By U.S. Army Environmental CommandApril 16, 2009
LANSING, Mich. - The Combined Support Maintenance Shop (CSMS) in Lansing, Mich., is home to the only full re-painting facility for the Michigan Army National Guard (MIARNG). Twelve to 15 vehicles and other pieces of equipment come to be re-coated every month.
The facility, part of the Guard's 59-acre Joint Forces Headquarters Complex, combines advanced painting and stripping materials and techniques to reduce pollution and waste. Operational for four years now, CSMS is certified under the ISO 9001 quality management standard. This supports the Michigan Guard's goal of being an example of environmental stewardship and sustainability in the region.
Over the past two years, CSMS, working with the MIARNG environmental division, trained and equipped all paint staff with water-based Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) paints. The water-based CARC and primer contain no hazardous air pollutants and therefore have significantly reduced air emissions of volatile organic compounds. The switch to water-based CARC paints also significantly reduces the facility's hazardous waste stream and disposal costs for painting operations.
The Army Research Lab developed water-based CARC and primer to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Act regulations, but they also are safer to apply and easier to use. The switch to water-based paint benefits paint technician health and safety by minimizing their exposure to potentially harmful toxins. The new paint also is safer for Soldiers, since it coats their equipment with a finish three times more protective than the old paint.
The painters' training incorporated the techniques of STAR4D - Spray Technique Analysis and Research for Defense - supported by the Defense Logistics Agency. All painters are required to complete this training to ensure proper operating procedures and safety protocols are followed to receive the maximum benefit of the new system. When used correctly, the STAR4D technique reduces material consumption and volatile organic compound emissions by 15 percent each. The CSMS also realized an improvement in transfer efficiency and savings in paint material used.
In addition to using the new CARC paint, MIARNG also implemented a new paint stripping process. Like the CARC paint system, the stripping process also is greener. Known as CLAWS -Closed-Loop Advanced Water-jet System - the new system removes old paint with water instead of solvent or blasting material.
Eliminating solvent-based materials has reduced air filter replacement, cut hazardous waste streams, and enhanced paint technician safety. In addition, the CSMS continues to look for new recycling streams. Water is already recycled in the paint prepping process, and aerosol paint cans used for stenciling are punctured after use and recycled as scrap metal.
"The MIARNG has reached some key milestones over the past two years which have made it greener and more sustainable than ever," said Maj. Scott Meyers, of MIARNG CSMS. "By implementing spray technique analysis and research for painter training programs and converting from solvent-based to water-based CARC painting systems and water-based painting materials the MIARNG maximized the availability of training areas and facilities to enable Soldier training and readiness."
To improve pollution prevention awareness and practices throughout the state, the installation has hosted numerous meetings and events, providing tours of the CSMS and its operations for public and private organizations, including environmental regulators, scout troops, and college classes.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Tad Davis, recognized MIARNG with the fiscal 2008 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for pollution prevention at a non-industrial installation. This represents the highest honor in the field of environmental science conferred by the Army.
An independent panel of judges, made up of professionals from federal, state and Army organizations, recommended MIARNG for the award. "With a strong commitment to planning and training, the MIARNG ensures continuous improvement for their pollution prevention efforts," said judge Marlin Gottschalk, of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. "By eliminating solvent-based paints and associated hazardous waste streams and improving painting processes and procedures, the MIARNG reduces harmful exposures and improves health and safety for all installation personnel."
MIARNG will go on to compete for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards. For details about the fiscal year 2008 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards recipients visit the U.S. Army Environmental Command's awards page at http://aec.army.mil/usaec/newsroom/awards00.html.
This information is provided by the U.S. Army Environmental Command. USAEC is the Army's point organization for supporting the implementation of environmental programs that facilitate sustainable Army training and operations while protecting the environment. We provide environmental program management and technical support products and services in support of Army training operations, acquisition and sound stewardship.
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