Wright-Patt’s Environmental Office works to keep drinking water safe

The 88th Civil Engineering Group Environmental Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is a leader in environmental stewardship, ensuring tenants, contractors and all base personnel have appropriate training needed to follow environmental regulations.

Environmental regulations encompass management of hazardous materials and waste, storm water and construction permits, maintaining and reporting accurate inventories of all air pollution sources, and ensuring the 79 underground storage tanks across the installation are tested and inspected on time and with no deficiencies.

Each environmental program has one or more unique management plans that detail the specific legal requirements of the program and how the requirements will be satisfied and managed over the long term. For instance, the Water Quality Program has a source water protection plan, storm water pollution prevention plan and a storm water management plan.

The SWPP is currently being updated for 2020. The first phase in developing or updating a SWPP is delineating the area to be protected. The protection area is the area around a public water supply well or well field that contributes water to the well or well field, and it will be the focus of ground water protection efforts.

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Wright-Patterson is currently contracting the U.S. Geologic Survey Agency to update the 2007 ground-water flow model to delineate protection areas using recent groundwater pumping records and hydrologic measurements. Because pumping rates and/or pumping locations have changed since the model was last calibrated in 2007, current data is required to accurately show the change in groundwater-flow patterns and accurately plot contributing areas.

The second phase in developing or updating a SWPP is to include a potential contaminant source inventory. The PCSI will focus on areas or facilities that are located within the protection areas of Wright-Patt AFB’s drinking water wells. Potential sources of contaminants are research and development facilities, petroleum storage tanks, and facilities that contain chemicals for the use of cleaning and grounds up-keep.

Once the SWPP is updated, it will be a more useful tool for preventing, detecting, and responding to ground water contamination within a protection area. The plan will also identify further recommendations to address potential contaminant sources identified in the PCSI. The plan focuses on prevention efforts – it is easier to prevent contamination than clean up contamination.

For additional information on the Source Water Protection Plan update, contact 88 CEG Environmental Water Quality Program Support Catherine Bartell at 937-257-3176 or at Catherine.bartell@us.af.mil.

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