Fort Hood makes Texas-sized impact on environmental quality

By U.S. ArmyMarch 6, 2018

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1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Hood Recycle employees navigate through the war-torn street and haul away set props that added to the 15,100 pounds of scrap metal collected from the National Geographic miniseries, "The Long Road Home." Fort Hood exceeded the Qualified Recyclin... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – At the quarterly Environmental Quality Control Committee (EQCC) meeting Glenn Collier, Environmental Compliance Assessment Team lead assessor, encourages leaders to be proactive in their unit motor pools and unit areas and ensure environmental compli... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Gen. John Uberti, III Corps deputy commanding general at the time, presents the Blackjack/Ironhorse Dining Facility a Net Zero Waste Award for having the Best Food Waste Composting Program for the first quarter of FY17. The award is one of the t... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, speaks during the Fort Hood renewable energy project ribbon cutting ceremony at the Phantom Solar farm in June 2017. In FY17, Fort Hood completed installation of a 15 megawatt (MW) so... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Robert Trejo, Zoomagination, describes the life of several animals to 1,041 students during Fort Hood's annual Earth Day event in April 2017. Fort Hood hosted the installation's largest environmental education event called Fort Hood Earth Day that in... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Joseph Williams and Sgt. Jose Rentas, CRDAMC, discuss Fort Hood's mission readiness and environmental efforts with Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from John Horn High School in Mesquite. Throughout the year, Fort Hood engages and co... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Fort Hood is the home of III Corps Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Army Division West, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and other brigades, tenant units, and organizations. Located on 218,823 acres in south central Texas, the installation creates a huge annual economic impact of $35.4 billion. With a Soldier population of 36,046 and training an additional 22,000 Reserve Soldiers annually, Fort Hood environmentally impacts the region, as well--in very big, very positive ways.

In fact, the environmental quality program is an excellent collaborative effort that earned a 2017 Secretary of the Army Award for Environmental Quality for a non-industrial installation.

"Fort Hood is leading the way in environmental quality," Brian Dosa, director of Public Works, said. "Personnel work tirelessly with internal and external stakeholders on projects from beginning to end, ensuring inclusion of environmental considerations for virtually every project."

One example of Fort Hood's successes is its Net Zero Waste goal--eliminating landfill waste by 2020. Results of this community effort are staggering. For example, dining facilities and commissaries donated or composted millions of pounds of food during the past two years.

The overall recycling program is among the best, collecting more than 10 million pounds of saleable recyclable materials from the installation and keeping it out of landfills. Recent renovations to its recycle center nearly doubled processing capacity--from 1.4 million to 3 million pounds a month.

Fort Hood recycling generated gross revenues of $1.699 million in FY17 by selling recyclable materials. Proceeds helped sponsor family and Soldier events.

Other milestones include achieving an approximately 55 percent reduction in average annual water use and finishing a solar photovoltaic array and wind power generation project. The 63,000 solar panels and 21 wind turbines, which represent the Army's first hybrid renewable energy project, will provide more than 40 percent of the installation's annual energy usage.

A FY17 "surge event" collected more than 1 million pounds of excess equipment. Fort Hood Recycle is working with other military installations to replicate this successful recycling event.

Another program allowed personnel and family members to drop off household hazardous waste for reuse, recycling, or disposal. In 2017 alone, this effort collected 5,080 pounds of household hazardous waste, of which 1,445 pounds were recycled and 1,400 pounds were reused.

A successful pollution prevention initiative is an on-post area called the Environmental Corner that includes a mobile kitchen trailer, containerized kitchen wash bay, and tanker purge facility. During 2016 and 2017, the wash bay cleaning saved more than a million gallons of polluted water from entering the sanitary sewer, and the tanker purge facility avoided discharge of more than two million gallons of contaminated water.

Each contributor to Fort Hood's environmental efforts brings uniquely relevant strengths. The Environmental Compliance Assessment Team, for example, conducts assessments and training that helps Soldiers, civilians, and contractors understand how the installation's environmental policies and regulations apply to them.

The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (CRDAMC) does its share, too. CRDAMC implemented a significant number of programs to lessen its environmental impact. Reducing plastics in the operating room (e.g., skin prep solution bottles, trays, urinals) and reprocessing medical devices, for example, saved several hundred thousand dollars in waste disposal costs.

Throughout the year, Fort Hood communicates with employees, stakeholders, and external communities via social media, electronic newsletters, the installation's newspaper, briefings, and school and community events. Such efforts announce environmental programs, services, accomplishments, and special events.

In addition to the Secretary of the Army award, the U.S. Forest Service recognized the installation for the 12th consecutive year, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized Fort Hood for balancing training and conservation, specifically efforts to improve conditions for two endangered songbirds, the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo.