NSASP establishes comprehensive environmental management plan
Our environment is all around us. It is the air we breathe and the water we drink. Any damage we cause to our environment can have serious consequences that last for generations. Air can become so contaminated that it is hard to breathe. The water can become so dirty it is undrinkable. Natural resources are being used so quickly that they may not be easily replaced.
We can change or affect the environment in many ways. For example, our cars release vehicle emissions from tail pipes. These vehicle emissions react with the air in the atmosphere to make air pollution or smog. This smog can reduce visibility and cause health problems such as asthma. Another example is the chemicals released from tanks that make their way through the soil and contaminate the drinking water supply.
Natural resources are being used faster than they can be replaced. Society has become dependent on individual transportation, and fuel consumption is high. How will our society function without fuel to power vehicles and electricity to heat homes? A controversy exists over whether we will drill for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Some people want to open the national park to drilling while others want to preserve the pristine environment.
In the end, a balance must be reached between preserving our environment and using natural resources for society. We all need to work together to preserve our environment for us, our children, and our grandchildren. If we don't, we will live in a world filled with polluted air, contaminated drinking water, and depleted natural resources.
It is important to reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible for the benefit of generations to come. With that goal in mind, Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP) is implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) as a method for identifying negative impacts on the environment from command operations, and maintaining processes to help reduce that impact. The bottom line: identify ways that NSASP can protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the resources we need.
NSASP has an established environmental policy that reflects the command's responsibility to efficiently deliver common operating support services to all supported commands located within the fence lines of Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren and NSF Indian Head, while balancing the missions of supported commands with sound, responsible environmental stewardship. To do this, NSASP is committed to taking its leadership role in promoting policy and procedures to carry out a successful Environmental Management System program for all installation personnel.
NSASP will adhere to Naval District Washington's environmental policy and will incorporate EMSs implemented by supported commands at NSF Dahlgren and NSF Indian Head within NSASP's overarching EMS. NSASP senior management will evaluate the EMS periodically to determine its effectiveness and to ensure established objectives and targets are met.
Personnel within NSASP, supported and supporting commands, whether military, civilian or contractor, regardless of rank or grade, are responsible for performing their duties in a manner that protects the environment, prevents pollution and conserves our natural and cultural resources. The command's environmental policy characterizes this personal responsibility in an acrostic for CARE:
Comply with Regulations
A process, not an event
EMS is a management approach intended to enhance compliance, prevent pollution, and continually improve. An EMS is designed to be proactive by identifying those actions that can harm the environment. Then, the EMS puts in place procedures and operational controls to minimize the negative environmental impact.
EMS is an organized approach to be used by NSASP to meet the command's environmental goals. EMS is more than compliance; it includes everyone and everything. It takes time to implement an EMS. It is a process, not an event. EMS needs to be incorporated into day-to-day tasks.
EMS is composed of five basic components: environmental policy, planning, implementation, checking and corrective action, and management review.
These components follow the Plan, Do, Check, and Act cycle, which is a continuous, circular process that begins with planning how to implement environmental policies. The next step is implementing those policies and then checking to see how the policies are working. Finally, the policies are modified to continually improve the EMS, and then the cycle starts over again. Continual improvement is at the center of the cycle.
The EMS identifies how a facility impacts the environment. Then, the EMS works to control and reduce the effect of negative environmental impacts while enhancing the positive impacts. One of the main goals of EMS is to improve environmental performance on a continuous basis.
There are many ways to implement EMS. One of the most widely recognized ways is to follow the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001. ISO 14001 identifies the necessary requirements to implement and maintain a fully functioning environmental management system. NSASP is implementing an EMS based on ISO 14001.
An effective EMS sets the overall environmental policy; establishes a process for environmental improvements; develops objectives and targets and operational controls to reduce negative impacts and encourage positive impacts to the environment; implements procedures and training to meet environmental goals; requires audits, inspections and a corrective action process to support continual improvement; and ensures a regular review of all environmental programs.
NSASP has established the NSASP EMS Team or NET to implement EMS. The team meets regularly to identify necessary actions to continually improve NSASP's Emergency Management System.
Finding solutions to minimize risks
The benefits of implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) and why they are important are many. To reduce operational impact, the Navy is committed to focusing not only on what activities happen at naval installations, but also why they happen. Over time, the identification and correction of deficiencies lead to better environmental and overall organizational performance and mission sustainability.
An EMS provides an opportunity to assess how Navy organizations manage environmental risks and to find better and more cost effective solutions to minimize these risks. The Navy's EMS program provides the following potential benefits to installations and commands:
- Improves environmental awareness, involvement, and competency across the organization
- Improves long-term mission sustainability
- Decreases environmental impact on the mission
- Reduces environmental impacts and prevent pollution
- Improves overall environmental performance and enhance compliance
- Increases efficiency of operations by reducing environmentally-related costs
- Uses materials and resources more effectively to fulfill the mission
- Avoids costs associated with clean ups, fines, and violations
- Increases compliance with Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management"
Environmental Aspects and Impacts
ISO14001 is one of the world recognized standards for an environmental management system. It requires an organization to determine its environmental aspects. An environmental aspect is identified as any element of the organization's activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment. An aspect can be thought of as the actual or potential cause of an environmental impact. Examples of environmental aspects (activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment) include waste generation, fuel handling, energy consumption, paper consumption, hazardous materials usage and storm water management.
Significant environmental aspects identified for NSF Dahlgren and NSF Indian Head are potential fuel spills and storm water discharges. Processes and procedures have been developed to reduce the potential for fuel spills and reduce impacts from storm water discharges. However, when handling fuels for example, employees need to know how to respond if a spill occurs and what measures can help prevent spills. Employees at Dahlgren or Indian Head working with materials that may come into contact with storm water need to know how to maintain their work area to prevent pollutants such as oil and grease, fertilizers or other materials from contaminating storm water.
Once an organization identifies its environmental aspects, it can then determine how it impacts the environment. An environmental impact is defined as any change to the environment, whether bad or good, resulting from the organization's mission or activities. Examples of environmental impacts (any change resulting from the organization's mission or activities) include soil contamination, water contamination, air pollution, health and safety exposure, use of landfill space, use of natural resources, generation of non-hazardous waste and hearing impairment.
EMS training available
A requirement of the EMS is to provide general awareness training to base personnel. The training module at http://navfac.ecatts.com is brief, but very informative and helpful. Base personnel are encouraged to take a few moments to review the module. Upon completion, save a copy of the certificate for yourself, print and give a copy to Dave Hoffman (301-744-1616) at NSF Indian Head or Glenn Faini (540-653-3360) at NSF Dahlgren in the Environmental Office. Training records are maintained by commands for verification during an audit of the organization's EMS program.
To create an account on ECATTS, perform the following steps:
1. Go to http://navfac.ecatts.com
2. Click Enter
3. In the NEW USER box on the right, enter "navfac" as the registration password
4. Click CREATE AN ACCOUNT
5. Complete the registration form
Some of the fields will only open after you have selected the appropriate field. Select "Military Base or Related Personnel-Environmental Training." Select "Environmental Management System: Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP).”