By Rita Hess, USAEC ContractorMarch 31, 2018
U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Daegu, approximately 200 miles south of Seoul, covers more than 19,000 square miles (nearly half) of the South Korean Peninsula. It consists of 14 U.S. military installations. Camp Henry serves as headquarters for USAG Daegu.
The Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Environmental Division team consists of five Army civilians, six Korean national civilians, and one contract worker. The group oversees 38 environmental programs (e.g., air emissions, cultural and historical resources, natural resources, hazardous materials, water quality) and reporting. The team's accomplishments are evident and provide an example for other installations.
This team is truly making a difference with their commitment to the military mission while promoting great environmental stewardship," said Col. Robert P. Mann, Jr., garrison commander of USAG Daegu. This has been demonstrated time and time again through their conservation, resource protection, and waste reduction efforts. The team's community and stakeholder outreach program is second to none in Korea. To further highlight the environmental program's accomplishments to the community, a series of seven articles were published in the biweekly peninsula-wide newspaper, The Morning Calm. These articles profiled environmental success stories and educated people on what steps they could take to make a difference in saving our resources.
The garrison mitigates risk with periodic training on safety, compliance, and ethics. Environmental stewardship is another key mission. USAG Daegu's Wetlands Green Neighbor Initiative (GNI) program demonstrates to local communities how the U.S. government improves or maintains the environment on Army installations in South Korea. The GNI, for example, allows children to visit the installation's wetlands and provides tours of other facilities.
Military members and Army civilians plant trees side-by-side with Korean neighbors on Arbor Day and during Earth Week, and garrison members teach local schools about recycling and becoming good environmental stewards.
Indeed, a key element in USAG Daegu's environmental initiatives is the wetland and stream restoration project. The DPW designed a project to rejuvenate and improve the function of the wetland system and provide a sustainable landscape. Restoration provided flood and erosion control, as well as a haven for native wildlife species, and other benefits.
USAG Daegu is currently the only garrison on the Korean Peninsula that segregates all recyclable materials at the source--allowing the garrison to use profits for military quality of life improvements. Special emphasis campaigns increase awareness of important community recycling efforts. The Environmental Team educates tenants about the benefits and importance of recycling through ongoing radio and television spots, community events, a website, informational pamphlets, and other outreach initiatives. Indoor and outdoor recycling receptacles are strategically located at every facility on each installation; they are clearly labeled and collected frequently.
Landfills are scarce on the peninsula, making reuse, recycling, and reduction paramount. Installation of a food dehydrator at Camp Henry's dining facility in September 2017 is expected to reduce food waste by approximately 85 percent.
Other examples include solid waste reductions/diversions of 67.8 percent in 2016 and 70.7 percent in 2017. Less than 10 percent of construction/ demolition waste went to the landfill each of those periods. Indeed, the combined solid waste disposal cost avoidance for 2016 and 2017 exceeded $5 million. Proceeds help sustain and improve the recycling program and other environmental initiatives.
Another integral component of solid waste reduction and diversion program is land farm operations. The land farm treats contaminated soil to a reusable level; it is then used as backfill for projects throughout the garrison, avoiding disposal costs.
USAG Daegu's Environmental Division was the first Army installation on the peninsula to implement the Enterprise Environmental Safety and Occupational Health-Management Information System into daily operations. Environmental Officers help ensure hazardous materials are managed properly throughout the lifecycle. The installation has saved $1.2 million in disposal costs and reduced its hazardous waste footprint by 64.3 percent.
Also, the Environmental Team increased cleanup frequency for oil-water separators, which had produced metals in sludge at the wastewater treatment plant in Camp Carroll. This allowed classifying the waste stream as non-regulated waste and substantially reduced USAG Daegu's annual disposal expenditure.
Environmental personnel work closely with unit environmental officers and other garrison directorate personnel. This action helped reduce reportable spills by 100 percent in fiscal year 2017, provided significant savings, and reduced the environmental footprint--while supporting and sustaining the mission.
These and other accomplishments reflect the USAG Daegu Environmental Team's immense commitment to protecting, improving, and enhancing our environment.