AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar , April 2, 2019 —
The 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s environmental team know how to turn trash into treasure, leading the recycling, waste disposal, and hazardous material management effort at Al Udeid.
For the environmental team, storing, disposing of, and recycling items including fluorescent bulbs, fire extinguisher bottles, heavy metals, fuels, and oils at their Hazardous Waste Transit Area is all in a day’s work.
“Everyone has their waste they need to get rid of,” said Capt. Mario Perez, 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer installation management flight chief. “When it's gotten to a point where they need to dispose of that stuff, they bring it over to the yard so that it can be staged and prepared.”
According to Kraig Scott, 379th ECES hazardous materials operations manager, recyclable items such as glass and plastic bottles are placed in trash dumpsters on base, then sorted and recycled at locations off the installation. Other used assets such as batteries and bulbs can be collected and given to host-nation partners for recycling.
“When you throw recyclable entities in the trash here at Al Udeid, you're actually recycling,” he said.
The environmental team also specializes in hazardous waste storage and disposal. When waste is transported to the HWTA, the team makes sure the process is safe and efficient.
“We ensure drums are brought over safely and in a manageable setting so the drums aren't under filled or over filled,” said Scott. “Over filled may cause bulging and burst the drums because of the temperature … we don't want that to happen. Under filled and underutilized drums are not cost effective for the military, so we want to ensure we're spending our money wisely while keeping our troops safe.”
Scott said while the environmental section’s waste management mission can go unnoticed, he takes pride in ensuring the base and everyone on it can operate safely and efficiently.
“We need to be good stewards for the environment,” Scott added. “No matter where the environment is, you have to have an environmentally safe place to work. Without putting in regulations to ensure people are safe and having certain knowledge of what’s in the materials you’re using, you’re putting everyone at risk. We want to make sure everything is safe for everybody.”
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing website.