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Preserving the environment:

By Lance Cpl. Josh Pettway | | December 11, 2009

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NREAO works to reduce, recycle Fightertown waste

Marine Corps Air Stat-ion Beaufort is called Fightertown for a reason, it is in fact a town with thousands of Marines collectively working 24 – hours – a day to accomplish their missions. Just like any town, materials are used, creating waste that must be managed properly. Though it is the responsibility of everyone to protect the environment, one organization is here to help.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Office aboard the Air Station ensures the protection and preservation of the environment while continuing the Air Station’s mission objectives.

“Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Office employees handle various aspects of environmental preservation from pollution prevention, managing resources and recycling,” said Ted Hallman, the Asbestos and lead based paint manager for NREAO.

Although every program has an important role, there are a few key practices that have proven beneficial to the environmental preservation aboard Fightertown.

One of NREAO’s key programs is the management of shelf life sensitive materials. Controlling the inventory of these materials prevents overstockings so fewer materials are wasted, according to Cpl. Dewey Parsons, a hazmat supply technician with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. These materials are stocked based off the frequency of use, ensuring materials, like paint used for the aircraft, do not sit in a warehouse collecting dust and eventually expiring.

“If we over – stock materials, money is wasted on everything that passes its expiration date,” Parsons said.
The recycling program aboard Fightertown handles many materials people cannot recycle themselves. This includes; florescent light bulbs which must have mercury removed from them, alkaline and lithium batteries, spent brass ammunition and various other articles.

 “If we didn’t have programs to help the environment all of the waste would just end up in a landfill polluting the earth,” said Ralph Dagin, the pollution prevention coordinator for the Air Station.

Focusing on expanding recycling efforts have greatly impacted the amount of waste being recycled here, according to Dagin. In 1990, a total of 2,000 pounds of universal waste was brought in to be recycled aboard the Air Station. Since then, the amount of universal waste has increased to a total of 2,496 pounds in 2008, showing an improvement in the amount of materials recycled.

Over the years, waste production has greatly decreased. In 2000 over 15,531 pounds of expired items were disposed of costing $28,318.44, but in 2008 only 2,507 pounds were disposed of costing only $4,622.29, according to Dagin.

In addition to waste management programs, NREAO’s game warden and wildlife personnel enforce hunting laws, report illegal dumping in wildlife areas and educate Fightertown patrons about local animals to ensure the Lowcountry wildlife is also taken care of. The program also works to manage the encroachment of wildlife on or near the flightline to minimize the risk of an animal strike with an aircraft.

“Some people have grown up in a large city and haven’t been so close to some of the animals this area has or been near wild animals at all,” explained Gary Herndon, the game warden for the Air Station. “I try to educate others to ensure they are more aware of the different animals of the area.”


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