Lackland AFB earns environmental award

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A Texas Air Force base recently earned a 2007 Water Efficiency Leader award for its efforts in reducing, reusing and recycling water.

A panel of national water experts chose Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio based on three criteria: leadership, innovation and water saved. Base officials use comprehensive water conservation measures and purchase recycled wastewater for reuse on the base.

Water conservation measures include bathroom fixture retrofits, water-efficient landscaping and more water-efficient heating and cooling systems. Recycled wastewater from the San Antonio Water System is used to irrigate the parade field, base golf course and cooling tower plant. Employee outreach, school curriculum and tenant education are key aspects of Lackland's comprehensive approach.

"We applaud these winners for saving water, energy and money for America's families and communities," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, the Environmental Protection Agency's assistant administrator for water. "They're proving innovative technology and environmental stewardship can help conserve our country's greatest liquid asset."

The WEL awards help foster a nationwide ethic of water efficiency, which is critical to the growing U.S. economy and quality of life, Mr. Grumbles said. Due to demographic shifts, increased demand and aging water infrastructure, there is a national need for more efficient use of the country's water resources. EPA officials recognize this need and have developed the WEL awards in addition to other initiatives such as a product labeling under the WaterSense program and a national organization to foster water efficiency.

Lackland AFB won the military category. Winners of the other five categories include:

Corporate: Intel Corporation, Ocotillo Campus, Chandler, Ariz. This company's three initiatives focused on the collective recycling of 75 percent of the water used during manufacturing thereby reducing their net demand for city water. The initiatives were the take-back of 825 million gallons of treated wastewater from the city's wastewater plant, the internal re-use of 530 million gallons of water, and treatment of 575 million gallons of water to drinking water standards that is then returned to the local underwater aquifer.

Government: Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Jose, Calif. This water management agency helped the community reduce water demand by 55,000 acre-feet, or 12 percent of present demand, through conservation and water recycling with plans to further reduce demand for water.

Industry: Frito-Lay, Plano, Texas. Frito-Lay's efforts at its 33 facilities resulted in the 39 percent reduction of water consumption per pound of product since 1999.

Nongovernmental Organization: The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky. The center finds profitable pollution prevention solutions for the metal industry to reduce the need for, and cost associated with end-of-pipe controls. One example includes KPPC's assistance that resulted in a 30 percent net water savings, valued at $50,000 annually, while production at the metal finishing plant increased 50 percent.

Individual: Allan Dietemann, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle, Wash. Mr. Dietemann has promoted water conservation for 20 years, resulting in reduced water consumption for businesses, government, and homeowners alike.