Offutt named 'Groundwater Guardian'

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Offutt Air Force Base was recently named a Groundwater Guardian for 2006 by the National Groundwater Foundation, in recognition of the base's efforts to expand programs to prevent pollution and improve groundwater purity.

"This is an annual recognition of communities that actively promote good groundwater management," stated Lt. Col. Phillip Moessner, commander of 55th Civil Engineer Squadron. "This recognition is conferred on organizations that meet a basic list of requirements - although meeting that list requires some fairly extensive outreach programs on our part."

According to the National Groundwater Foundation's website, in order to be considered a Groundwater Guardian, a team needs to be established and that at least one Result Oriented Activity should fall under one of the following categories: ROA's must impact public awareness and education, conservation, pollution prevention, public policy or best management practices.

Offutt has met the criteria for groundwater guardianship since 1997. Extensive programs have been established to help protect the environment, such as environmental presentations conducted at 13 elementary schools reaching an approximate 2,398 students.

These presentations included protecting endangered species and groundwater, preventing pollution and information regarding hazardous waste and recycling. Offutt has also maintained a 40 percent recycling rate since 1997.

Several cleanup programs have been in place during the last nine years, such as the Storm Water Management Plan, which reduces the amount of sediment and chemical contaminants entering surface waters and groundwater, the installation of leak detection equipment on all airport hydrant fueling systems and the removal of all oil/water separators.

The National Groundwater Foundation was established in 1985 to educate and involve citizens in efforts to protect groundwater supplies. The Groundwater Guardian program was started in 1994 and currently works with hundreds of communities in over 40 states.