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For a number of reasons, military bases have often been in low populated areas. One of the many reasons is that this gave them room to expand if necessary. This meant the surrounding area was empty of people but full of nature: trees, lakes, streams, wildlife, grass fields, and the like.

Back in the good old days of a long time ago, military aircraft would finish their missions and come in for a landing with engines hot. If the aircraft was too heavy they would open the stopcocks and drain some fuel. Following basic laws of gravity that fuel would fall, and land in that empty area full of trees, lakes, streams, wildlife, grass fields, etc.. Or military people might have buried some of their waste in the areas outside their building, like spent munitions on shooting ranges Or they might have dumped the used oil from their machines on the ground. Or maybe they used materials that were, at the time, deemed to be safe.

Which was fine. Back then, everybody did it because it was a totally fine thing to do! Mother nature took care of it! “The solution to pollution is dilution” was a common phrase.

But now people realize that the totally fine thing to do, well, really wasn’t. And the idea of “The solution to pollution is dilution” was not just wrong, but wildly so and caused lots of environmental problems.

Caring for the environment began to make its way into the society. It is generally agreed that the 1960s was when these issues really started to take off in the international consciousness. The US military is big advocate of environmental care and restoration. It has spent a lot of time and money fixing existing problems and taking steps to safeguard the natural world.

Which brings us to present day, here, at Quonset Air National Guard Base. Thanks to the hard work of a number of people over the years, Quonset ANGB is a model of how environmental protection and remediation is performed in the military world.

For example, Quonset actively manage any-and-all hazardous materials on the base. We are a military installation, and we regularly use and deal with chemicals and items that can pollute the environment. According to Rich Moore, the Quonset Environmental Manager, 90% of the chemicals used in daily operations are classified as hazardous materials. This includes things like fuel, paints, adhesives, sealants, lubricants, welding gases, and many other items essential to aircraft. But because of the hard work by the base Environmental Program we use as little of these as possible and make sure to properly take care of what we do have. “We have lots of controls in place to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be,” Rich says.

Can I help?, some people want to know.  Glad you asked! The blue and green bins all over the base are a part of the Quonset’s recycling program, and is a way that everyone at the base can contribute. State Environmental Officer Nathan Dalpe says “I would say that recycling is something any Airman can do that would help with the program”.  

In addition, the base also has a robust ground water monitoring program to make sure no contamination from the base makes its way into the local groundwater or nearby streams. Even in little ways people normally don’t think about – climate controls throughout buildings, or using energy-efficient lighting, or purchasing recycled paper – the military in general and Quonset ANGB in particular is showcasing its commitment to the environment.



For any questions about Quonest ANGB’s environmental program, feel free to contact Environmental Manager Richard Moore at 401-267-3640, richard.moore.72@us.af.mil. You can also reach out to the State Environmental Officer Nathan Dalpe at 401-267-3024, nathaniel.dalpe@us.af.mil