Uncle Sam wants you

With the Cold War behind them, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are turning their attention to a new foe. Our government has now declared war on the widespread pollution found at its military bases and other federally owned sites where weapons were formerly manufactured. In this campaign against contamination, DOD, DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are joining forces. They are also soliciting the services of environmental consultants and manufacturers of innovative remediation technologies to fight in this battle.

As the third largest federal landowner and steward of tens of millions of acres, DOD has to clean up its facilities that were environmentally impacted by past operations. DOD's Office of Environmental Cleanup is charged with developing policy and overseeing the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP), which focuses on ensuring that DOD environmental cleanup policy conforms to existing laws. To learn more about this DOD program, check out its Web site at www.dtic.mil/envirodod/index.html.

Following DERP policy closely, the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Defense Logistics Agency are the military components actually executing the cleanup work at more than 1,700 DOD installations throughout the country. For example, the Air Force is in the process of closing, converting and realigning many of its bases for the purpose of economic redevelopment. As part of this process, the Air Force must determine the properties' environmental condition and conduct ongoing environmental cleanup and compliance activities.

DOE is another large federal landowner with environmental headaches. The agency owns contaminated facilities in 30 states and one U.S. territory, in all encompassing about 2.1 million acres. According to James M. Owendoff, DOE's acting assistant secretary for environmental management, the agency presently has 48 sites with 350 ongoing cleanup projects.

DOE began its cleanup operations in 1989, when the U.S. government ceased the production of most nuclear weapons. Currently, DOE's budget request for fiscal 2000 environmental cleanup activities is $5.7 billion in traditional budget authority and $228 million in privatization funding, Owendoff said. DOE aims to clean up most of its contaminated facilities by 2006. To find out more about the DOE Office of Environmental Management, see its Web site at www.em.doe.gov. If you want specific information about doing business with DOE, click on www.pr.doe.gov/prbus.html .

DOD, DOE and EPA are also working together to find new ways of cleaning up the stubborn groundwater contaminants known as dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs). The three agencies have formed the Interagency DNAPL Consortium, which is working to locate and evaluate innovative remediation technologies. One promising cleanup technique - electrical resistive heating - is the focus of our cover story, which starts on page 14.

Our government has committed itself to conquering contamination. These federally funded cleanup projects offer great business opportunities for environmental professionals nationwide. Enlist now and proudly serve your country, the environment and your bottom line.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/1999 issue of Environmental Protection.

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