By Alexandria SollerAugust 24, 2018
Tobyhanna, PA - Tobyhanna Army Depot's environmental branch is progressively shaping the depot's future through several projects that reduce energy and waste.
Recognized for many environmental awards over the years, including the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, the depot's environmental team has been recognized for innovation and new technology, as well as water conservation initiatives.
Dave Ruskey, Environmental Engineer, has developed a project utilizing innovative sensor and meter technology, automating process control improvements on many high energy comprehensive systems, which includes eight large paint booths and two large blast booths. Cost savings and energy reductions from this project led to the acceptance of the 2018 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award. Another significant benefit of this project is the reduction of hazardous waste.
Remarkably in less than 5 months, this project proved that it was worth the initial cost. Tobyhanna plans on expanding this effort in the future to larger centralized compressors and may also be able to assist other sites with the potential to implement similar projects.
Another recognition received on August 23, 2018, is the 2018 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award, given to Tobyhanna's Environmental Protection Specialist, Thomas Wildoner for his water conservation initiatives. Tobyhanna volunteered for the U.S. Army Net Zero Water Pilot Program in fiscal year 2011 with a goal of achieving a 50% water reduction by fiscal year 2020. This goal was attained in fiscal year 2017, three years in advance.
A robust data collection and monitoring system helped achieve the water reduction goal as well as investments in water saving technologies such as rain water harvesting, wastewater reuse, acoustic leak detection equipment, water pressure monitoring and water valve monitoring. Water usage was reduced by 52% from 87.9 million gallons in fiscal year 2007 to 42 million gallons. This accomplishment saves the installation a total of $475,564 in water use and wastewater treatment costs.
Another Environmental Engineering, Jacob Gogno, was recognized with the Director's Impact Award for the work he did at Tobyhanna's hazardous material storage facility. Historically, collected hazardous material would have been issued to individuals or organizations that could beneficially reutilize it. However, due to a lack of demand and uncertainty of the responsibility, hazardous material has been accumulating over the last four years. Since July 2017, Gogno has coordinated the removal of over 29,000lbs of expired or unused hazardous material. He has also implemented an ongoing plan to continuously remove expired hazardous material, so that it will not significantly accumulate in the future. Removing this material eliminates the potential for spills and exposure to human health and the environment.
"Removing this material was extremely difficult and time consuming. I had to work with several TYAD employees, other Department of Defense organizations, and hazardous waste contractors to develop a process to properly remove this material while remaining in environmental compliance. So to receive recognition for the work I did in Bldg. 74 was extremely gratifying," said Gogno. He was also recognized with a Commanders Coin.
Jose Abrams, a production controller of Tobyhanna, was also recognized in Fort Hood, Texas, with a 3rd Quarter Heroes Award for his Environmental Compliance Officer duties. Abrams and his team exceeded the established goals of all environmental audits during 2015-2018.
Along with these recognized projects, the Environmental team has numerous other projects that have been initiated in the past and are currently being introduced depot-wide.
Solar energy projects launched in recent years continue to provide return on investment for the depot, including solar wall panels. These panels have been strategically installed on seven buildings across the depot to take full advantage of the sunlight. As the sunlight strikes the surface of the panel, the solar heated air is drawn through perforations in the panel and distributed through the building's duct work. Approximately 500,000 square feet is benefited by the panels, as fans distribute the warm air when needed in the adjacent bays.
Ruskey, the environmental engineer that carried out the project said, "The goal of the units is to supplement heating to reduce natural gas consumption within the bays."
Although the key feature of the panels is to heat buildings, the project has many other benefits. The panels act as sunscreen during the summer months, preventing the sunshine from directly striking the building wall. During cool summer nights, the panels can be used to pull cooler outdoor air inside. Some of the benefits include improvements in air quality, reductions in heating costs and a strong return on investment.
The team's immediate upcoming plans include executing objectives from the Toby 2020 Invest in Our People line of effort initiatives that include continuing to reduce energy, reducing the quantity of unused hazardous materials and working towards the ISO 50001 Energy Management System.