CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) successfully recycled 17 tons of metal and cardboard materials on a monthly basis in 2018-2019. CCAD conducted its first Earth Day event that educated 536 students on a wide variety of environmental topics at their sponsored school, Kolda Elementary. The Depot also improved the corrosion prevention process by successfully using environmentally preferred chemicals.
Established in 1961 and located on the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi (NASCC), CCAD is an industrial Army installation responsible for providing depot level maintenance of rotary aircraft for the Department of Defense as well as most North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations. It operates under an Army Working Capital Fund (AWCF) and has a revenue of more than $800 million annually.
The installation sits on 158 acres, and has more than 70 buildings on 2.3 million square feet of industrial space. CCAD employs over 3,000 personnel.
CCAD’s mission is to provide our Nation with the best value for modification, repair, and overhaul of rotary wing components and aircraft to support strategic readiness of the Army. On order, repair forward-deployed aircraft, and components worldwide.
“Our vision is Mission first, People always!” said Commander Colonel Gail Atkins. “We accept that mission with great pride.”
CCAD’s goal is to meet the Army’s readiness requirements no matter what the mission, during both wartime and peace. “We will always answer our Nation’s call,” Colonel Atkins said.
As an AWCF entity, and ISO certified industrial operation CCAD efficiently uses time and resources while maintaining high quality manufacturing, environmental, and safety standards.
The Army Aviation and Missile Command supports the Depot Environmental Management System in the identification and implementation of sustainable actions and improvements.
CCAD recycles as much as possible to keep personnel in the habit of the recycling mindset, CCAD uses the installation solid waste contractor and Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services to recycle as many waste streams as possible.
In 2018 and 2019, the Depot established a means of increasing their recycling practices of metal and cardboard waste by 40 percent.
CCAD diverts 15 tons of mixed metals and 2 tons of cardboard to recycling per month.
The Environmental Compliance Program staff make it almost effortless for personnel to recycle the waste by providing receptacles that they pick up and store.
The nature of the Depot’s industrial processes, dictates that most parts must go through a process called passivation that prevents corrosion. This process typically uses hazardous chemicals.
As part of a toxic chemical reduction program, a test was conducted at CCAD, to replace nitric acid in the process with an environmentally preferred product.
Nitric acid is commonly used on products in the aircraft and auto industry that require corrosion prevention and is considered to be the industry standard.
CCAD has replaced nitric acid with citric acid. Citric acid is organic, safe and easy to use. Citric acid is found in oranges and other citrus fruits.
More than 99% of the citric acid sold in the U.S. is used in food and beverage products. It is also used in cleaners and disinfectants.
When formulated correctly, citric acid provides excellent performance at considerable cost savings.
CCAD, in a partnership with Army Aviation and Missile Command staff, conducted a test on the use of citric acid to replace nitric acid in the corrosion prevention process at the Depot's plating shop.
The test was successful and engineers were delighted with the results. As with every process, there is waste and disposal.
The solution was too acidic to treat in the pre-treatment process, but the waste water treatment team had an idea. They believed the solution could neutralize the base in another process that created a very alkaline waste and required the use of sulfuric acid to bring the pH in line for disposal in pretreatment systems.
The waste water team wanted to see if the citric acid could replace sulfuric acid in the process. So, they took samples and conducted tests to see if it would work.
The results were positive and so a larger test batch was created. The larger batch was also successful! CCAD was able to make two separate processes “greener” as a result of the chemical change.
CCAD hosted its first off-site Earth Day celebration in April 2019.
The inaugural celebration was sponsored in the Corpus Christi Independent School District’s Kolda Elementary School, the Depot’s Adopt a School program partner. The event was an inspiring success, educating more than 536 students.
To accomplish this event, CCAD partnered with local environmental organizations and educational institutions to educate students from 1st-5th grade on the importance of the environment and science.
Presentations included everything from recycling and cultural resources to the recovery and release of sea turtles.
CCAD’s activities in a variety of programs highlight the importance of using the leverage of local partnerships and available resources, even without formalized programs, to make a positive impact on the installation and surrounding community.
Kenneth Norman, environmental programs division chief said “With limited resources, and a dedicated staff, CCAD was able to implement sustainable activity to set an example of how an installation, even one that is only a tenant, can make a difference in taking care of the health of our employees and protecting the natural environment.”