By Capt. Kurt Van Slooten, Eighth Army Public AffairsSeptember 10, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea - Whether in garrison or training in the field during exercises, Eighth Army takes its environmental responsibility seriously.
"Eighth Army is dedicated to ensuring we continue to improve our commitment to good stewardship of Korean lands," said Brig. Gen. David J. Conboy, Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Support. "We want our efforts to be transparent to our Korean neighbors, so that they know we are striving to foster a safe, natural environment for our Soldiers as well as our neighbors."
Earlier this year in April, Eighth Army unveiled the Green Neighbor Initiative in hopes of developing stronger environmental ties with the Korean community and instilling a better understanding and awareness of the environment in the American community. One of the key aspects of the initiative was sharing progress toward meeting environmental objectives.
Some of the measures implemented by Eighth Army units during exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2012, were the mandated Spill Contingency Plans for all operational areas which were used to assess overall environmental readiness.
"Spill Contingency Plans contain procedures for reacting to spills, emergency contact information, and other information that can help ensure appropriate response and clean-up," said Phillip Lopez, Eighth Army Environmental Program Manager. "The Spill Contingency Plan is a tool to help manage spill response efforts if and when spills occur."
Lopez went on to explain that with so many moving parts, it is likely that spills will occur during processes such as refueling the generators. Properly managing these spills is key to alleviating any serious pollution to the environment.
In addition to using SCPs, walk-through inspections were conducted on a periodic basis to ensure adequate readiness in case of spills.
Most spills are uneventful due to the small amounts of fuel that actually escape from properly managed equipment said Lopez. If liquids do escape, they are immediately stopped in secondary containment structures and cleaned up with specially designed absorbent materials. Once any liquids are soaked up, the absorbent materials are disposed at hazardous waste accumulation points, where they are stored according to regulation, until disposed of at certified hazardous waste disposal facilities.
"Unforeseen spills are always a concern," said Lopez, "but using good spill contingency planning, spill containment management, and ensuring soldiers know their roles and responsibilities during these events, is an effective way to minimize any pollution to the environment.