Spotlight On: Seymour-Johnson AFB

June 1999 - TI#20034
Pollution Prevention in the Air Force
Spotlight On: Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
P2 Success Stories Implemented at Seymour-Johnson AFB
      Unit-Level HAZMAT Control and Accountability Program
      Central Acumulation Site Operations
      Integration of Water Quality Programs
      Sustainable Development - Green Building Program
      Vehicle Maintenance
Natural Resources Conservation Programs
Composting/Recycling Programs

Pollution Prevention in the Air Force
The United States Air Force recognizes the importance of pollution prevention (P2) in protecting the environment, achieving compliance objectives, and reducing waste disposal costs. Successful P2 programs, including recycling, waste minimization, product substitution, and process changes, among other strategies, are planned or underway at Air Force installations worldwide. The Air Force's environmental programs must do more today than ever before, and do it with increased cost-effectiveness.

The Air Force is a leader in fostering environmental awareness and education within its workforce and communities, thereby extending environmental stewardship from a management concept to an individual responsibility. In response to executive orders, regulations, and policies, successful P2 strategies and technologies are continuously being developed, applied, and improved at Air Force bases around the world. As new ways emerge to eliminate compliance burdens, save money, and minimize chemical exposures, the Air Force is committed to collecting these P2 success stories and making them available to Air Force activities everywhere.

Spotlight On: Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base
Seymour-Johnson AFB occupies 3,233 acres along the southern boundary of the city of Goldsboro in Wayne County, North Carolina. The base is also responsible for maintaining more than 46,000 additional acres of outlying parcels including the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area and the Dare County Bombing Range. The base is named in honor of Goldsboro native Navy Lieutenant Seymour Andrew Johnson, who was killed in an aircraft crash in Maryland in 1941, giving it the distinction of being the only Air Force base named in honor of a Naval officer. Activated in June 1942, Seymour-Johnson Field conducted technical training and prepared soldiers for overseas duty throughout World War II, as well as performing basic training of P-47 pilots. Seymour-Johnson Field was inactivated in May 1946 and reopened in April 1956, becoming host to the 83rd Fighter Wing, later replaced by the 4th Fighter Wing, which proudly proclaims "Fourth but First" as it's motto. The 4th Fighter Wing has remained at Seymour-Johnson AFB since 1957 and is one of the most distinguished fighter units in the world. The Fighter Wing currently consists of two operational squadrons and two training squadrons equipped with the F-15E Strike Eagle. Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52 bombers, Air Force Reserve KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, and Air National Guard (ANG) F-4 and F-16 fighters have also operated from the base.

Aside from its role as host to an outstanding fighter wing, Seymour-Johnson AFB is also home to many successful and innovative P2 programs that are coordinated and managed by the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron's Environmental Flight (4 CES/CEV). By involving the entire installation and the local community as stakeholder partners, the Environmental Flight has created an atmosphere where environmental stewardship is a primary consideration in all activities conducted on Seymour-Johnson AFB. This atmosphere is key to the overall success of the installation's environmental programs, and is a primary factor in their having been selected to receive four prestigious environmental awards in the past three years including the 1997 North Carolina Governor's Award for Excellence in Waste Reduction; the 1998 Carolinas Recycling Association's Spotlight Award for Waste Reduction, Recycling, and Buying Recycled; the 1998 Commander-in-chief's Installation Excellence Award for Special Recognition (Mr. John Hudson and the "YOU CALL, WE HAUL" program); and the 1999 OFEE (Office of the Federal Environmental Executive) White House Closing the Circle Award in the Model Facility, Non-hazardous Waste Category - DOD.

P2 Success Stories Implemented at Seymour-Johnson AFB
Unit-Level HAZMAT Control and Accountability Program
The 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron's Armament Shop (4 EMS/LGMRS) has developed an innovative and highly effective program to monitor and control hazardous material (HAZMAT) usage within their unit. It is based on the Tool Control System (TCS) that is available to all Air Force installations and is normally used to provide accountability of both tools and equipment items. Modifications to several portions of the basic program have been made by Armament shop personnel that allow them to enter and track specific information about the HAZMATs that they use.

