In Anniston Army Depot's  Nichols Industrial Complex, hydraulic fluid is drained from a Stryker vehicle in a catch pan.  Catch pans should be used to capture only one type of product and clearly marked.
In Anniston Army Depot's Nichols Industrial Complex, hydraulic fluid is drained from a Stryker vehicle in a catch pan. Catch pans should be used to capture only one type of product and clearly marked. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala -- Anniston Army Depot is strongly committed to protecting the environment and being good stewards.

As the Department of Defense’s Center for Industrial and Technical Expertise for Combat Vehicles (tracked and wheeled) (except Bradley), artillery, assault bridging, small caliber weapons, locomotives, rail equipment and non-tactical generators, the installation has to comply with federal and state regulations.

To ensure the pursuit of sustainability and the willingness of personally reducing waste resources, the Directorates of Risk Management and Public Works uses various communication platforms to reach the workforce of approximately 4,000 employees.

Some of the reminders are to safeguard the various waste water streams. According to Paul Smith, a DPW engineer, the industrial waste stream is comprised of general waste, which consists of heavy metals and other compounds; the steam clean waste comes from the cleaning of equipment and parts and the chrome waste stream comes from the plating facilities. The sanitary waste stream is primarily sewage, and the storm waste stream controls the surface water flow on the depot.

“In essence, the treatment plants clean sewage and water so they can be returned to the environment,” said Smith, as he addressed the workforce on The Morning Show.  “But, it’s important we adhere to measures to prevent a negative impact on the waste streams,” said Smith. “They aren’t designed to handle foreign objects, such as gloves, rags or so called flushable wipes.”

Kevin Guy, an environmental protection specialist, emphasized the importance of being good environmental stewards. “We want to ensure the environment we work, live and conduct recreation activities in is safe to do so,” he said. “Due to the nature of our operations, there are many potential ways the environment could be polluted, but our Environmental Management System causes us to think in a proactive manner and identify potential harmful tasks. We, then, look at those tasks and come up with a strategy that allows us to still accomplish the mission and protect the environment too. When done properly, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

On a regular basis, environmental bulletins are distributed electronically to employees. Those announcements cover various topics, to include ways to improve our current processes. Additionally, Guy and DRK inspectors teach Resource Conservation and Recovery Act training, which ensures employees are properly trained on the management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste.

There’s always room for improvement.

For example, spills probably occur often. Some happen indoors or in areas where the release doesn’t make it into the environment. But, if it does, the individual or section who caused the spill is responsible for the cleanup or call 911 for assistance.

In the Nichols Industrial Complex, catch pans (also used interchangeably with drip pans, buckets, or fabricated pans) which are used to capture various types of oil products and antifreeze, can be found in areas where teardown operations take place. They should be used to capture only one type of product and clearly marked. This could prevent the spread of chemicals into environment storm drains.

“Nothing goes down storm water drains other than storm water,” said Guy. “Oil, chemicals, and blast media are concerns, so it is important to reiterate the importance of the correct processes.”

“The depot has permits in place and any violation has serious repercussions which could be costly,” he added. “We all have a role in fostering better habits while protecting our environment.”

If you’d like to know more, contact Smith at Ext. 6723 or 4645 or Guy at Ext. 3051 or 7746.