Navy Lab Marks 30 years of Environmental Quality

Friday, June 21, 2002
The Environmental Quality Department (EQD) laboratories at Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock are celebrating 30 successful years of advancing environmental enhancement for ships and submarines. In that time, EQD scientists and engineers have earned more than 23 patents and have installed waste management systems on nearly every ship in today's Navy. Through many name and location changes, the department has maintained a dedication to providing quality science and engineering research, development, testing and evaluation that allows Navy ships and submarines to comply with existing laws, regulations and policies. The Navy's shipboard pollution abatement program was established in the late 1960s in response to environmental protection legislation and executive orders, and in 1971 the Navy's Environmental Protection Technology Program was established. The objectives then are almost identical to those now. Among the original objectives was to develop systems and procedures that will permit the Navy to meet present and future environmental regulations without impairing the military readiness of its operational units. The groundbreaking for the Pollution Abatement Facility laboratory took place in Annapolis, Md., in February 1972. For much of the 1970s, the lab worked to solve the problems of oily waste, oil pollution and sewage treatment issues--a liquid waste incinerator developed in the lab during this period is still in use today. The energy conservation measures of the late 1970s and early 1980s meant water conservation challenges for the lab, which began looking at all the ways water was used aboard ships. An innovative reduced-flow, hand-held showerhead was invented and more than three thousand "Navy Showers" were installed on 50 ships. The showerheads, some of which are still in use today on water-critical ships, enabled the ships to avoid the dreaded "water hours," during which the use of potable water was secured for showers. As a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, the Annapolis lab closed and the department moved to its new, modern laboratory facilities in West Bethesda. To stay ahead of today's complex and demanding environmental regulations and policies, the EQD employs 117 experts in the field. In addition to the Navy, the EQD supports industry, cruise ships, shipyards, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Office of Naval Research, other Federal agencies and foreign militaries.

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