HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Col. Houston Cantwell, the 49th Wing commander, recently released an updated version of the Holloman Air Force Base Environmental Scope and Commitment Statement.
“The environmental commitment statement is an organizational set of principles that outline how we plan to manage the environmental impact of operations conducted on Holloman AFB,” said Scott Dorton, the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Management System program manager. “It outlines the specific commitments Holloman AFB will make to reduce, prevent or eliminate the environmental hazards.”
Base personnel, with the expert guidance of the Environmental Cross-Functional Team and environmental program managers, will pinpoint environmental facets of Holloman’s mission and construct economically feasible and environmentally-sound objectives and targets, which will act in accordance with all environmental laws and regional requirements relevant to Holloman’s mission.
This statement affects all base personnel, to include all Air Force organizations and facilities within its boundaries, mission partner organizations, tenant units, and contractors and vendors who provide products and perform services on the installation.
As a result, all base members are expected to adhere to the established commitments.
“These commitments are the foundation of an effective environmental management program that is focused on efficiency, waste reduction and reducing overall environmental impact which can result in the added benefit of reducing operating costs,” Dorton said. “Protecting the environment and our natural resources is a basic responsibility and is in everyone's best interest. The Air Force has long held an image for being good environmental stewards and adhering to the outlined commitments will continue this vector.”
To better protect human health, natural resources and the environment, Holloman has substituted hazardous materials for environmentally-preferable alternatives.
“Holloman has adopted management practices that restrict the use of hazardous materials and encouraged the use of non or less hazardous materials to accomplish the same goal,” said David Griffin, the 49th CES Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering environmental chief. “This means that the solvents, lubricants, chemicals, and paints used to maintain the aircraft and other equipment on base are now safer and better managed by the Hazmart shop on base.”
Holloman will also continue to seek opportunities for pollution prevention and waste reduction through recycling programs and better management of water resources.
“The base has an active recycling program covering waste paper/cardboard, scrap metals, including aluminum cans, batteries, and office supplies such as printer cartridges,” Griffin said. “Recycling recovers tons of materials that would otherwise end up in the county landfill. Water usage on base has been reduced for five consecutive years to the lowest in the history of the base. We now consume only 25 percent of the water once used on base due to xeriscaping, replacing aging pipelines, using treated wastewater to irrigate the golf course, an aggressive leak detection and repair program, and the installation of water conserving units like toilets and shower heads. The reduction in water usage has also reduced the volume of wastewater required to be treated at the base waste water treatment plant. Less volume passing through the plant means better treatment. Less treatment lessens chemical and energy usage, resulting in safe, high-quality effluent suitable for irrigating the golf course.”
Environmental stewardship is essential and should be practiced by all Air Force service members.
“Environmental stewardship at Holloman is critically important because this is where we work and live. If the base environment is mismanaged, we are the ones that are directly affected,” Griffin said. “In addition to the direct exposure of the people on base, environmental negligence costs the base and the Air force significant money. Money spent on remediating environmental problems is money not spent on the base missions. Past practices, many of them done prior to the knowledge of the effect on the environment, have resulted in necessary cleanups. These are known as restoration sites, and over the past 20 plus years, the base has spent over $100 million cleaning up these sites.”