by Thea Skinner
21st Space WInh Public Affairs Staff Writer
An annual self-assessment of environmental practices occurred at Peterson June 22-26. The Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and Management Program, known as ESOHCAMP, checks unit compliance of Air Force, state and federal regulations.
The internal June ESOHCAMP aims to address environmental areas in preparation for the external assessment in February 2010, which is completed every third year by Air Force Space Command.
Approximately 40 personnel participated in the week-long assessment that required personnel volunteers to inspect about 16 environmental areas such as natural resources, air emissions, and solid waste. ESOHCAMP is a part of the Environmental Management Systems, and 21st Space Wing geographically separated units also conducted assessments in June.
Personnel report their findings, management practices, and positive observations including areas where the installation has excelled. The fact finding mission involves conducting interviews and documenting issues with write-ups, photographs and videos.
“The whole idea is to have a different set of eyes looking at this,” said Lori Baker, Global Civil Market Environmental Team associate with Boos Allen Hamilton. “You find errors the experts do not find. The write-ups address the root cause.”
Since 1998 the company has provided environmental support services to Peterson, headquarters AF Space Command at Peterson, and GSU sites.
Findings get compliance up to par
Natural resources assessors reported mostly positive findings after interviewing with the Bird and Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard program, known as BASH, personnel and addressing the Natural Resource Management Plan. Hazardous material assessors also noted that laundry detergent containers require labels, to not mistake the containers.
Solid waste assessors found that recyclable containers such as plastic and aluminum are not placed in proper recycle bins.
“The individual is not held accountable, but the Air Force is,” said Jerry Lowder, solid waste assessor and 21st Space Wing Civil Engineering Squadron Natural Assets Flight, Environmental Program manager.
Assessors answer regulatory questions to conduct the assessment. in which Mr. Lowder answered about seven.
SO 25.3.US states, “Facilities at which no more than 500 families reside are required to recycle newspapers.” Likewise, SO25.4.US states,” If faculty generates 10 tones or more of waste corrugated containers per month, verify waste containers are collected separately.”
“You have to remind people every day to recycle. It is like drinking water — everyone has to be conscious of it,” said Phil Chase, 21st SW CES, Asset Management Flight, solid waste program manager. “The infrastructure is on base, but the education aspect lacks — the whole program needs to be elevated.”
In prior years a recycling emphasis was included in the education of the Right Start program that newly arrived Airmen attend to provide education on Base services and operations.
New regulations drive change
“Results for past several years have been in-line with Air Force regulations, so a new AFI (Air Force Instruction) will result next year that may validate less money spent on processes,” said David Banner, ESOHCAMP team leader and 21st CES Natural Cultural Resource Program Manager.
The new environmental management system will involve three tiers: an office level self inspection with monthly check lists, an annual internal audit and flight change, and an external audit with the possibility of a new Air Force Instruction. With the new system, the audits are handled by the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, instead of Major Command.
The new system and anticipated AFI occurs around fiscal year 2011.