CES showcases environmental friendly programs

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell
  • Altus Air Force Base Public Affairs

The 97th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental office showcased their projects to the 97th Air Mobility Wing Vice Commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Pavelschak and the 97th Mission Support Group Commander, Col. David Vanderburg on Sept. 21, 2020.

The group toured the base’s hazardous waste disposal site, recycling center, and a recently implemented fishing pond. This allowed base leadership to view firsthand the environmental office’s projects underway, as well as future projects in the works.

“The vice wing and MSG commander wanted to meet all of the environmental staff and see how we operate here at Altus,” said Trisha Fleishman, the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental office manager’s assistant. “This immersion was unique because it gave them an up-close and personal look at how the environmental element services the installation.”

The environmental team’s mission is to prevent and remediate pollution, reduce waste, ensure regulatory environmental compliance, and maintain the ecological integrity of their lands. Their goal is to reduce risks to human health, the environment, and ensure that the natural infrastructure can continue to support the 97 AMW training mission.

“Each of the facilities toured during the immersion has a specific purpose in achieving our mission,” said Fleishman.

The tour began at the installation’s Central Hazardous Waste Site where all hazardous waste is processed and sent off for treatment, storage or disposal. 

“There are different types of hazardous waste materials that are sent to the Hazardous Waste Accumulation Site,” said Fleishman. “Some examples include antifreeze, paint booth filters, and aerosols. All DoD installations must follow all federal and state guidelines which include disposing of hazardous waste responsibly.”
Next, they toured the Recycling Center where several types of commodities are collected, processed, and shipped out to recycling companies in order to divert these products from entering the landfill.

“The Recycle Center on base takes different metals, plastics, aluminum, cardboard, several types of paper and ships them to various companies for them to be properly recycled,” said Fleishman. “All applicable DoD installations are required to at a minimum recycle corrugated cardboard and paper however, our qualified recycling program allows us to take the other items listed and return all revenue generated back to the base operating funds. This also provides the intrinsic value that “it feels good to do good” and that is immeasurable.”

Finally, the group toured the newly stocked fishing pond. According to Fleishman, it is a 1.88-acre pond that is geared at promoting the quality of life of Airmen and their families as they enjoy the local natural resources.

“The pond is currently stocked with Channel and Bullhead Catfish, Bluegill, Longear, and Hybrid Sunfish,” said Fleishman. “The Natural Resources Program will manage the habitat at the pond to maintain fish populations and as part of a larger conservation effort to enhance our freshwater ecosystems on base. Environmental staff will be conducting routine fish surveys and water quality sampling to monitor the pond’s sustainability.”

Fleishman added that the tour showed how they “provide the wing commander with a stellar Environmental Compliance Program.” After receiving the tour, the vice commander provided his own remarks about the environmental office’s quality.“Our environmental team has done a marvelous job ensuring we are compliant with federal and state regulations and making the installation an environmentally friendly place for our Airmen, civilians, and families to work, live, and play,” said Pavelschak.