FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Feb. 23, 2012) -- The Fort Rucker Environmental Management Branch achieved runner-up status for a Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Environmental Quality, non-industrial installation, for fiscal year 2011.

The installation's Environmental Management Service got glowing reviews for the Environmental Performance Assessment System during an audit conducted by the Army Environmental Command and the Public Health Command, according to Melissa Lowlavar, Environmental Management Branch chief and EMS management representative.

"Based on the category, we determine what we have done in that particular fiscal year that we feel is worthy enough to put in for an award," she said. Fort Rucker was recognized for the way the installation presented its EMS.

"I think that Fort Rucker has done a very good job with its EMS implementation," said Jim Wood, EMS lead auditor. "I think that the audit results documented that effort."

The implementation of EMS, with its communication and awareness efforts, included a website containing the details about the environmental programs that provides access to awareness tools, according to the management representative.

"It's an Army requirement to have an EMS," said Lowlavar, "but the way we have it working, we actually had environmental officers and environmental points of contact all over the installation. We have Soldiers, civilians and contractors working and using the EMS so that it's functional."

The EMSMR is part of the Directorate of Public Works, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, which allows a deeper understanding of what is required for effective EMS implementation, according to the branch chief.

The EMS implementation team, which is composed of personnel from various installation organizations, is utilized by the management representative in order to integrate the EMS into the installation.

"It's not just me," said Lowlavar. "I am the EMSMR but I can't do it by myself. If you don't have all the key players like the Soldiers, civilians and contractors working together, nothing will happen."

The mission of DPW-ENRD is to sustain Fort Rucker's quality of life, which it does through its mission statement, E=pc2, which means environmental policy is to prevent pollution, comply with laws and continually improve.

"Our basic job is to protect the installation against any environmental fines from hazards and such," she said. "Our main goal is to help the Soldier. We have to make sure that [anything environmentally relevant] is taken care of so pilots can fly. We have to make sure there are no sinkholes in the airfields and we're the ones that get any hazardous waste, generated by aircraft, off the installation."

EMS was implemented by DPW-ENRD in order to manage the eight significant environmental aspects, which include: air emissions, energy use and conservation, hazardous waste generation, natural resources alteration, noise generation, pollution prevention, solid waste generation and spills to water and soil.

"These aspects are everything that we do through EMS that we think are significant and need to take care of for Fort Rucker," said Lowlavar.

The tireless efforts by the EMS team to implement the Fort Rucker EMS installation-wide, is the reason for receiving the recognition, said the management representative.

"We have earned this recognition through much hard work and consistent implementation of [our mission statement] by everyone at Fort Rucker," she said.