DPW environmental teams win Army, DoD awards
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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Surpassing its already stellar record of executing a cost-effective environmental cleanup program, the Directorate of Public Work's Installation Restoration Program recently was recognized with two prestigious awards from the Secretary of the Army and the Department of Defense.

In May, the team was announced as the winner of the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Environmental Restoration in the Installation category. After being advanced to compete at the next level, the team then won the 2013 Secretary of Defense Environmental Restoration Award.

According to Army.mil, Aberdeen Proving Ground was, "once considered an "environmental disaster," with some of the most dangerous remediation sites in the U.S.," due to its history of chemical development and testing.

"Today, a complete transformation has taken place at APG," the site states.

Cindy Smith, chief of DPW's Environmental Planning and Sustainability Branch, said the credit goes to her team members. They include team leader Rurik Loder, who started as an intern in 1991, and include Jeffrey Aichroth, Allison O'Brien, Teresa Deshong, Karen Jobes and retiree Ruth Golding.

Smith thanked her team members as well as DPW director Tom Kuchar for their tireless work and support of the program which has a dual role.

She said that restoration on APG is guided by employing accelerated and innovative strategies, forging strong partnerships with regulators and the public, reducing risks to human health and the environment, implementing green solutions through dynamic program management techniques and focusing on cost effectiveness while supporting the Army's mission.

"We've tried to show not only the importance of cleaning up the environment but getting it ready for future use and development for mission accomplishment," she said, adding that the team also works with engineers so they can plan future construction.

Loder, who oversees is involved in all aspects of the program, said the accomplishment is due to the continuity.

"The key concept is when you have people familiar with the program. We always strive to be the best and we pride ourselves on our work. To be recognized like this is the ultimate recognition."

He added that team members brainstorm with each other about ways to save money.

Most importantly, the Army and the Environmental Protection Agency work together toward established goals, he said.

"We are on the right track. Interaction with the community is of prime importance and we accomplish that with our monthly Restoration Advisory Board meetings which establish a common bond working toward the same threshold.

"It's a win-win situation when we can save money too. We have the Garrison commander's support, the RAB board and contractors working along with us. This recognition is for them too.

Loder said that if all goes well three more sites will be closed by the end of the year. The team currently is providing support for land-clearing operations near the former Maryland Boulevard picnic area.

On May 28, the Secretary of the Army award was presented via Video Teleconference at the Garrison headquarters. Presenting the award was Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.

Glenn Wait, deputy to the Garrison commander, Kuchar and Smith accepted the award on behalf of the team members who were gathered alongside them.

"The best part of my job is thanking those whose efforts on the part of the Army benefit ongoing missions to restore training ranges and test fire missions," Hammack said. She credited the APG team with saving $3.8 million through collaborations with state regulators and maintaining a "proactive approach to forming a lasting alliance that will provide lasting benefits."

The DOD award is scheduled to be presented in July.

Scope of APG Environmental Restoration Program

The APG Environmental Restoration Program team is managed and executed within the Directorate of Public Works. The scopes of the team's efforts include the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) for pre-1985 contamination; the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) for area related munitions cleanups; and the Compliance Restoration Program (CRP) to address post-1985 contamination.

The team consists of a program lead, four project officers and on intern.

The ERP management approach is to focus on high risk areas, streamline contract actions and maintain close communications with stakeholders in a professional and transparent manner.

Team accomplishments

Accomplishments achieved within the nomination period include:

Completing five Records of Decision and six Remedial Action Completion reports

Through federal and state regulatory partnering, APG developed an innovative solution when white phosphorous (WP) was discovered during a removal action which increased disposal costs from $418,000 to $4.5 million. Using the sun's energy to facilitate the oxidation of the WP, the revised cost of the project was $729,000, saving the Army $3.8 million.

Consolidated eight contracts into performance based contracts resulting in cost savings of $7 million over the lifetime of the contract; accelerated regulator review/approval process; segmenting the contracts to include small businesses resulting in more than 12 jobs within the community; and reduced procurement efforts and a streamlined contracting process.

To meet cleanup objectives, APG implemented a remedy modification at an existing GWTP. A cost savings of more than $300,000 will be realized when cleanup objectives are met.

APG hosted DOD's Environmental Security Certification Technology Program (ESCTP) which funded scientists to study innovative technologies to address chemicals in wetland environments on the installation. Preliminary estimated costs to remediate the 200 acre site exceeded $30 million. If successful, remediation cost savings to the Army will be in the millions of dollars.

To address site multiple contamination sources while minimizing risks from ordnance and chemical warfare materials (CWM) APG implemented innovative technologies and green solutions which are resulting in a minimum of $1 million remedial cost savings while making 57 acres of previously restricted land available for sustaining the Army's mission.