When a new or restocked HAZMAT is brought into the shop it is first logged into the TCS as a controlled consumable item and assigned a unique barcode number which corresponds to its storage location in the cabinet and its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) number in the MSDS binder. If the item has a shelf life limit, that date is also entered into the database in much the same manner as a tool's calibration expiration date would be entered. When an individual wants to use the HAZMAT, its barcode is scanned into the computer along with the individual's unique identifier, forming an accountability link between the person and the HAZMAT. When the individual is finished with the HAZMAT, they must turn it or the empty container back in to the tool crib in order to clear the link and be released at the end of their shift. An added feature of the program is that it will automatically refuse to issue any HAZMAT that has exceeded its shelf life, thus preventing materials with questionable characteristics from compromising weapon system integrity.

The modified TCS program developed by the Armament Shop provides more than just HAZMAT accountability for the unit, it is also an indispensable HAZMAT management tool. HAZMAT locker inventory sheets, which are also cross-linked to the MSDS binder, can be generated from the database and include the following information:

  • Bin location and corresponding MSDS number;
  • Unit of issue;
  • National stock number (NSN) and manufacturer;
  • Part Number and any specifications the product is qualified to;
  • Item name and how the product is applied;
  • Technical order references;
  • Quantity on items required to be on hand;
  • Shelf life code;
  • Issue expectance codes (if applicable); and
  • Whether or not the item is included in the mobility kit.
Armament personnel have not yet calculated any monetary savings associated with using the 2-year old modified TCS program; however, they do feel that its use has provided significant benefits by reducing HAZMAT purchasing and hazardous waste disposal costs. They also know that the program has made managing the unit's HAZMAT program much easier which equates to more hours being made available for performing their primary duties.

For more information on the modified TCS program, contact MSgt Michael Zink, Chief, Armament Support Section, 4 EMS/LGMRS, DSN: 722-1393,

Central Accumulation Site Operations
Prior to 1995, there were three 90-day hazardous waste accumulation sites on Seymour-Johnson AFB, including a Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF), which serviced 52 initial accumulation points (IAPs) on the installation. Each IAP was managed by members of the unit that generated the waste which meant that they were responsible for coordinating with and transporting the waste to the DRMO TSDF and maintaining all of the waste records. In 1995, the Environmental Flight initiated a "you call, we haul" program to provide a same day coordination and transportation service to the generator community. The impetus for this program was the Flight's desire to give back to the operational units the manpower hours they were using to manage their IAPs. Since the "you call, we haul" program was introduced, the Environmental Flight estimates that an average of 11,000 to 12,000 hours each year have been given back to the squadrons. In 1997, used oil and off-specification fuel were added to the list of waste materials handled by the program, and in 1998 a new Central Accumulation Site (CAS) was opened. The new CAS has allowed the installation to close two of the 90-day accumulation sites, including the DRMO site, and consolidate all of its hazardous waste operations into a single location. In addition, the CAS manager has made arrangements with the DRMO at Fort Bragg, NC, to have all of the waste brought into the CAS manifested for removal within 30 days, thus ensuring that all waste is removed off-site well within the mandated 90-day limit.

In addition to the "you call, we haul" program and construction of the new CAS, several waste reduction initiatives have also been implemented by the Environmental Flight to further reduce operating costs and compliance liability. Two of these initiatives, maintained and operated at the CAS, include the absorbent industrial centrifuge and the fluorescent light bulb crusher.

Absorbent Industrial Centrifuge
Prior to 1997, Seymour-Johnson AFB generated and disposed of approximately 20,000 pounds per year of absorbents used in JP-8 spill and recovery cleanup operations. This single waste stream represented about one third of the total hazardous waste generated on the installation. The Environmental Flight researched several possible options for eliminating this waste stream and decided upon an industrial centrifuge manufactured by Bock Engineered Products. The centrifuge is capable of removing 95-98% of the JP-8 from the absorbents. Because all free liquids are removed from the absorbents, they are no longer classified as hazardous and can either be reused or discarded as solid waste if they are no longer serviceable. The off-specification fuel is shipped to a commercial vendor to burn for energy recovery. The Environmental Flight estimates that elimination of this waste stream saves the installation approximately $9,300 annually in waste disposal costs.

