled from Rapid City area buildings and from outlier camps during the Golden Coyote training exercise.”

    Beck also said the team sustained a diversion rate over 56 percent in the last two years.

    The Sustainability Team is also working with the community to help achieve their goals. By integrating community outreach into their efforts, the team has fostered volunteerism and donations to get new projects off the ground.

    “We worked with the Rapid City Solid Waste Division to determine where our efforts could best be focused for Rapid City’s Clean-Up week, as we had a unique force of volunteers that could assist in more difficult areas,” Beck said. “We also coordinated with Pacific Steel and Recycling to negotiate a no-cost option for obtaining containers for recycled materials.

    “For outreach, the environmental office partners with a local school to recycle in their classroom,” added Beck. “This arrangement allows for SDARNG to recycle markers back through a school-based program. We also partner with a school for their clean-up project near Earth Day each year.”
    Beck and Nelson also highlighted other sustainment initiatives that are having an impact with the assistance of SDARNG units.

    These efforts include inspections, compliance and accountability in support of the Environmental Performance Assessment System; enhanced spill control and prevention training; workspace evaluations to identify facility risks and liabilities; collaboration on hazardous materials planning, and assistance visits to find unconventional solutions in communities with limited recycling vendors.

    “Over the past two years, this team has achieved outstanding, measurable results – as it has pursued waste stream reduction, increased waste diversion, compliance training improvement, and systems management,” said Nelson. “A vibrant program of community outreach and public education also distinguishes the team’s strategies.”

    But it’s not just the Sustainment Team’s programs and initiatives that can make a difference. Beck says some of the smallest acts contribute in the biggest ways.

    “Every Soldier contributes when they take those extra few steps to place a recyclable in the correct container,” she said.

    “The command’s emphasis, provided through the Environmental Quality Control Committee, led to our team’s success,” Beck added. “The adjutant general provided policy through SDARNG’s environmental management system. Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch set a significant aspect as solid waste reduction, and the environmental office focused on recycling as our first task to meet that goal. We had begun the first recycling initiative on Camp Rapid in 2008, and it was time to stand recycling up as a statewide initiative.”



    Date Taken: 02.22.2019
    Date Posted: 03.05.2019 10:57
    Story ID: 312936
    Location: RAPID CITY, SD, US 

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