DECEMBER 2, 2014, BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – LOGCAP contractor reclaims fuel for use in solid waste incinerators at Bagram Air Field and realizes more than $6.6 million in cost savings/avoidance since 2010 while keeping potential pollutants out of the waste stream.
It’s no surprise that the thousands of people who call Bagram Air Field home create a lot of refuse, some of which is classified as hazardous material. What may be surprising is that more than would be expected can be recycled or reused in a number of ways. One way is a fuel reclamation process managed by Logistics Civil Augmentation Program contractor Fluor that has realized a cost savings/avoidance of $6.69 million since 2010 while keeping potential pollutants out of the waste stream.
The industrial nature of Army Field Support Battalion-Bagram operations naturally result in a certain amount of hazardous materials as waste. These materials are collected at the various job sites and twice each day by Anwar Hussain, an AC 1st safety coordinator, who makes the rounds to pick up hazardous materials including medical waste and used petroleum. The medical waste is taken directly to an incinerator specifically designated for medical waste disposal. Petroleum, oil and lubricants are taken to the Fluor hazardous materials yard. Fluor operates the facility as one of the services LOGCAP provides on Bagram. LOGCAP falls under the 401st Army Field Support Brigade and Fluor is the contractor in the northern, eastern and capital regions of Afghanistan.
Each day the Fluor HAZMAT shop accepts oil, petroleum and other hazardous materials from contractors, units and maintenance facilities. The aggregated material is segregated into holding areas for usable and non-usable refuse. Usable fuel – JP8, diesel and motor oil – begins a new life and ultimately results in a cost avoidance of approximately $9 per gallon to bring new fuel into the theater as well as avoiding the disposal cost of approximately $400 per drum of fuel sent to Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services. Non-usable materials such as batteries, gasoline and contaminated fuels are transferred to another contractor who will reclaim usable materials through their processes and sell or properly dispose of the remaining material.
“LOGCAP is always striving to identify opportunities to reduce our energy, water and waste consumption in our operations,” said Matthew L. Sannito, LOGCAP deputy executive director.
All fuel taken to the HAZMAT shop is tested and that found useable is transferred to holding drums. About every four days 36 drums are moved to the filtering area where it is filtered and transferred to a large holding container. It will then be transferred to 50 gallon drums that are taken to the solid waste incinerator for use in burning Bagram’s refuse. While the fuel reclamation program at Bagram is Fluor’s largest, it’s not the only one.
“We started [fuel reclamation] at Fenty,” said Christopher Waechter, Fluor country environmental manager. “We had fuel recovery operations at 11 HAZMAT yards, but as FOBs closed or transitioned, we now have fuel recovery operations at Bagram, Fenty, Marmal and small operation at Dahlke.”
“This effort initiated by our LOGCAP contractor partners is a superb example of how we as a nation value the environment,” said Col. Matthew Ferguson, 401st AFSB commander. “The message is visible to our Soldiers, our coalition partners and most importantly the Afghan people”
Waechter said Fluor assumed the hazardous waste disposal mission in Jalalabad/Fenty in 2010 and at Bagram in 2011. He said it was easy to begin at Fenty because the incinerator was across the street from the HAZMAT yard. He said once the program was up and running there, it only made sense to expand it. He went on to say that the company’s priorities are to take care of the customer and how to save money. He describes Fluor as “custodians” and that cost avoidance or savings accrue to the government.
“Not only is this a good news story for the taxpayer, it’s a great news story environmentally,” said Patrick LeBlanc, AFSBn-Bagram contracting officer’s representative for safety and environmental. “Finding a way to safely reuse a hazardous waste in a non-polluting manner is a win for everyone, both in the U.S. and in Afghanistan.”
Waechter said Fluor sought approval from U.S. Forces Afghanistan for several alternative disposal methods to include fuel and oil recycling, product re-use and on-site incineration.
“The actions simply made sense,” he added.
Waechter said he foresees this initiative continuing as long as usable fuel is turned in to the HAZMAT yard and there is a need for it elsewhere.
“These efforts will help ensure the Army maintains its operating flexibility,” Sannito added.