The United States Army’s Red River Army Depot (RRAD), located in the northeast corner of Texas, is a 600,000 square foot production complex located on more than 18,000 acres of land among 1,400 buildings. It serves as an ammunition depot storage site and maintenance facility for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Multiple Launch Rocket System, and combat tactical wheeled vehicles. In addition, RRAD’s rubber production facilities remanufacture track shoes, track shoe components and roadwheels for those vehicles.
Many of its storage and maintenance processes — which include metal cleaning, painting, paint removal and electroplating — require the use of numerous chemicals or materials that generate significant quantities of waste. RRAD’s Environmental Division staff members carefully track and manage thousands of transactions involving material receipt, inventory and waste generation to assure full compliance with state, federal and U.S. Army regulations, governing “Right-to-Know,” chemical inventory, materials management and waste storage and disposal laws. For more than 16 years, RRAD’s HMMS material and waste program has earned high marks from outside entities, including regulatory agencies.
Renita Foster, a civilian supervisor in the RRAD Environmental Division, reports that one key factor in the depot’s successful track record has been its extensive use of IHS Hazardous Materials Management System (HMMS) software. HMMS is the only cradleto- grave hazardous material and hazardous waste management software on the market that was developed in partnership with the US Department of Defense (DoD) user community.
Red River Army Depot environmental personnel use IHS HMMS to quickly and easily track their chemical inventory from preacquisition, receipt, labeling, and storage through usage. The HMMS Waste Management module lets Depot personnel track waste from the point of generation, through storage to disposition. Foster and her colleagues use HMMS to maintain up-to-theminute status and location of chemicals as they move through RRAD’s massive manufacturing complex.
RRAD established a stellar record with regulators for waste management conformance and reporting that the State of Texas elected not to conduct annual HW inspection at the depot in 2010 and 2011.
Foster’s involvement with HMMS began in 1993, when RRAD was using the HMMS Materials Management module. Her RRAD team colleague, Gary White, had been using HMMS to streamline the material compliance program with great success.
Foster had previously worked with Depot Information Technology (IT) staff members to develop a homegrown system to manage all waste transactions and assist in environmental compliance. In 1993, however, HMMS developers approached Foster about an opportunity to offer input into a new waste management solution that they were developing. HMMS managers recognized that Foster could provide valuable insight into functionalities that would be most useful for government and military personnel who are responsible for environmental compliance. Foster spent 3 weeks with HMMS IT staff members, providing functionality specifications for the development of the HMMS waste module.
Within a year, Red River Depot was among the first facilities to implement HMMS Waste Management software. It did not take long for the system to generate improvements in the depot’s waste management performance.
“The biggest opportunities for improvement in waste management were in the identification and labeling of Hazardous waste containers. With the HMMS system we’ve eliminated nonconformances down to zero on identification and labeling, and inventory management” Foster said, proudly. “We noticed major improvements within a year of the implementation.”
“Now, when the state and the EPA come in for an inspection, I immediately have the information they want, with 75 percent coming from the HMMS program, and then they go out to our storage facilities and everything is uniform and standard,” she added. “I can tell that they think we are doing a great job because I was requested to speak at the State of Texas Investigators Conference in 2010 to showcase the Depot’s compliance efforts in hazardous waste using the HMMS system.”
Foster notes that HMMS’ interoperability with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA/DRMO) system is another factor in the Depot’s success. DLA tracks and monitors all shipping activities for the Depot. DLA transactions are received directly from HMMS, so the environmental team has up-to-date information on all waste related activities involving receipt, shipment and disposition of containers from their facility. When containers arrive at the disposal facility, DLA deliver a confirmation record directly to HMMS, which completes the Depot’s cradle-tograve tracking to maintain compliance.
In addition to its support of Red River Army Depot’s day-to-day compliance requirements, HMMS provides reports that help Foster and her colleagues identify and act on costly materials usage trends and waste generation.
“The HMMS system helps us focus on things that are really costing the Depot money and find areas where we have high volume of waste generation. HMMS produces costing reports associated with those volumes. We can look at trends and decide our priority, saving money and reducing volume,” said Foster. “We can also go into HMMS and identify the increases and areas of decreases in waste generation. This lets us pinpoint areas where we need to ask if pollution prevention efforts or process changes are needed to reduce chemical consumption.”
RRAD’s successful environmental program using the HMMS system has been a catalyst for other military facilities to implement HMMS. Foster has been the lead HMMS trainer for the DoD since the early 1990’s and has trained hundreds of government personnel at Army, Airforce, Marine, Navy and NASA facilities. She has also been actively involved in the HMMS Core Working Group’s activities, serving the entire user community by supporting the effective utilization of technology resources to continually improve environmental performance at federal and military agencies.