USAG HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea—National Energy Awareness month, observed throughout the month of October, is embedded in the way the Far East District operates every day. They do this by regulating the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, agencies are making tremendous progress toward energy efficiency and renewable energy by implementing energy and water management projects throughout the federal government.
Dr. Chon Song U, an FED geologist, gives a detailed explanation on how the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act directs all U.S. Forces Korea installations.
“Stormwater runoff is water from rain or snowmelt that does not immediately infiltrate into the ground and flows over or through natural or man-made storage or conveyance systems,” said Chon.
Stormwater flowing through an industrial facility can pick up contaminants, discharging them directly or indirectly through storm sewer systems, into nearby waterbodies, leading to surface water pollution.
“There are several techniques that FED has applied to reduce and minimize pollutants reaching stormwater,” said Chon. “The most common pollutants on USFK installations are fuel-related chemicals such as fuel oil and engine oil. Those pollutants are mostly observed in car wash racks, parking lots, and vehicle maintenance facilities.”
To prevent pollutants from reaching surface water, facilities are equipped with oil-water separators that recover oil from water. FED designed and installed a recycling water system located at the Camp Carroll car wash, instead of discharging the wash water directly into the environment. Oil pickup is then coordinated though the garrison or base for disposal.
“Stormwater runoff through mismanaged industrial areas can contain toxic pollutants such as heavy metals and organic chemicals, or other pollutants such as trash, debris, and oil,” said Chon. “The grease, eventually impacting waterbodies, degrade habitats, pollute drinking water resource, and can even cause hydrologic changes to receiving waters, due to sediments and other debris.”
The Clean Water Act, governed by the Environmental Protection Agency, establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the water and regulating quality standards for surface waters. FED also regulates the SWPPP in accordance with the Korean Environmental Governing Standards, which states that USFK installations should keep quality discharge stormwater.
Regular monitoring through laboratory analysis and continuous visual inspections of each site, help keep surface water clean.
“The Clean Water Act directs to remove untreated wastewater from cities and industries, and thus makes waterways of the local community and installations safe for human beings as well as ecologic habitats,” said Chon.
To assure USFK presence is in alignment with the Clean Water Act and Korean Environmental Governing Standards, FED acts as a steward of the environment. The SWPPP is the first step toward keeping our waterways clean. Ultimately, upholding stormwater pollution prevention measures returns us to an environmentally sound and sustainable world.