KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Recently the hazardous material management program team received a call from Ramstein Air Base. The Air Force there had some containers of fuel additive they no longer needed, and they wanted to know if the HMMP team could help. The team called an Army aviation unit in Ansbach, Germany, and sure enough – the unit said yes – and the fuel additive containers, which were otherwise earmarked for HAZMAT disposal, were transferred.
While only a cost saving of about $2,000, it’s another example of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s HMMP team exercising its extensive HAZMAT contact list, coordinating the transfer of HAZMAT from one command to another and saving the government money. In fact – the HMMP team, which is assigned to the 405th AFSB’s Installation Logistics Directorate, has saved the Army a total of about a $520,000 since 2021.
There are lots of good news cost savings stories to tell, according to Juliet Batalon, an HMMP team member at the 405th AFSB. Using their hazardous material reuse centers, or HMRCs – one in Wiesbaden, one in Stuttgart and two in Bavaria – they receive hundreds of different types of HAZMAT items from units that no longer need the items and issue them back to other units who do, for free.
“A good example is toner cartridges,” Batalon said. “When offices get new life-cycle replacement printers, and their old printers are turned in but they still have toner cartridges left – they have to go somewhere. So the HMRCs take them, and for the units who still have those types of printers on hand they can grab the free issue toner cartridges.”
Although toner cartridges aren’t considered as hazardous as items such as fuel, oil, solvents and chemicals, “they’re a big ticket item because those toner cartridges can cost $200 a piece,” said Batalon.
The overall mission of the HMMP is comprehensive and multifaceted. In addition to the reduction of costs to acquire and dispose of HAZMAT, the 405th AFSB program is responsible for decreasing the logistics footprint associated with HAZMAT, reducing risk to personnel, property and the environment, and cradle-to-grave tracking of all HAZMAT.
“We started this program in 2002 with three installations in Europe, and it grew to our current state now, which is all the garrisons and all the installations,” Batalon said. “By regulation we are required to track all HAZMAT that enters our installations, and because we are in Europe there are stricter regulations and laws concerning chemicals and other HAZMAT items that must be followed.”
Batalon said the HMMP team is responsible for conducting or coordinating inspections at all the sites that have HAZMAT within the 405th AFSB’s area of responsibility. The team makes sure each of the locations are in compliance with safety, environmental and occupational health requirements.
The HMMP team uses the Enterprise Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health – Management Information System, referred to as EESOH-MIS, to help control and track HAZMAT throughout its life cycle, commonly known as cradle-to-grave management. The system has resulted in extremely accurate HAZMAT inventories, less hazardous waste, increased safety, and cost and time savings.
Pauline Mahieu is a HAZMAT supply technician at Logistics Readiness Center Benelux, 405th AFSB. She said she updates EESOH-MIS on a day-to-day basis to track the process and track all approved HAZMAT. She also said her team has a specially designed HAZMAT storage building they manage.
“My colleagues and I make sure that all HAZMAT is approved before coming onto the installations within the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux area of responsibility,” Mahieu said, “and we do all the coordination between the customers and the HAZMAT program committee.”
“The committee consists of the environmental office, safety office, industrial hygienist and the fire department, and they need to approve the HAZMAT products before any purchases are made,” said Mahieu. “We assist with this approval process and work with the customers to get the HAZMAT products.”
According to Army regulation, the purpose of the HMMP is to integrate accountability for HAZMAT into day-to-day decision making, planning, operations and compliance across all Army missions, activities and functions at all Army installations.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.