Indiana Army National Guard Improves State-Wide Industrial Sustainability
By Kathy Alward, USAEC ContractorMarch 18, 2020
SEMF 14 was awarded the 2020 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Sustainability for an industrial installation. By their efforts, SEMF 14 saved money, time and resources while setting the standard for other INARNG facilities to strive to achieve.Surface Equipment Maintenance Facility (SEMF) 14 in Lafayette, Indiana, is the third largest SEMF of the Indiana Army National Guard (INARNG). SEMF 14 employs a staff of 17, including 15 direct labor mechanics and two support staff. The Lafayette facility is comprised of a shop, motor pool parking and a readiness center. They not only provide equipment and vehicle support to the INARNG’s units, but they also assist military units convoying through Indiana, as is standard for all the INARNG SEMFs. In the course of their work, SEMF 14 personnel recognize the benefits of environmental sustainability to their operations. Thus, SEMF 14 undertook steps to improve the sustainability at their facility.“It’s great having the Secretary of the Army recognize SEMF 14 for their dedication to resource stewardship. But I am not surprised; all 15 of our SEMFs operate at a high level of environmental performance,” said Mr. Jerry Hartley, chief of the INARNG Environmental Management Branch.SEMF 14 achieved immediate cost savings, waste reduction, and improved safety by switching from conventional brake cleaners to a sustainable refillable charging station. The station uses refillable spray cans that refill from bulk drums of brake cleaner and use compressed air as the propellant. Further, the cleaner is a low volatile organic compound cleaner.The shop’s efficiency was improved through the purchase of a single 55-gallon drum of cleaner every two years, compared to the previous purchase, storage and use of approximately 220 aerosol cans each year. The shop reduced both the amount and cost for disposal of solid and hazardous wastes. The startup costs for the refillable system were recovered within the first year of operation. This refillable system is now in use at three additional SEMFs in Indiana.INARNG SEMFs throughout the state work to reduce waste and increase sustainability throughout their operations. An example of this dedication is their participation in the Qualified Recycling Program, which recycles cardboard, plastic, wood, and scrap metal from shop activities. Their sustainability efforts also employ a vendor that recovers oil and fuel products, avoiding disposal costs. The purchase and use of an antifreeze recycler has reduced the purchase of new antifreeze.From a prior statewide sustainability effort across all 15 of INARNG’s SEMFs, SEMF 14 adopted a technology system for recharging batteries. This technology reduces new battery requirements by approximately 50 percent, while also reducing environmental impacts and disposal costs. This system provides a slow recharge on seemingly dead batteries over a seven-day period.“We are proud of SEMF 14’s achievement; being awarded the 2020 Secretary of the Army sustainability award. We look forward to continuing the great working relationship with the Environmental Office and our efforts to achieve environmental sustainability,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Todd Brown, supervisory surface maintenance specialist.SEMF 14 coordinates closely with the INARNG Environmental Management Branch to ensure products are sustainable and the shop’s compliance record is protected. SEMFs and environmental staff consistently work together throughout the state to achieve environmental compliance and improve sustainability efforts. An example of this cooperation is coordination between shop chiefs and environmental staff whenever new products are introduced.Surface maintenance staff and the state warehouse staff identify products that could be shared across all INARNG locations to amplify the benefits of sustainability efforts. The state warehouse is a single access point for products that multiple shops use, which reduces compliance oversight, simplifies operations and enhances purchasing accountability.