Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Proactive Environmental Resource Management
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility is a leader in adopting environmentally-friendly practices. The company’s Environmental Policy fosters the implementation of environmentally sustainable processes, pollution prevention, and continuous improvement in the design, construction, delivery, and repair of submarines.
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility (EBQP) is an industry leader in proactively responding to environmental responsibilities. Addressing environmental concerns during the development of processes and products improves efficiency and identifies opportunities for cost savings. A proactive approach banks regulatory relief, whereas a reactive approach yields costly compliance. EBQP actively incorporates new U.S. environmental standards prior to issue or as they were being promulgated. In 1973, EBQP leased the abandoned Naval Air Rework Facility, without understanding the environmental neglect of the ground contamination which had taken place during the previous occupant’s tenure. After a thorough assessment, EBQP was faced with insurmountable challenges regarding legal liability, treatment alternatives, and project funding. EBQP, in concert with the Army Corps of Engineers, proactively catalogued the extent of contamination and elected to pursue physical remediation instead of adopting a containment approach. This experience reinforced EBQP’s timely transition from reactive to proactive environmental resource management as U.S. environmental policy-making accelerated in the 1990s.
Elimination of sub-surface contamination is one of many environmentally-friendly initiatives EBQP has facilitated. Other proactive measures include replacement of electrical transformers in more than 50 buildings in support of 100% extraction, removal, and disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls. EBQP also removed all underground storage tanks and replaced them with above-ground, environmentally-compliant units. Significant gains have also been made in the reduction of airborne emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). With the new Virginia Class submarine construction, EBQP reduced solvent-based cleaners from 77 to 15, adhesives/fillers from 148 to 67, paints from 107 to 67, and completely eliminated Class I ozone depleting substances. With the installation of HEPA particulate accumulators on major processing equipment, the exterior vents have been eliminated, yet clean, breathable air is still returned. Pipe cleaning operations were modified to reduce waste disposal, and many painting operations have been moved to the environmentally-friendly powder paint process, significantly reducing VOCs. In recognition of this accomplishment, EBQP was presented with the 2001 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention for the newly constructed, large part, powder coating facility.
Key to EBQP’s success has been full employee participation in identifying and documenting all major process flows. With input from process owners, environmental impacts associated with each process were listed. This allowed EBQP to identify environmental risks, avoid unnecessary liabilities, and promote pollution prevention. Recently, EBQP developed an Environmental Permit Management System to satisfy regulatory requirements for its Title V Air Permit. Metrics for more than 900 items that could potentially impact the environment are being certified to ensure compliance. EBQP underwent an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) certification audit in 2003, and has been certified ISO 14001 compliant. The EMS will further enhance environmental awareness and the structure needed to achieve environmental improvement.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.