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The Facility Response Team sets up a boom to contain a simulated oil spill on Slocum Creek Aug. 14 as a part of annual training.

Photo by Pfc. Unique B. Roberts

Cherry Point response team evaluated on HAZMAT cleanup

22 Aug 2013 | Pfc Unique B. Roberts

Cherry Point’s Facility Response Team underwent annual training Aug. 12- 16 at Slocum Creek to assess its readiness to respond to hazardous materials spills.  

The FRT consists of members from the Environmental Affairs Department, Fire Department Station 2, Facilities Maintenance Department, the Navy boat docks, and Fleet Readiness Center East. 

The training included practicing communication, boat safety, and oil spill recovery and prevention. It ensures installation personnel are prepared to respond to spills and take immediate action to minimize effects on the environment.

“The purpose of this is to meet the requirements of the Marine Corps Order P5090.2a, the Clean Water Act, and spill prevention control and counter measures requirements,” said Timothy O. Lawrence, the spill and response program manager for Cherry Point.

During the training, the FRT identified spills, made appropriate notifications, ensured safety in affected areas, stopped the source of the spills and executed proper containment and recovery procedures.  

“We also are training to protect the environment from water-borne oil spills,” said Lawrence, who is also a professional environmental engineer with the  Environmental Affairs Department.  

After receiving notification of a spill, the FRT will determine its size and direction of flow to determine the assets required to address the problem.  Each variable helps experts determine the best way to respond, said Charles B. Wallace, fire captain of Fire Station 2 and on-scene commander.

During the exercise, the team uses a boom, a temporary floating barrier that can reach up to 2,700 feet to contain mock spills, then used the Kvichak Marine Rapid Response Skimmer to clean it up.

The Rapid Response skimmer is a boat that allows the Facility Response Team to filter oil and solid debris from the water, store it and transfer it for proper disposal. 

Since the last evaluation, the FRT has improved in every aspect and is working together better, which sets the conditions for efficient response, said Wallace.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point