Loading JP-8 soaked absorbents into the industrial centrifuge
Fluorescent Light Bulb Crushing
Each year, more than 10,000 burned-out fluorescent light bulbs are generated at Seymour-Johnson AFB. The Environmental Flight researched several recycling markets for these bulbs; however, an estimated $3200 annual expense for recycling, although better than the cost for disposal as a hazardous waste, was not considered a cost effective solution. Instead, a Prodeva fluorescent light bulb crushing machine was purchased and installed at the CAS in 1998. The totally enclosed operation captures the mercury vapors in a three stage filter system and reduces the bulbs to a coarsely ground material. Each 55-gallon drum of crushed glass is tested for mercury and then discarded into the solid waste landfill [all drums have so far tested below regulatory levels]. This operation has proven to be so efficient and cost effective that the installation has volunteered to accept bulbs from on-base Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) facilities and from the city of Goldsboro, NC. The environmental Flight estimates that the fluorescent light bulb operation reduces the 10,000 bulb wastestream to eight drums of crushed glass and saves approximately $6,000 annually in hazardous waste disposal costs.

For more information about Seymour-Johnson's central accumulation site operations, contact Mr. John Hudson, CAS Manager, DSN 722-5168,

Integration of Water Quality Programs
The 4th Civil Engineer Squadron's Environmental Management Flight (4 CES/CEV) is in the process of developing a universal Geographic Information System (GIS) program that will incorporate all facets of the installation's water quality program. The primary purpose of this project is to enhance overall water program management by eliminating the multiple databases, spreadsheets, and documents that are needed to describe the water quality program, and replace them with a single program that embodies the information contained in these sources. Once the program is completed, it will also provide installation environmental planners with a powerful tool to determine and mitigate potential construction-related environmental impacts as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Air Force's Environmental Impact Analysis Program (EIAP). Another benefit of the GIS program is that it is portable, a potentially tremendous asset for assisting emergency response personnel in mitigating the spread and effects of spills.

The initial effort for the GIS program called for the creation of an installation map that contains global positioning satellite (GPS) data for all of its water-related "physical components." These components include:

  • Potable water lines
  • Domestic and industrial sanitary sewage lines
  • Fire hydrants
  • Stormwater drains
  • Septic tanks
  • Water sampling points
  • Outfalls
  • Streams, rivers, and drainage ditches
The GIS map of these components was then overlaid on top of a similar GIS installation map that details the position of all buildings, fences, and roads. Finally, the results of the following on-going and future studies and plans will be added to the program to complete the final product:
  • Backflow Prevention Study
  • Deicing Study
  • Oil/water Separator Study
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
  • Hydraulic Analysis Study
  • Inflow/Infiltration Study
  • Septic Tank Survey
For more information on Seymour-Johnson's Integrated Water Quality Program, contact Mr. Ronnie Wilson, Water Quality Program Manager, DSN 722-5168,

Sustainable Development - Green Building Program
In a progressive measure to integrate environmental values into the development of military construction projects, the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron has initiated a "Green Building" project for construction of a new operations facility for the 333rd Fighter Squadron. This project is the first building to be built within Air Combat Command (ACC) utilizing Green Building construction practices, and is also the first ACC facility to be designed and built according to hard metric dimensions.

Artist's Rendering of the 333rd Fighter Squadron's "Green" Operations Facility

Traditional Green Building concepts, such as requiring the use of building materials and fixtures manufactured from recycled materials, low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and adhesives, and energy efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures, have all been incorporated into the facility's design. What makes the Seymour-Johnson project unique is a sustainability section that was written into the project specifications that requires the primary contractor to divert at least 75% of the construction waste generated at the site from municipal landfills and to recycle at least 75% of all construction waste into recycling markets. The contractor is required to separate, store, and protect identified recyclable materials and salvageable waste products in order to prevent contamination that would diminish resale value. In addition, the contractor is required, as part of his progress payment application, to provide a waste management plan which outlines the collection, transportation, disposal costs, and quantities of waste generated as proof of his waste reduction efforts. Landfill tipping fees, manifests, and other documents are also provided to the Air Force contracting representative.

