KSLA Salutes: BAFB working to keep the bayou state beautiful
BAFB, La. (KSLA) - The 2CE Environmental Office on Barksdale works to educate airmen and shops on base on the proper handling of materials, and how to stay in compliance with environmental permits, while also reducing the base’s impact on the environment.
“In a nutshell, our office is responsible for making sure Barksdale stays in compliance with all environmental federal, state, and local regulatory requirements,” said Kate Hasapes, Barksdale’s Environmental Program manager. “We also like to make sure that the local community and local environment are safe from our activities and remain a good example of environmental stewardship for the community.”
The 2CE Environmental Office covers all environmental permits and aspects of the base like drinking water, sanitary and sewer water, storm water, air permits, recycling and all the base’s industrial processes.
“So each job with the potential to pollute on base is equipped with the knowledge and equipment they need to make sure that they are prepared for any sort of environmental situations, like a spill kit on site” Hasapes said. “We do regular shop inspections. So far in 2021 we have done over 600 inspections across some of our different shops on base. We are very into recycling and reusing our products on base to minimize the waste we generate. We also like to buy green products and substitutes for regular products.”
Back in 2016, the 2CE Environmental Office worked with the Department of Environmental Quality on a project to put emblems on the base’s storm drains in the housing area reading ‘No dumping, drains to bayou” as a reminder to those living on base that only rain water is supposed to go into the drains.
What goes into the storm drains on base goes into the bayous and rivers untreated. Hasapes says that means anything that goes into the storm drains can potentially pollute the water we swim in, the fish and wildlife, and some areas where we get our drinking water. She says her office wants to ensure the water is as clean as possible.
The next phase of the drain marking project will put emblems near the industrial shops. Hasapes says while the base doesn’t have a dumping problem, the 2CE Environmental Office likes to be proactive.
Earlier this year, airmen volunteered their time to clean up in and around Cooper’s Bayou on the north end of the flight line. On Sept. 2, Staff Sergeant David Frey, with the 2d Logistics Readiness Squadron, led a group of volunteers in the cleanup effort. Barksdale stated a large amount of trash and debris in the bayou mainly comes from residential and industrial areas of Bossier City north of the base.
35 volunteers along with the 2CE Environmental Office filled 36 bags of trash from the Industrial Gate to the Security Forces building cleaning up around 280 pound of garbage.
“We really only have one planet to call home and regardless of your background or where you come from everyone wants clean water, air and land,” Hasapes said. “There are only so many holes we can dig up for trash. The people that work in the environmental office also live here and raise our families in this community, which makes it extra important for us to make sure we are doing a good job of keeping everyone in the community safe , keeping the base in their regulatory requirements, and making sure our environment is happy and healthy.”
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