Joint Base Andrews


Environmental unit helps maintain natural resources at Andrews

By Margo Turner | Capital Flyer staff writer | November 03, 2006

ANDREWS AFB, Md. -- Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors assigned to the 316th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight work behind the scenes to maintain the natural resource infrastructure at Andrews. 

The natural resource infrastructure consists of the air, water and land, said John A. Franz, 316 CES Environmental Flight chief. 

"The flight provides environmental leadership and guidance across the installation to allow Team Andrews to accomplish its job in a manner which reduces risks to human health and risks to the environment," said Mr. Franz. "We're working hard to sustain, restore and modernize our natural resource infrastructure for direct mission support,"
Mr. Franz said compliance with federal and state environmental regulations is one of the flight's key concerns. Each year, the flight conducts a weeklong assessment of the many operations on base under the Environment Compliance Assessment Management Program. Base members receive suggestions about what they can do better from an environmental standpoint. During ECAMP two weeks ago, 150 findings were identified. 

Another of the flight's area of expertise is pollution prevention, said Mr. Franz. Pollution prevention deals with recycling, hazardous material management and the purchase of recycle-content products. 

Conservation and environmental restoration are also concerns of the 316 CES Environmental Flight, said Mr. Franz. 

Conservation deals with trees, rivers, streams, endangered animals and plants here, he said. There are also cultural resources, which involve the protection of historical properties, such as the former base commander's residence, known as Belle Chance, and Chapel 2 on the east side. 

Archaeological sites also fall under conservation, said the flight chief. 

"We don't have a lot of archaeological sites on Andrews because most of the ground has been heavily disturbed," he said. "But there's some over by Belle Chance. We also have some archaeological sites at our geographically separate units at Brandywine and Davidsonville, Md." 

Mr. Franz said environmental restoration focuses on underground contamination from hazardous waste and spills more than half a century ago. Of the 33 locations identified for environmental restoration across the base, about a dozen are left to be cleaned up; such as old landfills, old spill sites and old tanks with hazardous material. 

The flight keeps track of what's happening close to the base, such as the construction of new homes in local residential communities, to ensure the mission continues, said Mr. Franz. 

Flight personnel are also involved in off-base activities, such as visiting local schools to talk with students about pollution prevention and giving presentations at local garden clubs. Additionally, they hold an Earth Day program every April, which many students in the local area attend.