Identifying recycling markets for the construction waste is viewed as a partnership between the contractor and the base. The contractor is allowed to tap into the existing base recycling program as his primary source for disposing of wood, scrap metal, paper, cardboard, and other items handled by the base's recycling center. The contractor has identified several other markets, sometimes with the help of Environmental Flight personnel, and has been successful in exceeding the 75% diversion requirements. Since ground was first broken on the nearly completed $3 million, 1580 square meter (16,000 square foot) facility, over 2673 tons of construction generated waste material has been diverted into recycling markets at a cost avoidance of almost $100,000.

For more information about Seymour-Johnson's Green Building project, contact Ms. Emilee Blount, Green Building Program Manager, DSN 722-5168,

Vehicle Maintenance
Seymour-Johnson's Vehicle Maintenance Shop (4 TRANS/LGTM) is responsible for servicing 617 vehicles assigned to various units across the installation. They are also responsible for pre- and post-deployment processing of an additional 300 vehicles that are maintained on site as part of a Southwest Asia (SWA) fleet operated under the command of Central Air Forces (CENTAF). In seeking to identify better solutions to their hazardous waste disposal needs, Vehicle Maintenance personnel have been particularly successful in forging close partnerships with local business that have resulted in outstanding closed loop recycling programs for the installation's used oil, tires, and antifreeze waste streams. Although each of these programs represents a significant accomplishment, the combined results of the programs provide a substantial cost savings to the installation and demonstrate a profound commitment to finding pollution prevention solutions to HAZMAT/hazardous waste management concerns.

Used Oil Recycling
Until last year, the Vehicle Maintenance Shop had used a nationally recognized closed loop oil recycling service for providing re-refined product oil and the removal of used oil from the installation for a standard fee; a service that is geared primarily toward operations that receive and dispose of similar volumes of oil (within 10%). This periodically presented a problem for the Vehicle Maintenance Shop who would, on occasion, generate 8,000 to 9,000 gallons of used oil in a weekend preparing SWA vehicles for deployment. It often took several days for the service vendor to come to the installation, out of cycle, and collect the used oil, and the installation was charged an additional $0.25 per gallon ($2500 to $2750 total cost) above the standard contract fee to dispose of it.

The Vehicle Maintenance Shop now obtains its oil support from a local vendor. This vendor supplies the installation with product oil and removes the used oil generated by the shop for recycling. Although the initial cost of purchasing re-refined oil for use in the vehicles is slightly higher than was the cost of purchasing oil from the national vendor, the installation more than recoups this cost by not having to pay for the removal of the large volumes of used oil obtained from the SWA fleet. An additional benefit of using a local vendor is the fast, on-demand service they are able to provide.

Used Tire Recycling
The Vehicle Maintenance Shop has partnered with a local company to recap most of the used tires generated on the installation. Shop personnel estimate that approximately 80% of the installation's vehicle fleet is authorized to run on recapped tires, including all of the trucks (only high-speed vehicles cannot use recapped tires). Recapping a tire costs about half as much as purchasing a brand new tire, and each tire can be recapped up to two times before it must be discarded. The Vehicle Maintenance Shop estimates that the tire-recapping program has recycled over 123,000 pounds of used tires, and saves the installation $30,000 annually in new tire purchasing cost avoidance and disposal costs.

Antifreeze Recycling
In the process of maintaining a SWA vehicle fleet in addition to its own vehicles, Seymour-Johnson AFB generates a great deal of used antifreeze. In December 1997, the Vehicle Maintenance Shop installed an ionization antifreeze recycling system in order to establish a closed loop-recycling program for this waste stream. During the four-month period from November 1998 to February 1999, the base generated seventeen 55-gallon drums of used antifreeze. By recycling the used antifreeze, rather than disposing of it, the Vehicle Maintenance Shop saved the installation nearly $13,000 in new product and disposal cost avoidance savings.

