• Aberdeen Test Center performs survivability tests to evaluate equipment protectiveness when in contact with improvised explosive devices (IED). Testing is required to support the military efforts in the Middle East. APG's environmental goal is to minimize operational impact resulting from restoration program activities.

    Aberdeen Test Center performs survivability...

    Aberdeen Test Center performs survivability tests to evaluate equipment protectiveness when in contact with improvised explosive devices (IED). Testing is required to support the military efforts in the Middle East. APG's environmental goal is to...

  • Chitin is being placed into the pond and wetland buffer.  The chitin provides nutrients for plants and a food source for bacteria that breaks down contamination.  This is a critical part of the multi-phased remedy used at New O-Field.

    Chitin is being placed into the pond and...

    Chitin is being placed into the pond and wetland buffer. The chitin provides nutrients for plants and a food source for bacteria that breaks down contamination. This is a critical part of the multi-phased remedy used at New O-Field.

  • Army's first phytoremediation pilot test was done at Aberdeen Proving Ground to capture and treat a groundwater plume.  Pictured are the original trees planted for the pilot test that are slowly dying due to age.  Aberdeen Proving Ground has developed a long-term strategy focusing on forest management practices by utilizing native species with greater longevity and a more diverse mix to reduce potential impacts from disease and insect infestation.

    Army's first phytoremediation pilot test was...

    Army's first phytoremediation pilot test was done at Aberdeen Proving Ground to capture and treat a groundwater plume. Pictured are the original trees planted for the pilot test that are slowly dying due to age. Aberdeen Proving Ground has developed...

  • An EM61 was used to detect magnetic anomalies.  This is a screening process to determine if the area was utilized as an impact zone.  This allows us to get information without impacting mission operations.

    An EM61 was used to detect magnetic anomalies...

    An EM61 was used to detect magnetic anomalies. This is a screening process to determine if the area was utilized as an impact zone. This allows us to get information without impacting mission operations.

  • Two innovative studies at APG for addressing contaminants in wetlands have been conducted. Field testing consisted of broadcasting carbon into wetlands to determine its ability to absorb and lock contaminants in place. A column sample is being evaluated for carbon migration into the sediment.

    Two innovative studies at APG for addressing...

    Two innovative studies at APG for addressing contaminants in wetlands have been conducted. Field testing consisted of broadcasting carbon into wetlands to determine its ability to absorb and lock contaminants in place. A column sample is being...

  • At new O-field multiple and innovative technologies were used for a greener solution.  The multiple technology approach uses a permeable landfill cap, groundwater bio-enhancement, wetland buffer and bio-beneficial sediment cover.

    At new O-field multiple and innovative...

    At new O-field multiple and innovative technologies were used for a greener solution. The multiple technology approach uses a permeable landfill cap, groundwater bio-enhancement, wetland buffer and bio-beneficial sediment cover.

It is usually a combination of accomplishments rather than a single achievement that distinguishes an outstanding environmental restoration program. That is definitely the case with U.S. Army Garrison Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG); the 2012 winner of the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Environmental Restoration in the installation category.

"Once considered an 'environmental disaster,' APG was believed to have some of the most dangerous restoration sites in the United States. Public and regulator distrust abounded." said Vance Hobbs, Department of Public Works Environmental Division Chief. "Since then, a complete transformation has taken place and APG is proud of the restoration program and its accomplishments."

According to Hobbs, the APG Installation Restoration Program's success is the result of strong partnerships with regulators and the public, innovative strategies and dynamic program management. The program focuses on supporting the APG mission while executing a cost-effective environmental cleanup program that allows the safe return of property for military reuse while protecting human health, public safety and the environment.

"The APG's mission plays a key role in the nation's defense," said Terri Kaltenbacher, APG Community Relations Officer. "For the past 95 years APG has served as the center for Army research, development, and testing of numerous weapons, vehicles, and equipment."

