WIESBADEN, Germany – At the beginning of May, the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden hosted the triennial Environmental Performance Assessment System evaluation. As the U.S. Army is always aiming to meet the highest environmental standards, a six-person EPAS team turned the entire garrison upside down to identify potential problem areas. Straight to the point - the 2022 assessment showed that the Garrison and Directorate of Public Works – do an excellent job. Except for some minor problematic areas, which can be corrected easily by DPW, the inspectors confirmed the Garrison's clean air, fresh water and exemplary waste management strategies already in place.
The U.S. Army Environmental Command, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, executes the EPAS program at all U.S. Army Installation Management Command installations worldwide on a three-year cycle. Annegret Lambrecht, an environmental engineer at DPW, received exemplary recognition for her work during the assessment. Phi Dang, the head of the EPAS team, awarded Lambrecht for her constructive and excellent cooperation with the entire EPAS team as an "Exceptional Performer" after a week of intense work.
The EPAS program assesses both, the Environmental Management System and compliance aspects of a garrison’s environmental program. The assessment includes a review of all equipment and its key points of compliance. Extensive checks are also made for compliance with all regulations and written evidence of this. The work of the employees can also be checked, if necessary. And, last but not least, checks are made to ensure that corrective actions agreed upon during the last inspection are being implemented. The EPAS auditors are interested in questions such as: Do the employees or units plan and comply with the applicable environmental regulations? Does the equipment work correctly? Are the work and storage areas properly cleaned and maintained?
Teams typically spend a week visiting various locations in a garrison to ensure that operations meet the requirements of German host-nation laws and laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Hazardous Waste regulations or corresponding Final Governing Standards and Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document requirements for overseas garrisons, as well as Department of Defense and Army requirements. If there are regulations on the same topic, but in a different set of laws, (e.g. water), the regulation with the strictest rules is always applied. This ensures that action is always taken for the benefit of people, the environment and the globe.
Discovering and helping
“The EPAS experts are supporting our day-to-day work by controlling all measures and actions we have undergone for keeping up with legal requirements,” said Dr. Mirco Grimm, environmental engineer at DPW.
All in all, no high-risk findings were discovered. In addition, some of the discoveries, such as a damaged roof on a historic building near the airfield, can only be remedied with the help of the German authorities. It was particularly emphasized that the employees of the Garrison are very committed to driving their respective programs forward. The EPAS team noticed positive examples in the well-organized recycling center and the huge progress in the sanitary sector, especially in the provision of drinking water. The handling of solid waste in Clay Kaserne barracks and the presence of an Environmental Volunteer Staff, were also praised. The experts had no concerns with housing and high-risk facilities.
By reducing liabilities proactively, the Army avoids potential fines and regulatory distractions, allowing the Garrison to focus fully on accomplishing their mission. With another assessment behind them, the Garrison will make adjustments moving forward - readying themselves for the next visit from the environmental experts three years from now.