For more information about the tire, used oil, and antifreeze recycling programs, contact Mr. Kenneth Strickland, Vehicle Maintenance Shop Supervisor, 4 TRANS/LGTM, DSN 722-1223, kenneth.strickland@

Natural Resources Conservation Programs
The Conservation and Analysis Branch (4 CES/CEV) is dedicated to preserving and conserving the area's natural beauty. They have a very active Natural Resources Conservation/Preservation Program whose success, resulting from outstanding and innovative research, has spread far beyond the installations boundaries. Among their many successes is the work they have done to increase knowledge concerning the restoration and management of Atlantic White Cedar, their innovative strategy for using aerial photography to accomplish forest inventories, and their research to reduce wildfire hazards caused by fuel buildups in the fire-dependent pocosins (evergreen shrub-bogs found on the Atlantic Coastal Plain).

Atlantic White Cedar Ecosystem Restoration
The Atlantic White Cedar (AWC) Management program is carried out in conjunction with local government agencies, universities, and special interest groups through the Atlantic White-Cedar Alliance, a group dedicated to the restoration and management of Chamaecyparis thyoides, or Atlantic White Cedar. Due to heavy cutting, hydrologic disruptions, and swampland development, the remaining acreage of AWC in the world has been reduced to an estimated 1-10% of its original coverage and has been labeled by the N.C. Nature Conservancy as globally endangered. Approximately 8500 acres of mature pure, mixed, and widely scattered AWC are present in Dare, Tyrrell, Washington, and Hyde counties combined, representing 80% of the known remnant acreage in North Carolina. One of the largest remaining single stands is located at the U.S. Air Force Dare County Range (DCR). The Alliance focuses on the AWC and its ecological communities, and was formed to promote the biological and economical facets of the species to include preservation and conservation, restoration, management, and harvesting and utilization.

Through the AWC Alliance, and with additional support from the Air Force, nonprofit groups, and the U.S. Forest Service, Dare County Air Force Range participated in a study on test sites to optimize conditions for the AWC. The study focused on restoring hydrology and the interrelationships of competing species, along with the effects of soil type, harvesting season, and subsequent site conditions on natural regeneration. Difficulty encountered in obtaining AWC seedlings for replanting of the species is being addressed through additional research to develop improved techniques for extracting, cleaning, germinating, testing and storing AWC seeds, and determining the relationship of tree age to seed quality in young trees, along with optimum seed maturity dates. Through the concerted efforts of the entire project staff, 90 acres of AWC seedlings have been planted, including a five-acre seed production orchard.

Aerial Photo Forest Inventory
The Dare County Bomb range needed an accurate, timely, and cost-effective forest inventory for its 33,650 acres of commercial forest land so that management issues regarding timber harvests, tree planting, tree pests and diseases, natural area protection, and endangered species could be addressed. Initially, planners intended to utilize aerial photography. The U.S. Army Civil Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) had implemented infrared aerial photography for vegetative analysis, and aerial techniques had been used in the past for inventory work. However, there was not an aerial photography method in place that effectively determined tree volumes, which is a critical factor in forest inventory.

To solve this problem, Dare County Bombing Range modified an aerial photography technique that uses stereoscopic pairs to measure three-dimensional gravel and coal piles. Relationships were developed between the tree crown diameter, tree height, and diameter at breast height to calculate tree volume. This method also allowed determination of trees per acre, volume per acre, and volume per stand. After numerous tests, a software program was produced that was able to provide accurate results and a complete forest inventory. Combined with ground verification, this aerial method has proven to be an accurate means of measuring forest data, saved an average of $453,795 compared to ground inventory, and allows more forest area to be inventoried in a shorter period of time.

