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DVIDS – News FRCE exceeds annual environmental goals

DVIDS – News FRCE exceeds annual environmental goals

DVIDS - News - Tulsa District programs work together for the good of the environment

MARINE CORPS AIRSTATION CHERRYPOINT, N.C. Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE), is committed to environmental stewardship as one of its guiding principles. The depots’ day-to-day operations are focused on protecting the environment, workers and the community.

The depots’ performance in key environmental indicators areas is a sign of their commitment to continuous improvement. FRCE closed the year 2021 on a high note, achieving or exceeding its environmental objectives each year. FRCE had achieved a 61% landfill diversion rate, cut industrial wastewater production by 45%, and reduced energy intensity 18% by the end of 2021.

In 2021, the depots environmental programs met their environmental objectives. They also passed multiple audits and evaluations without major findings.
Col. Thomas A. Atkinson, FRCE Commanding Officer, stated that environmental stewardship at the depot goes beyond compliance with laws and regulations. Our performance last year shows that we are always striving to improve the sustainability and efficiency of our operations. We exceeded the high expectations set by our environmental team.

Atkinson explained that it takes a team effort to consistently achieve and maintain this level of performance. This demonstrates the dedication of our workforce to delivering high-quality aircraft to our fleet while protecting our community and natural resources.

Andrew Krelie is the director of the Environmental Division of FRCE. He stated that the depots must have an advanced environmental program due to potential environmental impacts.

Krelie stated that the programs mission is to support warfighters by maintaining environmental compliance and keeping our doors opened. This means protecting the ecosystem, protecting the public and our staff, as well as protecting our waterways, land and waterways, while ensuring that the depot fulfills its mission and gets aircraft back to the Fleet. We set the goals that we have. They’re geared towards reducing our carbon footprint and using best practice.

Krelie and the environment team cite a Utilities Energy Service Contracts (UESC), study that was started at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point as a key factor in reducing energy intensity. This study was initiated by Headquarters Marine Corps, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, and Duke Energy. FRCEs Environmental Division and Facility and Plant Planning Division are fully involved and looking for ways to identify energy conservation measures.

Duke did extensive evaluations to find potential energy conversation measures to help us, said Steve Azok who manages FRCEs Environmental Management System (EMS) and International Organization of Standardization 14001 Program. They have replaced the fluorescent lights with LEDs, and they have gone through all of the existing ones. Some measures were small, such as turning off monitors every 10-15 minutes to reduce energy consumption. Others were more extensive, such as replacing lighting or replacing controls on the HVAC system to reduce peak usage.

Vicki Lewis, FRCEs lead for environmental compliance, said that the Duke UESC team adopted a comprehensive approach to reducing the depot’s energy intensity. This meant looking into areas that may not be obvious when thinking about energy intensity.

Lewis stated that energy conservation is not limited to electricity. Another goal of UESC is to improve compressed air efficiency. We expect to see an improvement in energy usage by repairing system leaks. Leaks require more compressed air to compensate. This in turn uses more energy.

FRCE set its sights to reduce industrial wastewater generation in addition to reducing energy consumption. The depot reduced industrial wastewater production by 45%, exceeding its 2021 goal for a 30% reduction.

Krelie said that fresh water is a key component of many of our processes. This then becomes industrial wastewater. There were rinse tanks with actuators that were almost always on, and sometimes these systems were old or obsolete. There have been facility upgrades that have helped reduce excess discharge to the industrial waste treatment plant.

FRCEs environmental team cites not only the technical solutions and facility upgrades, but also the role of depots personnel in reducing industrial wastewater production.

Lewis said that people will often call Lewis to report that a hose is leaking from their area. We always encourage people. Even though it may not seem like a big project, we want them to contact us. It all makes a difference. Shops have taken part in process improvements, where they turned off water for processes that use water continuously. This has saved thousands of gallons.

FRCE personnel played a significant role in achieving environmental goals by increasing the landfill diversion rate. FRCE raised its landfill diversion rate from 61% to 61% in 2021. This means that 61% if the solid waste generated at the depot went to renewable resources, which includes recycling.

Azok explained that curbside service is where you receive two containers for trash and one to collect recyclables. This is called mixed recycling. It is called mixed recycling. All our plastics, as well as aluminum cans and steel cans, go into one container. The idea is based on the human nature of compliance. The easier you make things, a greater chance of getting it right.

Azok believes that mixed recycling at FRCE is a success, but its economic impact will be diminished in the future. Azok says that the depot is already looking at alternative options.

Azok stated that it is becoming harder and harder for partners to accept mixed recycling. It is a cost for them. It is no longer as profitable. It is not as profitable anymore. That is why it is essential to ensure compliance and sort everything. Many of our recycling comes directly from industrial processes. This includes materials such as metal, wood, tires, and lead-acid batteries. We sort ferrous and not-ferrous metals, which are the most heavy items in terms of weight. In total, we produce anywhere from 42,000 to 65,000 pounds of scrap metal every week.

