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News | April 15, 2016

Agency employees help sailors ship out their hazardous wastes

By Tim Hoyle DLA Disposition Services

Anyone who has ever done an oil change or other automobile tune-up work knows it is no fun getting rid of used oils or fluids. Imagine dealing with thousands of pounds of such hazardous wastes from Navy ships.

Sailors at Navy Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, Japan, watched recently as DLA Disposition Services personnel provided hazardous-waste disposal and tank cleaning for 19,000 pounds of materials from U.S. 7th Fleet ships. According to Norma Quitugua with DLA Disposition Services' Environmental Branch at Sagami, Japan, the Ship Repair Facility maintains vessels berthed at Yokuska and pumps their used oils, sludge, diesel fuel and antifreeze into above-ground tanks ashore. Quitugua said the holding tanks range from 1,000 to 100,000 gallons.

“Once the tank capacity is full, we come in with our HW contractors, ready to perform services,” Quitugua said.

For all the hazardous and regulated non-hazardous wastes destined for ultimate disposal in mainland Japan, Quitugua said service is provided by Japan Iron Engineering, or JFE. Special services for the cleaning and purging of all tank requirements is subcontracted to the Asada group, which cleans out the tanks with approved methods such as detergent cleaners and power washing.

Sagami receives requests for this type of support once or twice a month. The wastes that are pumped and cleaned out are then transported to a final disposal treatment storage facility in Japan. Navy figures show that, on average, DLA Disposition Services annually processes 642,300 pounds from pump out operations and 73,800 pounds for tank cleaning.

Fleet Activities personnel said that DLA Disposition Services, through contracted services, provides pre-inspections of required turn-in documentation, site visits to validate quantity and coordination with customer and contractor for pick-up schedule. Their feedback noted that “services were prompt and if any issues arise, employees conduct the research or raise it up to their chain until a resolution is provided.” 

For the Sagami personnel, Quitugua said the work is very gratifying.

“Every time we depart the job site, there is the great sense of pride and satisfaction and to see the environmental mission through, so that we have successfully met, if not exceeded, our customers' needs,” Quitugua said.