Fire in the Pocosins Study
This study was initiated to support the development of a fire management program on the Dare County Range in order to reduce the wildfire hazard potential caused by fuel buildups in the fire-dependent pocosin communities in this area. Because of timber harvesting, water control, and fire suppression, the fuel load has increased to unnaturally high quantities. In order to prevent a fire from getting out of control, a study was implemented to prescribe burns that would maintain fuels at a manageable level and prevent the uninhibited spread of wildfire and maintain a healthy ecosystem. In order to achieve this goal, it was first necessary to acquire knowledge of the hydrology, soils, and "fuel" in the area in order to prescribe the optimum conditions for a controlled burn. This was accomplished through an extensive study of the area and the effects of fire on test plots. Through prescribed burns, the fuel load can be maintained at safe levels, preventing an uncontrolled fire from damaging a fragile ecosystem, thus preserving the diversity of the wildlife and plant species in the area.

For more information about Natural Resources Conservation/Preservation programs, contact Mr. Bryan Henderson, 4 CES/CEV, DSN 722-5168,

Composting/Recycling Programs
The composting and recycling programs at Seymour-Johnson AFB are two of the many faces that make up the pollution prevention and compliance landscape of this installation. These programs achieve their success primarily by working together with all military and civilian personnel base-wide to obtain the most efficient use of their resources.

Seymour-Johnson AFB's composting program accepts yard and all wood waste from around the installation with the exception of pressure-treated or painted lumber. Yard waste is segregated and ground separately, and then mixed into the ground wood to form the mulch. The mulch is then formed into windrows on a concrete pad where it sits for approximately four months, with turning whenever the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When ready, the mulch is screened and then used around the installation or sold to the public. Compost facility personnel estimate that they recycle approximately 250,000 pounds of materials each year that otherwise would have gone to the local landfill -- a cost avoidance of $12,000. In addition, public mulch sales generate revenue of $300 to $400 per month, which is returned to the installation's recycling fund. Co-located with the composting facility is the installation's greenhouse that provides office and landscaping plants for the installation. The $18,000 greenhouse requires about $3000 each year in supplies; far less than the $20,000 the installation was spending on landscaping plants and flowers each year. An additional benefit of the greenhouse is its "babysitting" service for plants whose "owners" are on deployment. The only "payment" required for leaving a plant in the greenhouse is permission for the staff to take cuttings that can be replanted and then reused in offices and homes on base, or as part of the base beautification program. The benefits of programs such as these are evident in the savings from not purchasing flowers and shrubs.

For more information on Seymour-Johnson's Composting Program, contact TSgt Rob Ward, Composting Center Manager, 4 CES/CEOHG, DSN 722-5159,


Bales of plastic containers and cardboard collected at Seymour-Johnson AFB await transport to an off-site recycling facility
Seymour-Johnson AFB has a very active and extensive recycling program that encompasses both the industrial and housing portions of the installation to ensure as much recyclable material is recaptured as possible. In 1998 alone, almost 200 tons of glass, scrap metal, plastic, steel and aluminum cans, paper, clothing, firewood, and cardboard were recycled through the installation's recycling center. All units on base are provided with desk-side recycling bins for paper and cans, and base-housing residents are provided with a 95-gallon container with six inserts to assist in separation efforts. Recyclable materials are collected from buildings and the housing area on a weekly basis, and the recycling center maintains a 24-hour recycling point where materials can be dropped off. In addition, all base-housing residents and employees are briefed on recycling efforts and how to properly separate recyclable materials. To further "get the word out," the recycling center also places articles in base publications, puts signs around the installation reminding residents and employees of recycling efforts and successes, and purchases spots on local television highlighting their efforts. In addition to recycling, the center also supports reuse efforts, such as retaining and reissuing corrugated cardboard boxes for moving purposes.

The recycling center, like most of the other environmental programs on the installation, is actively involved in supporting the community. They recently donated 182,240 pounds of mixed paper to Wayne County's "Keep America Beautiful" Program. The center also collects clothing on a routine basis, and last year donated more than 2,500 pounds of clothing to the Salvation Army.

For more information on Seymour-Johnson's Recycling Programs, contact Mr. Howard Sherrod, Recycling Center Manager, 4 CES/CEOHG, DSN 722-1469,