MCAS Cherry Point News


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Recycling bins sit at the Cherry Point recycling center April 22.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Glen E. Santy

Environmental Affairs wins SECNAV awards

25 Apr 2013 | Lance Cpl. Glen E. Santy

Cherry Point’s Environmental Affairs Department dominated the Secretary of the Navy environmental awards winning both the 2012 Environmental Quality and Environmental Restoration awards April 10.

The Environmental Affairs Department was recognized for projects organized and followed through in both 2011 and 2012. Due to budget cuts, no official presentation ceremony was held.

In the environmental restoration category, Environmental Affairs was primarily recognized for its pilot study and implementation of the “In-situ groundwater remediation.” In-situ is a groundwater treating system that includes a permeable reactive barrier using Zero Valent iron, or ZVI, which dissolves a wide range of chlorinated solvents in groundwater without generating toxic daughter products.

“For our restoration award we’ve done some unique installation cleanup methodologies,” said George Radford, the environmental affairs director. “The iron filings, installed by the Mocking Bird Hill area down where we handle our trash pickup, create a barrier that keeps contamination on our installation and from entering Slocum creek which is public water.”

The department used more than 700 tons of reactive medium ZVI to construct a 600-foot long, 35-foot deep permeable barrier and achieved a 90-percent reduction of trichloroethene and 75-percent overall reduction in chlorinated solvents.

“The process costs a lot to install, but once it is, you just sit back and let the water flow through it,” said Jeffery Christopher, supervisory environmental engineer, restoration and recycling division, with Environmental Affairs.

The restoration team with Naval Facilities Engineering Command also progressed over the past two years with their oil waste and recycling project. The project uses a blending procedure, mixing used petroleum and jet fuel, burning the waste and recycling the heat to cut the air station’s heating bill by more than $305,000 and avoiding $92,000 in petroleum disposal costs.

The environmental quality team has spent the past two years dedicated to building rapport with units aboard Cherry Point using the environmental compliance evaluation program. 

The team follows Air Station Orders P5090.2a through 5090.7 to perform audits and create a compliance checklist for each unit. The department conducts audits once a year required by Headquarters Marine Corps.

“The audits have been great for the air station by promoting awareness and making the units responsible for their actions and how they affect the environment,” said Jonah Emary, the environmental management systems program manager. “We really want to get the responsibility down to the individual Marine so everyone takes action to improve the environment and are informed on the commanding officer’s policy.”

Emary said the audits have improved each year and have put Cherry Point Environmental Affairs Department ahead of the game. Lately, he said, units have been calling back with enthusiasm saying “We’ve done what you’ve asked of us; what else can we do?”

“Since we educated the Marines on recycling and the yellow sticker hazardous waste program, they’ve been very positive and very proactive,” said Kelsi Holsey, environmental engineer the in charge of pollution prevention program. “There are also a lot of Marines here at Cherry Point who have made our jobs easy and are willing to learn, help and do what’s right.”

She added the department spends a lot of their time “out in the field,” interacting with and educating units aboard Cherry Point to help guide them.   

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point