10/11/2013 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — The 97th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Office received the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Oklahoma Star Platinum Award Sept. 20, 2013, for protecting the environment.
The award is based on what the environmental office inspects and how often their inspections are completed on and off base.
“Once you win, it’s good for three years and then you have to qualify again,” said Michael Reyes, 97th environmental program manager. “We have won this award before at the platinum level; we were confident we would receive it at the same level because of everything we do.”
The ODEQ takes into consideration the number of people who live on base and what environmental implications are associated with that population.
“Energy and water consumption, solid waste and the amount of air emissions that are generated on the installation through mobile and stationary sources [are all factors for the award],” said Reyes. “The state wants to know how we manage that waste properly to make sure the waste gets off base and is tracked.”
On a monthly basis, environmental members accompany the wing safety office to conduct inspections within different sections of the base.
“It’s a team effort … our responsibility is to the wing, so we all understand that what we do impacts the base,” said Reyes. “The base was awarded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Programs Star which says a lot towards the safety aspect of it. Now, it’s being awarded the Oklahoma Star for environmental management. That tells everyone right off the bat that these guys know what they are doing and they do it very well.”
When asked if the base will win another Platinum Award, Reyes stated, “Yes, because we meet the rules of environmental performance and have things in place that are above and beyond that. As long as we continue doing that, we are exceeding. I think the people on the base understand that everything we do is to make life simpler for them.”