AFRRAD wins Defense award for environmental excellence

  • Published
  • By Jaima Fogg
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 88th Civil Engineer Group’s Air Force Radioactive Recycling and Disposal team has been named the 2022 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award winner in the Environmental Quality Individual/Team category.

The Environmental Quality Individual/Team award recognizes the efforts to ensure mission accomplishment and protection of human health and the environment in the areas of environmental planning, waste management and compliance.

To even be considered, AFRRAD first had to win the General Thomas D. White Award. It recognizes Air Force installations conducting the best or most improved environmental programs in various categories, and the teams and individuals that contribute the most to those efforts each year.

“These highly competitive awards are some of the only (ones) within the civil engineering community that compete beyond the Air Force level,” said Zack Olds, 88 CEG Compliance Section chief. “There were some outstanding nominees this year, but what sets AFRRAD apart is that the team sets the benchmark for others to emulate. With a team of only four people, AFRRAD is able to support an enormous mission set that impacts the Air Force and a broader DOD customer base and save the federal government money.”

AFRRAD is the primary focal point for low-level radioactive recycling and low-level mixed waste management in the Air Force and provides radioactive material recycling for the Department of Defense. The four-person team has over 93 years combined experience with protecting human health and the environment through the management and disposition of radioactive material and low-level radioactive waste.

Some notable accomplishments include:

  • Delivering a range of services from inventory, packaging, shipping, permit consultation and oversight of contracted waste brokers, which minimized contract costs by $1.2 million and resulted in the disposal of over 123,000 pounds of low-level radioactive waste and recycling of more than 65,000 radioactive material items
  • Providing the Navy with a radioactive-material recycling outlet for chemical-agent detection alarms by recycling only the radioactive sources and reducing waste volumes by 99%
  • Researching, identifying and validating 27 radioactive items found by DOD personnel days before the closure of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and coordinating and funding the shipment of them within international and domestic regulations

“To win is a tremendous honor and by winning this award, not only is AFRRAD lifted up but AFRRAD is lifting up Wright-Patt civil engineering, the 88th Air Base Wing and the entire support structure in our chain of command,” Olds said. “Winning the SECDEF Environmental Award is validation for AFRRAD because it goes to show just how valuable the team is not only to the Air Force but to the DOD as a whole.”

Since 1962, the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have honored installations, teams and individuals for outstanding achievements that include conservation activities, innovative environmental practices and partnerships that improve quality of life and promote efficiencies without compromising DOD’s mission success.