U.S. Water News Online
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A total of 325,648 pounds of toxic chemicals at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station were either discharged into the environment or shipped off base for disposal, treatment, or storage during 1994, according to a recent report by the Defense Department.
According to the recently-published Toxics Release Inventory, the Jacksonville station is 10th among U.S. military facilities in the emission of toxic chemicals.
The report did not specify how much of the toxic material was released into the environment and how much was carried out. Ninety-three percent of the base's toxic chemicals are used by the Naval Aviation Depot for large maintenance operations, mainly the overhaul and repair of aircraft.
Among the Jacksonville depot's emissions in 1994 were more than 250 pounds of chemicals used in paint stripping that found their way into the St. Johns River. That type of emission is no longer made, however, because the depot recycles its wastewater.
President Clinton signed an executive order in 1993 requiring federal facilities to comply with legislation that established the Toxics Release Inventory. The order also requires federal agencies to reduce their emissions and offsite transfers by 50 percent by 1999.
According to base spokesman Bill Dougherty, the base is making strides to meet that goal, with a plan to reduce hazardous air emissions by 80 percent by 1998, despite a 60 percent increase in the workload.
Dougherty added that $20 million in process improvements at the depot have already eliminated 5.2 million pounds of hazardous waste per year, for an annual savings of $8.7 million.
Military installations in the U.S. produce millions of pounds of toxics each year, and millions more are shipped off site for management.
Paul Orum of the Working Group on Community Right-to-Know said the requirement for a Toxics Release Inventory is a positive step. But he cautioned that the reported numbers might be low because of the Pentagon's interpretation of certain exemptions.
Orum said his group, based in Washington, wants the White House to institute stricter requirements for the tracking of toxic chemicals through federal facilities.
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