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Oil/Water Separator (OWS) Management Program

Oil / Water Separator (OWS)
Management program Program

Program Manager Contact Information:
Oil/Water Separator Management
Program Manager  |  252-466-3631

Oil/Water Separator Management Program
Program Overview        

The intent of the Oil/Water Separator (OWS) Management Program is to ensure that each separator is properly designed, installed, and operated to handle oily wastewater. Furthermore, the program ensures that unacceptable levels of contamination do not enter the storm drainage, sanitary sewer systems or industrial wastewater system. The OWS Management Program is implemented in close association with other programs tasked with the prevention of water pollution and maintenance of the Air Station’s water resources. These programs include Stormwater Management and Wastewater Management.

Environmental Requirements        

Marine Corps policy requires that all Marine Corps installations and activities comply with all applicable environmental requirements, which may include Federal, state, local, Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy (DON), Marine Corps, and MCAS Cherry Point rules, regulations, and requirements. Legal and other environmental requirements related to the OWS Management Program are maintained on the EM Portal.

Programs, Plans, Resources and Responsibilities        

A complete description of the responsibilities of the OWS Management Program is available on the EM Portal. Major components of the OWS Management Program include:

  • OWS compliance

  • Remediation of OWS releases and OWS removal

  • OWS operation and maintenance

Oil/Water Separator Compliance

The installation stormwater permit requires that all oil/water separators that discharge to either the stormwater system, directly into waters of the state, or have engineered diversionary catchment basins must be fully described in the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The Air Station has a variety of diversionary catch basins, wash racks, OWSs, and discharge configurations. It is the responsibility of the OWS Management Program Manager to ensure that oily wastewater is not discharged from OWSs to the stormwater drainage system. Such discharges are prohibited by North Carolina General Statutes and may result in Notices of Violation from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources.

Remediation of Oil/Water Separator Releases and Oil/Water Separator Removal

Since OWSs are typically located below ground, there is potential for OWS units to leak hazardous substances into the subsurface. Such leaks can result in the unit being designated as a Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU); thus, subjecting the incident to corrective actions under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Upon identification of a leaking OWS, the Public Works Department must notify the OWS Management Program Manager so that he/she can coordinate with the SWMU Program Manager. The SWMU Program Manager is then required to make notification of the release to the proper regulatory authority. Following notification, the SWMU Program Manager must coordinate soil and groundwater cleanup as required under RCRA.

Oil/Water Separator Operation and Maintenance

OWSs require frequent operator attention and maintenance to function properly. These units are often located below ground; therefore, it is easy to forget about them and assume that they are working properly. If the units are not given sufficient attention, serious environmental problems may result. It is the responsibility of the OWS Management Program Manager to work with the Comprehensive Environmental Training and Education Program (CETEP) Manager and units to ensure that shop-level operation procedures are implemented. The performance of OWSs depends heavily on maintenance activities. Properly maintained OWSs help to ensure proper performance and compliance with requirements. It is the responsibility of the OWS Management Program Manager to ensure the continued performance and attainment of discharge limits, if applicable.

Training and Communication        

It is essential that the OWS Management Program Manager work with the CETEP Manager to ensure that civilian and military personnel are aware of the proper wastes that can be disposed of through OWSs. Furthermore, the OWS Management Program Manager must provide and update standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the proper operation of wash racks which discharge to OWSs. Also, the OWS Management Program Manager works with the CETEP Manager to ensure that the units are trained in proper wash rack and OWS operation and maintenance (O&M).

Practice-Aspect-Impact Risk        

The risk of negative environmental impacts from MCAS Cherry Point operations may be assessed by analyzing the practices that occur at the facility. Aspects are the characteristics of these practices that can cause an impact to the environment or other resource. It is Marine Corps policy that all Marine Corps installations identify and assess the environmental risk of the practices and aspects associated with each environmental program. Significant practices and/or aspects associated with this program include:

  • There are no significant practices and/or aspects associated with this program.

Objectives, Targets and Actions to Improve Performance        

When necessary, objectives and targets (O&T) are developed in order to minimize environmental risks posed by the facility’s practices and to track progress towards achieving environmental goals. Any O&Ts related to the OWS Management Program and their associated actions to improve performance are maintained on the EM Portal. Currently, there are no O&Ts associated with this program.

Audit and Evaluation of Compliance        

Regular inspection activities are outlined on the EM Portal.


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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point