The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville is managing the $21.5 million contract for the environmental footprint reduction at more than 60 U.S. military camps and bases being closed throughout Afghanistan as a result of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
Huntsville Center’s International Operations Division Environmental Footprint Reduction (EFR), Afghanistan project supports the mission to remediate forward operating bases and combat outposts as units draw down. All former U.S. military sites not being turned over to the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan must be restored to the environmental condition that existed prior to U.S. occupation, according to Huntsville Center’s EFR Project Manager Karen R. Moore.
Environmental footprint reduction efforts aim to reduce the effect military activities have had on the environment – troops, vehicles. One initiative in the project – sorting waste in a 186-acre field and crushing concrete to create repurposed aggregate for Bagram - is estimated to save the garrison $4.5 million annually, Moore said. Additional tasks include the demilitarization of relocatable buildings, defensive barriers, miscellaneous concrete and/or steel structures, and other regulated materials, which could consist of black-water lagoons, petroleum products, petroleum tanks and tank farms, paints and burn pits.
As of the end of October, the seven teams of more than 300 contracted employees and local Afghanistan labor had removed more than 850 structures; more than 6,000 defensive barriers; 3,306,114 pounds of demolition and miscellaneous debris; 4,357,112 pounds of scrap metal; 7,302,698 pounds of scrap wood; and 207,956 pounds of wire and cable, as well as 11,849 pounds of florescent lights for hazardous material disposal.
“I am very impressed with the work being done helping to accelerate the retrograde of U.S. forces – it’s making a positive impact in Afghanistan, as well as being economical for the Army,” said Huntsville Center Commander Col. Robert Ruch, who visited Center employees and projects in Afghanistan in October.
He added that Bagram Support Group (BASG) Afghanistan Commander Col. John D. Lawrence could not say enough good things about the program and has plenty of work on Bagram Airfield (BAF) to keep the Huntsville Center team busy.
"Sustainability is a word that's used often," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Nall, BSG Command Sergeant Major. "The partnership with EFR to transfer environmentally friendly technologies to an economically disadvantage nation supports not only the Army sustainability goals, but also makes a good business decision for the BSG and benefits everyone."
Huntsville Center maintains a forward office at BAF to oversee several projects, including range clearance activities and the EFR Program. Sterling Global Operations was awarded the EFR task order under the Worldwide Environmental Remediation Services Multiple Award Task Order Contract in December 2014. The work is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
The U.S. Army Reserve’s 310th Engineer Detachment, Construction Management Team at BAF is executing the site remediation and footprint reduction mission, as prioritized by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, 4th Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, NATO, Army Garrison Directorate of Public Works and the Base Operating Support Integrator.