Environmental office uses Earth Day to promote clean water
Tara McCullen (left), senior consultant, and Mike Shoemaker, environmental engineer, both with Wenck Associates, Inc., man an information both April 21 outside the Mini Mall at Fort McPherson. The two helped educate people about the importance of keeping water ways clean as part of the BRAC Environmental Office’s Earth Day event.

Many people have speculated that the next big war will be fought over water. Though no one can say if this will happen for sure, and if so, when, one thing that is known is that it is important to protect our water ways.

To educate people on this end, the BRAC Environmental office held information booths April 21, a day before Earth Day, at the Mini Mall at Fort McPherson and the Commissary at Fort Gillem. Literature, information packets and specialists from Wenck Associates, Inc., an engineering, environmental and consulting company, were on hand to educate people.

The event, which lasted from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., was themed "Sustaining the Environment for a Secure Future," and the topic of protecting water ways was chosen by the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency, said Tara McCullen, senior consultant, Wenck Associates, Inc. Protecting water ways is important because for every 10,000 gallons of water on Earth, fewer than 50 are potentially usable fresh water, said McCullen.

Surface bodies such as lakes, rivers and creeks contain about three of those gallons, she added. Unfortunately, many people do easily avoidable things that contaminate potable water, McCullen said.

Things such as pouring chemicals down drains, leaving pet waste out, washing cars at car washes that do not recycle water or overuse of fertilizers and pesticides all pollute this water, she said. "It (pollution) all ends up in water ways, our lake and rivers where we get our water from," McCullen said.

Additionally, pollution can kill fish and other animals as well as make recreation water ways unusable, she said. Educating people on protecting water, in addition to showing them how to help keep water clean, also has economic benefits, said Mike Shoemaker, environmental engineer, Wenck Associates, Inc.

"The long term health costs are greater than just keeping water clean," he said. Economic costs may also increase the price of water in the future. Although not a full-fledged war like some predict, conflicts over water can already been seen between Georgia, Alabama and Florida, three states which are currently involved in a dispute over Lake Lanier, Ga., Shoemaker said. Such issues only highlight the need to protect water, McCullen said. "We need to keep our fresh water clean because less than one-half of one percent of the Earth's water supply is usable fresh water," she said.

For more information on Earth Day and how the Army is working to keep the environment clean, visit www.aec.army.mil/usaec/newsroom/earthday00.html.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16