Azok states that participation of FRCEs in a parts recycling program offered by General Electric Aviation (GE) is another factor in increasing landfill diversion. It also generates financial returns for Naval Air Systems Command [NAVAIR].

Azok said that one of the biggest wins in 2021 is a program where T64 engine components and F404 engine components can be returned to GE. GE recycles these components and gives NAVAIR a credit. We sent 75,000 pounds of components to GE last year for a credit to NAVAIR.

FRCE was also responsible for environmental objectives in 2021. FRCE underwent numerous environmental audits and inspections. FRCE’s Environmental Management System (EMS) was a major focus of these inspections and audits. An EMS is a collection of elements that allow an organization to organize its environment and continuously improve it. FRCE was first Department of Defense facility registered an EMS complete with the International Organization of Standardization (ISO1401).

Lewis said that we received our first ISO 14001 certification back in 2003. It was a huge accomplishment to be granted that registration. It is a great accomplishment for a DoD installation that it was able to receive it and continue it for as long time as it has been.

ISO 14001, an internationally accepted standard, outlines the requirements for an Environmental Management System. It helps organizations improve their environmental performance by reducing waste, and making more efficient use of resources. FRCE is subject to third-party surveillance, program audits, and registration renewals.

Azok said that we have passed all of our surveillance tests and have been approved for continued certification. We have not received any findings in our most recent audits. This is due to having EMS goals and command support. Everyone at the command should have a good understanding of EMS. Without input from the command, the leadership, the support functions, and the shops, we cannot achieve our mission.

FRCE is responsible, in addition to ISO 14001 compliance, for complying with federal and state environmental laws as well the Department of Defense policies.

Azok said that we have not received any notices indicating violation from a federal or state agency. They look at everything from a compliance perspective. The federal government and the state are happy with our efforts.

FRCE’s environmental program goes beyond the mandated requirements. The depot has always maintained an aggressive environmental policy that is focused on continuous improvement. This can be seen in the Commands History with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Qualitys Environmental Stewardship Initiative.

Krelie stated that when we talk of ESI we are referring to the infancy stage of the program. We saw the opportunity for us to participate and share what we’ve learned and what our achievements.

ESI is a voluntary program which recognizes and supports companies that have demonstrated exceptional performance in reducing their environmental impacts. The program offers members networking and outreach opportunities to share and learn knowledge.

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The ESI program has three levels: Rising Steward, Partner, and Steward. Lewis said that there are three levels. Steward is the highest rank. Stewards must perform at a high level.

FRCE was among the first organizations in the state to be awarded the title of Steward in 2004. Azok states that FRCEs participation in ESI is unique.

Azok stated that we are not only at the Steward level membership but also the only Department of Defense facility serving ESI member.

ESI uses ISO 14001 as a base for determining membership requirements. Lewis claims that ESI was helped by FRCE’s long-standing relationship with this standard.

Lewis said that our ISO 14001 certification makes this easier. Every year, we report to the ESI team. There is a check box that says, “Externally registered to ISO 14001.” This box allows you to eliminate several steps from the reporting process, as the ESI team knows what this registration entails. Achieving aggressive EMS goals is another benefit of ISO 14001 registration. If you don’t have aggressive EMS goals, you won’t be eligible for the Steward Level.

According to the environmental team, participation in ESI and the depots’ long history of environmental compliance have an impact that goes beyond achieving environmental goals.

Lewis said that we are creating and maintaining partnerships with industry, state, and the local community. It creates a good working relationship that people want to work alongside us. It’s more than environmental compliance. This makes us a valued business partner and a member of our community.

FRCEs environmental programs have been awarded the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award and two Secretary of Defense honorable mentions, eight Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Awards, four Secretary of the Navy Environmental Awards, as well as two Sustainability Awards from the State of North Carolina. These awards, which span more than 20 years, highlight the maturity and professionalism in the depots’ environmental programs. Krelie and his team prefer to look ahead, despite these successes.

Krelie said that if you are already going above and past compliance requirements, we are prepared to take more severe measures in the future. The things we do now will become the norm in 10 years or 15 year time. We want to keep ahead of the curve, be proactive, and exceed the minimum requirements. This is how you can increase your resiliency and be good stewards and ensure that the aircraft get to the warfighters and those who need them.

FRCE North Carolina is the largest provider of North Carolina maintenance, repair and overhaul services. It employs more than 4,000 civil, military and contract employees. Its annual revenue exceeds $1 million. The depot is an integral part of the greater U.S Navy, Naval Air Systems Command, and Commander Fleet Readiness Centers.

Date Taken: 04.01.2022
Date of publication: 04.01.2022 08:38
Story ID: 417621
Location: CHERRY POINT, NC USA 

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