By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)May 4, 2017
Fort Leonard Wood is often on the forefront of new ways to conserve energy and water as good environmental stewards.
The U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School E.F. Bullene CBRN Defense Training Facility is one organization on post working in that direction.
The CDTF recently completed testing on a new water recycling program that will ensure cost and resource savings for the future.
The project, a joint venture with the Army Corps of Engineers and their subcontractor, Battelle, recycles the approximately 300 gallons of water a day used in "live agent" training areas and cleans it for reuse, said Daniel Murray, CDTF director. By having the recycling capabilities, the old way of contracting the removal of the contaminated water and the associated costs are no longer necessary.
"We felt that if there was a way it could be recycled and we could save that money, it would be a great environmental initiative and a great fiscal solution as well," Murray said.
That wastewater coming out of training areas at the CDTF has breakdown chemicals from live agents, charcoal powder from decontamination operations, bleach, soap and breakdown materials from paper products used in the training environment, Murray said.
The process to recycle the wastewater includes several steps to remove the excess material picked up in the training environment.
Battelle representative, David deLesdernier, said the process includes taking out the chlorine and bleach, restoring the pH to neutral, running the water through an air stripper to take out volatile organic compounds, the removal of semi-organic compounds through an activated-charcoal filter process, then sending the water through two reverse osmosis systems to separate the salt water from usable water.
"At the end of this process, 60 percent of the water is recycled, 40 percent is a harmless brine byproduct and none of it requires off-site disposal," deLesdernier said, adding the brine could be processed in the post water treatment facility to be used across the installation, something the Directorate of Public Works is looking at now.
"This system is not producing anything harmful to be put back into the environment at all," Murray added.
One day a week, the CDTF will turn the system on, process roughly 1,500 gallons of water and that will process all the water that came out of the training areas during the week, deLesdernier said.
Charlie Neel, chief, Environmental Division, Directorate of Public Works, said the CDTF should be commended for their efforts.
"The CDTF wastewater recycling project is exactly the kind of pollution prevention (P2) project we look for -- projects that save money and help keep pollutants out of the environment," Neel said.
John Carey, CDTF deputy director and surety coordinator, agreed, adding that being good environmental stewards is important for the Army.
"As part of being a good steward you are always looking to reduce those points that produce a pollutant to the environment, and that's what I think what we've done here," he said.
This is not the first P2 project done at the CDTF, Carey said, but it is the largest.