Jason Braxton is an “air guy.”
More specifically, he’s an environmental engineer currently serving as the compliance branch chief in the Directorate of Public Works at the garrison.
His job is to evaluate various projects, determine the environmental impact of the components of those projects, see what mitigation factors need to be used and make sure all the regulations are followed.
But when DPW had to figure out how to ensure the drinking water on post was safe for consumption, of course they called an air guy instead of a water guy.
Well, it really took a team of environmental engineers, both guys and girls for that matter, to figure out how to get the water you drink in the breakrooms on post to the actual faucets, but Braxton had an interesting role to play in the grand scheme of things.
On post there are two water treatment plants in operation that treat potable water. They use chlorine gas to disinfect it.
“Since we use chlorine to treat the water, then we have to store chlorine and it was about six-to-eight thousand pounds per plant,” Braxton said.
The problem with storing chlorine gas in large quantities is that a number of costly environmental regulations are triggered. That’s why they called an air guy. They needed someone to figure out how to store smaller quantities of the gas, while being compliant with the environmental regulations all while saving money.
Eventually they figured out a way to store smaller quantities of chlorine and still meet the need of the water treatment plants.
“It saved the government a lot of money and it reduced the risks,” Braxton said.
Braxton came to work at the garrison in 2013. A former Soldier, when he left the military in 1998 he wanted to do something that was similar to the job he had while serving, which was dealing with chemicals.
“So the closest thing was environmental,” he said.
He worked with U.S. Steel in Fairfield, Alabama before coming to Huntsville. There he learned just how important the environmental side was when it came to corporations making million-dollar decisions about where to locate a new plant or expand a product line at a current one.
“Sometimes control devices could cost $2 million, well that could kill the project,” he said.
But after spending some time in the private sector he wanted to return to an environment that reminded more of his time military.