Military and civilian leaders joined Col. Chad R. Foster, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hood, and Brian Dosa, director of public works, for an environmental quality control committee meeting March 31 at the Community Event Center.
“We’re trying to balance the realities of being an Army position that falls under the rules, laws and EPA requirements of the US government and the regulations and requirements of the state of Texas,” Dosa said. “We need to do these things so we can continue to exist as a post and stay good at compliance.”
The meeting guided military personnel and civilians through a range of topics and discussions that included the Environmental Performance Rating System, Stage One Drought Conditions, Environmental Compliance Assessments, and updating the recycling. DPW environmental staff highlighted feedback received from external and internal inspections on how military and civilian operations can be improved and areas for improvement.
Riki Young, Environmental Management Branch Chief, provided the status of the EPAS external audit conducted by the Army Environmental Command which provided a comprehensive review of compliance across the ‘facility. He explained that there were 34 Class I findings for violations of current regulations, 3 Class II findings related to violations of proposed future regulations, and 8 Class III findings for policy violations. Most of the findings related to hazardous waste, storage tanks, and petroleum, oil and lubricants.
“The whole point of having this curation is to help us learn so that we can practice and put things in place that we can do better,” Foster said. “Also, be more vigilant at the user level – the soldiers who are really doing this work – and make them aware of the impact they are having.”
Young continued the presentation by discussing water conservation and the Stage 1 status issued by the Brazos River Authority. He explained that Stage 1 measurements are normally from May to October, but this year, due to drought conditions, Fort Hood is starting a month earlier.
“As a result, we are implementing Stage 1 of our plan,” Young said. “The most important thing is not to water your gardens between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the day, especially during the summer.”
Dosa emphasized the severity of the drought and the importance of water conservation, since Fort Hood’s drinking water comes from Belton Lake.
“You want to go into the drought with your tanks full,” he said. “But our tanks are about three and a half feet lower. Please remind your units, teams and families that we all need to help conserve water. Don’t let the water run, don’t water your lawn in the middle of the day, and report leaks.
Dan Gomez, Environmental Compliance Assessor, discussed the facility’s overall compliance status, which is orange at 91%. This is a significant change from July 2021 when the status was green at 95%. Gomez explained that the biggest drop is on the military unit side, and most problems are easy fixes that can help boost scores. The challenges he noted were with the oil/water separators with sediment entering the OWS preventing it from working properly. This creates an illicit discharge and ends up in our drinking water at Belton Lake.
Gomez added that there are resources to help units make corrections and meet challenges.
“Call, text or email us and come and tell us if you can come by our fleet and do a courtesy environmental assessment,” he said. “This is a full review without us taking pictures or writing an article. We review and tell you where you are good, where you need improvement, and where you can strengthen your store.
The meeting ended with a discussion of the ongoing challenges related to contaminants such as syringes, needles, hazardous waste and animal carcasses found in recycling bins that cause health and safety concerns for members. of the recycling team. Foster explained that he was working with the Family Housing Resident Advisory Board on recycling solutions and asked units to do the same in their footprint.
“Single-stream recycling simplifies the process. You put all your acceptable recyclables in one place,” he said. “It helps people’s ability to recycle, but what we’ve seen so far is that there are still problems. We are trying to find where we can adjust our practices and do better.