Past practices resulted in numerous sites where hazardous materials accumulated and migrated into the surrounding areas. APG has taken appropriate responses ranging from standard excavation and removal to innovative technologies such as a multi-layer permeable cover that reduces the risk of an explosion or release of chemicals to the air and allows water to safely break down chemicals and transports them to a groundwater treatment plant.

"Our objectives are ensuring prompt action to address imminent and substantial threats to human health, safety and the environment; conducting appropriate, cost effective efforts to identify, evaluate, and conduct response actions, and promoting and supporting public stakeholder participation in the cleanup process," said Cindy Smith, Environmental Planning and Sustainability Branch Chief.

"I would like to give special thanks and recognition to the Installation Restoration Program team members: Rurik Loder; Allison O'Brien; Jeffrey Aichroth; Teresa Deshong, Ruth Golding (retired); and Karen Jobes. Without the core group's expertise and hard work, we would not be in the position to win this award."

Improved stakeholder relations and community outreach transformed an outraged public to positive and supportive partners. Faced with negative pre-existing community opinions, the APG team worked diligently to restore trust and change public opinion through educational briefings, site tours, open public meetings, and aggressive community outreach.

APG participates in numerous community functions, uses a newsletter and social media, to update local residents and provides program information on a web site and at document repositories at three local at libraries.

"Our aggressive and proactive approach forged an open, strong, and lasting alliance with the community resulting in an overall sense of trust and respect," said Kaltenbacher.
"The long-term benefits go beyond the restoration program to APG as a whole."

APG's commitment, dedication, and open communications are the foundation of positive working relationships with regulatory agencies. APG successful partnership with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the complexity of its program lead to the program's selection as a pilot installation for a Department of Defense (DoD) and EPA initiative designed to resolve discrepancies between the two agencies in reports to Congress. The crosswalk was successful and is planned to be implemented Army-wide.

Positive regulatory relationships also were paramount when white phosphorous was discovered in soil during a remedial action. APG received EPA and state approval to test a proof of concept that the sun's energy could be used to make the white phosphorous self ignite when heated in a slightly moist environment. Tests cleared the treated soil for landfill disposal saving the Army $3.8 million.

"This is just one example of APG's long history of alternative remedy study and development," said Rurik Loder, Restoration Program Team Lead. "We also host and support DoD Environmental Security Certification Technology Program scientists, whose proven innovative technologies may be incorporated into APG site remedies and potentially be applied Army-wide."

Two such innovative studies are using activated carbon as a means of isolating harmful contaminants in wetland environments at APG from discharge sewer lines that used to empty directly into a marsh. Traditional sediment cleanup methods are expensive and harm the ecosystem. With over 200 acres of contaminated wetlands, APG could save millions of dollars and minimize adverse environmental impacts if this technology is successful.

APG also hosted the Army's first phytoremediation demonstration to determine if trees could capture and treat a shallow groundwater plume contaminated with volatile organic compounds. The pilot study's success resulted in its becoming part of the final site remedy and being accepted Army-wide.

APG also looked for a more viable, sustainable solution to address contamination and buried munitions at a former open burning/open detonation and disposal site. Working with the Army Environmental Command, the EPA, Maryland Department of the Environment and contractors, APG developed a multi-faceted, innovative, cost-effective solution that achieved the desired remediation goals.

"Successful use of innovative techniques and green solutions avoided costly excavation and produced a long-term plan that protected and enhanced the environment while maintaining the Army mission," said Loder. "This project has been recognized in Army Environmental Command publications as an innovative and sustainable remedy, and the strategy has been applauded by EPA and state regulators."

"Many of APG's remaining sites are among the most complex and challenging due to the nature and extent of contamination," Smith said. "Standard cleanup practices will cost the Army over $30 million. Our challenge is to continue the actions recognized by the Secretary of the Army to find innovative technologies that protect the environment for reuse while demonstrating fiscal efficiency."

Page last updated Fri April 19th, 2013 at 07:59