Seal Beach Wins CNO Environmental Award, Sets Sights on Water Conservation

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Story Number: NNS140325-09Release Date: 3/25/2014 11:39:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eli J. Medellin, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Public Affairs

NAVAL WEAPONS STATION SEAL BEACH, Calif. (NNS) -- Continuing a long tradition, the environmental program at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach has been recognized with an unprecedented seventh consecutive Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Environmental Award, the base announced March 25.

Each year the CNO Environmental Awards honor ships, installations, individuals and teams for their outstanding achievements in Navy environmental programs.

For 2013, the Seal Beach command won in the category of "Sustainability, Industrial Installation."

The awards won in the past have been at the CNO level, the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) level, and one at the Department of Defense (DoD) level. This most recent award again puts the command in the running for another SECNAV award.

"The secret to our success is the team," said Installation Environmental Program Director, David Baillie. "Those individuals who have passionately pushed forward and strived to improve the command's program and maximize our gains."

With a new challenge from their higher headquarters, the command's focus has now shifted to water management. In response to California's current drought crises, the Commander of Navy Region Southwest, Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, urged all command environmental programs to "maintain focus and continuous attention on a reduction in shore facility utility requirements," and has set a goal to achieve a ten percent reduction in water use by the end of this year.

The Seal Beach command is way ahead of the game.

"We have gone from using over 86 million gallons of potable water in 2007 to just under 54 million in the past year," said the installation's Resource Efficiency Manager Matt Duke.

"Progress in water reduction has already been achieved with methods such as using a "weather smart" irrigation system, which can adjust irrigation schedules, provide alerts and monitor water usage," said Duke. "It measures water evaporated from the ground so the system can turn off the irrigation based on rain received. We have also eliminated two non-essential turf areas from the existing irrigation system to help save water."

Xeriscaping is also another way the command has saved water, by using indigenous, drought tolerant plants and mulch instead of grass. Xeriscaping is currently being used as landscaping around some of the newer buildings on base.

"There are new projects that are being planned for Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, as well as detachments Norco and Fallbrook," said Duke. "These projects will include replacing toilets, urinals, faucets and showers with more water efficient fixtures, which are predicted to reduce consumption by an additional 2.9 million gallons of water per year."

The environmental management team has worked build a relationship with all command personnel, as well as tenant commands, Baillie says. "We understand their mission and we're able to work together to provide better support to the mission, but also to manage compliance more efficiently and reduce pollution, which actually makes us more efficient."

For more news from Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, visit www.navy.mil/local/sealbeach/.

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