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Base environmental strides recognized

Pfc. John Robbart III

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Camp Pendleton has been in full force when it comes to environmental awareness, and recently received recognition for its efforts.

Innovations to clean up contaminated water and reclaim pesticide filled soil have caught the eye of the Department of Defense, earning the base the Secretary of the Navy’s 2010 Environmental Restoration Team Award.

To make Camp Pendleton green takes a large number of individuals, but heading the team’s efforts were Tracy Sahagun, manager, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act division, assistant chief of staff, Environmental Security, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and Theresa Morley, environmental engineer and the Navy’s lead remedial project manager, Central Integrated Products Team, Navy Facilities South West.

According to the environmental award nomination document, the team’s resourcefulness, dedication and innovative thinking, during 2008 and 2009, provided for many successful accomplishments within Camp Pendleton’s Environmental Restoration Program.

Some of the innovative ideas that the Sahagun and Morley’s team have done include cleaning the base’s drinking water after it was discovered to be contaminated, and detecting the source for its contamination.

The nomination also states that the team also created and oversaw a study to evaluate the effectiveness of different chemical and biological methods for remediating pesticide contaminated soil. The intention was to find a method of remediating the remaining 315 acres of the agricultural fields that will be converted for housing.

The team’s willingness to leverage the tremendous resources available to them is one of the reasons the ER program at Camp Pendleton is so successful, stated Lt. Cmdr. Charles Turner, outreach officer, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, in the environmental award nomination document. Between academia, contractors and other Navy and government resources, the team was able to make remarkable progress in assessing and cleaning up sites, often at little or no cost to the program.

“The Marine Corps takes environmental protection seriously, doing our best to do cleanups smarter and better” said Sahagun, who has received the award for the fourth time. “Our function here is to make sure that the environment is safe for service members and their families.”

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