DPW conducts hazardous spill response to protect environment

by Tiffany Lanigan U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs

Photos by Lutz Andres
A Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division instructor topples a barrel of simulated hazardous liquid during spill response training in Germersheim. The Environmental Division provides two-day classroom and hands-on training to help minimize the effects of hazardous material spills on the environment.

While some may consider hot coffee on their shirt in the morning a hazardous spill, it’s not quite the same as some of the other liquids and chemicals that may need to be cleaned up in the event of an accident.

The Environmental Division of the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz’s Directorate of Public Works recently conducted spill training for more than 150 people with the Defense Logistics Agency located at the Germersheim installation.

“Everyone needs to be aware of his or her capabilities and what you can do in terms of spill response,” said Erik Cook, DPW environmental engineer. “That hands-on training is really invaluable.”

In addition to hands-on exercises, the employees also participated in classroom training over the two-day period. The event was well received, according to Cook, and the DLA staff were happy to have DPW come on-site to their location to provide refresher training on spill response procedures.

“Even though we do offer online training, the big benefit is that we can come to you,” Cook said. “In this day and age where manning is an issue, units need to look to DPW to provide this required training. This in-house training could relieve the unit from seeking outside sources, as there are qualified personnel here in this garrison footprint to provide the training at their location. That’s the real benefit not just limiting it to (additional duty) environmental officers, but to unit personnel.”

DPW is ready to provide on-site hazardous material training to any unit or organization, explained Anja  Kotzerke, environmental engineer.

“Usually, our main audience are environmental officers, but really anyone handling hazardous materials or hazardous waste needs this training,” Kotzerke said. “So all people are encouraged to contact DPW to access online training or on-site training how to handle it, where to go and what to do with it. Sometimes it is easier to (train) in your location, see the spill equipment as it is on-site and have recommendations to improve operations.”

Located on Rhine Ordnance Barracks, DPW services all tenant units in USAG R-P to include Kaiserslautern, Baumholder, Landstuhl, Miesau and Sembach. The environmental division provides both theoretical, hands-on and online training. DPW relies on every unit having an assigned environmental officer. However, if a unit does not have someone assigned in this role, unit commanders may reach out to DPW to arrange on-site training for their Soldiers.

Environmental officer refresher training takes place Mondays and is mandatory training for EOs. People can train online, but Kotzerke said it is more beneficial to do hands-on training. Times vary and are flexible with scheduling. Usually, a general training session is approximately three hours in length. EO refresher training can be an 8-hour online session or a hands-on class that runs four to five hours with a typical session from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Environmental Awareness workshops will be conducted over 10 sessions to be announced soon, and annual garrison-wide spill response training will also be conducted in the near future.

For scheduling customized unit training, call DPW at 483-4739 or 0631-3406-4739. DPW is located on Rhine Ordnance Barracks,
Bldg. 164, Room 224.

Defense Logistics Agency students apply absorbent materials to simulated hazardous liquids during spill response training conducted by the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division in Germersheim. DLA staff can provide on-site hazardous spill training at their customers’ locations to make it a more realistic experience for students.