Fort Stewart DPW recognized by Secretary of the Army
February 25, 2010
<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>-For a second year in a row, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield has achieved recognition through the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Sustainability. Stewart-Hunter's Prevention and Compliance Branch of the Directorate of Public Works' Environmental Division has once again been recognized as Runner-up - Installation/Activity, according to Tressa Rutland, chief of the Prevention and Compliance Branch.
"We have institutionalized sustainability into the framework of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield's overall operations and management," explained Rutland, an environmental engineer who leads a staff of 23 government employees and 75 civilian contractors - subject matter experts that include other environmental engineers, chemical engineers, industrial engineers, civil engineers, biologists and specialized project managers.
"Our team is able to support the installation, our Soldiers and their Families and the community and still be good stewards of the environment."
Rutland's team is used to accolades. The Prevention and Compliance Branch is responsible for improving and sustaining environmental resources that include air quality, water quality, soil erosion and sedimentation control, and cultural resources such as wetlands and cemeteries.
Their success in accomplishing their mission has led to their receiving environmental quality awards from the Secretary of the Army in 2001, 2005, 2008 and, although yet to be awarded, 2009. She credits their reputation of achievement to not only their efforts to improve and sustain these environmental resources but also through their partnership with the community.
"Nobody wants a landfill in their backyard," Rutland said, explaining that Fort Stewart maintains a landfill but that Liberty County does not. "We also have a recycle processing station on Fort Stewart, and we have invited Liberty County to bring recyclable material to our station."
She said Stewart-Hunter's recycle program not only reduces the solid waste - paper, plastic, aluminum cans, etc. - going into its landfill; by allowing Liberty County to take part in the installation's recycle program, the community is able to reduce the amount of solid waste it ships to neighboring county landfills.
In addition to the Secretary of the Army award, the Prevention and Compliance Branch recently underwent an important inspection, the Environmental Performance Assessment Survey. Rutland explained the survey is one of the tools used to evaluate whether the Prevention and Compliance Branch is still in compliance with ISO 14001, through which they were certified in 2005.
ISO 14001 is an international standards organization that sets requirements for environmental management systems as a means of confirming global relevance for an organization operating in an environmentally sustainable manner. She said the survey concluded with 10 findings, most of which were administrative issues, which were corrected on the spot. Rutland said these results show a tremendous improvement over their first audit in 2003, which had 52 findings.
"Overall, the audit confirmed that we are still in conformance with ISO 14001," she said. "Our branch has been identified as a model for the Army for ISO 14001."
As she pointed out that Stewart-Hunter's Prevention and Compliance Branch will now be competing for the Department of Defense level for the environmental sustainability award, she does not see awards as personal achievements.
"This isn't our award," she said. "This award belongs to the installation, our Soldiers, their Families and the community."