A management tool implemented by Fort Stewart’s Directorate of Public Works probably contributed to the installation winning a number of awards during the last decade.
They include Army Community of Excellence in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012, as well as the “GreenGov” Award, the Secretary of the Army Environmental Quality Award and Environmental Restoration Installation Award.
According to Tressa Rutland, chief of DPW’s Prevention and Compliance Branch, the post’s sustainability management system stems from the directorate’s International Organization for Standarization 14001 registration. ISO 14001 sets standards for organizations designed to reduce harmful effects on the environment while providing a measurement to see if there is improvement.
Rutland said the goal is to ensure that present and future generations of soldiers on Fort Stewart will have training areas, ranges, water and other resources available to train, work and live. This is done through everyone recycling at work and at home, conserving water, protecting endangered wildlife, following procedures for handling hazardous waste and being aware of his or her personal impact on the environment.
“SMS is not just about the environmental division,” Rutland said. “We have members on our teams from every directorate. SMS focuses on land and water use while emphasizing threatened and endangered species management, solid-waste reduction and water conservation.”
She said an acronym used to teach SMS fits with the 3rd Infantry Division’s motto: Rock of the Marne. ROCK reminds everyone to conserve natural Resources; Optimize the mission, well-being and environment; Comply with federal, state and local laws and regulations; and Keep improving their environmental stewardship.
Rutland said she works with the environment division’s Fish and Wildlife and Forestry branches. Environmental protection specialists Veronica Frazier and Alana Olson work with the U.S. Army Garrison for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield and all directorates.
“I’m the point of contact for the SMS team members,” Frazier said. “If team members have concerns or questions, they bring them to our meetings. We have four process action teams, (including) an information and environmental team that focuses on energy and water conservation, a procurement material resources team that focuses on reducing hazardous waste, a training land team that focuses on training areas and a forest process development team that focuses on Army compatible use buffers.”
Olson said she assists Frazier and performs many of the administrative aspects required by SMS, including adherence to ISO 14001. She conducts annual SMS classes to ensure everyone is aware of protecting the environment. She also conducts annual audits to ensure SMS compliance.
“When we go around to do audits and our annual management review, we talk to department heads,” she said, explaining their one-on-one contract with individuals helps spread techniques and technology. “Sometimes they show us new environmentally friendly procedures or products that can reduce the need for some personal protective equipment.”
Referring to the ISO model of “plan, do and check,” Rutland said SMS sets objectives and targets that enable the installation to prepare to respond to environmental emergencies. She said SMS also gives installation leaders the means to implement corrective and preventive actions while maintaining records.
According to Fort Stewart’s website, DPW is responsible for ensuring the stability of the installation infrastructure and environmental practices.