As one might suspect, Navy personnel produce much of the same types of trash as anyone else -- as well as materials classified as hazardous such as batteries, paint supplies, metals, and cleaning chemicals. The difference is, Sailors cannot take the trash out to the curb once a week to be picked up by the local refuse company, nor do they just ‘chuck’ it over the side of the ship.
Often, it may be months until a port call occurs to offload waste. That’s why every Sailor is charged with being a responsible environmental steward taking care of precious environmental resources. But, even though programs to reduce, reuse and recycle are widely used, inevitably, there will be waste that must be disposed of properly, all of which requires special handling based on Navy guidelines. Not following those instructions can lead to loss of property, money and -- in extreme cases -- the loss of life.
Recently, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS), Transportation and Distribution, helped prevent potential loss of use of a certain operations on Wake Island due to waste removal contract issues related to COVID19. NAVSUP WSS Transportation and Distribution provides transportation and related financial management for the efficient, safe and most cost effective movement of passengers, mail and cargo, while maintaining expertise regarding transportation and distribution analysis, forward positioning recommendations and strategic mobility support.
Upon receiving the call, Ms. Kacey Lorson, Deputy Director, Transportation and Distribution, turned to her Fleet Movement Team to provide subject matter expertise in Special Assignment Airlift Mission planning guidance and assistance to INDOPACOM/Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Hawaii.
“When the flare went up, my team reprioritized workloads to immediately assist, train and validate the SAAM requests,” said Lorson.
Stephen Brown, Spencer Vermillion and Carolyn Thompson located in Norfolk, Va., worked the problem from the beginning. After a litany of phone conversations, the team finally had all the information it needed to assist. The team collaborated with the Navy Environmental Service at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to determine the best course of action for the removal of all hazardous material building up on Wake Island
“Once we determined the scope of the problem, our team arranged for, and oversaw the airlift of 159 containers of expired HAZWASTE from Wake Island to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for proper disposal,” said Brown.
“Nobody wants to find themselves in this situation and 99-percent of the time, HAZWASTE removal is planned and occurs without a hitch. But, regardless of how well you plan, there’s Murphy’s Law or ripple effects of COVID19 … either way, we specialize in solving the toughest problems.”
NAVSUP WSS is one of 11 commands under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter. Learn more at www.navsup.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/navsupwss and https://twitter.com/navsupsyscom.
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