John Thompson, Hazardous Material Pharmacy site manager, conducts an inspection on a locker containing hazardous materials on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., July 31. Any yellow locker contains flammable hazmat that is subject to inspections, which ensure all hazmat is present and in good condition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin Gonsier)(RELEASED)
Storage facilities containing hazardous materials are located in the back of the Hazardous Material Pharmacy on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., July 31. The buildings contain hazmat that needs to be tested as well as materials which are available to all authorized units free of charge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin Gonsier)(RELEASED)
by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Gonsier
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
8/6/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- In order to continue supporting the Barksdale mission, Airmen on the flightline and shops around base need certain materials to perform their jobs.
The Hazardous Material Pharmacy, or Hazmart, stores, tracks and distributes chemicals and materials that may pose a health or environmental hazard.
"We track every chemical that comes on base, from cradle-to-grave" said John Thompson, Hazmart site manager. "As soon as it is brought on base, it's tracked using a barcode and put into the computer. We also see the material when it's being disposed of."
Hazmart, which falls under the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron and 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, supports 141 of the units on base including tenant organizations, he added.
"Shops can receive hazmat by using two different methods," Thompson said. "There is the government system that we track and the GPC system."
The government system is the Enterprise Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health Management Information Systems (EESOH-MIS). When a base agency submits a request for certain chemicals or materials, Hazmart is notified.
"When someone needs a chemical, the process goes through the EESOH-MIS, and it comes to us," Thompson said. "We ensure all shop data is accurately inputted on all necessary paperwork. Once all the information is correct, the EESOH-MIS database automatically sends it to Bioenvironmental, Safety and then Environmental (2 CES Asset Management)."
Once the chemicals and materials being requested are approved, Hazmart forwards the list to the 2 LRS supply section, which places the order.
Hazmart can deny requests if it exceeds the maximum amount a unit is allowed to have. However, certain environmental and health hazards can also get a chemical denied by other units on base.
"We look at the health aspects of usage (when a new chemical is requested)," said Master Sgt. Eddie Bartlett, 2nd Aerospace Medical Squadron bioenvironmental engineering flight.
New chemicals and materials are being requested daily, he added. The 2 AMDS bioenvironmental engineering flight, 2nd Bomb Wing safety office and 2 CES asset management must make sure the items requested meet local, state, federal and Air Force requirements.
"We contact the requester if it can't be approved," Bartlett said. "Sometimes they can provide more information and it will be something we can approve, or we can recommend a less hazardous substitute."
The mission requires the use of certain materials, so bioenvironmental, and other base agencies advise the requesters on how to use the material safely.
"We advise the user to use respirators to protect their health while working with certain chemicals," Bartlett added. "Safety may have similar requirements, such as eye protection while a splash hazard is present. Environmental may tell them they can only use a certain amount per day due to environmental regulations."
If the material being requested is in stock at Hazmart, the unit ordering it is notified that Hazmart has it in the free-issue program.
"The free-issue program stores material including greases, oils, isopropyl alcohol and welding rods," Thompson said. "If there are any shops that want to get rid of an item and it still has a good expiration date, they can bring it here, and we will store it out back in our storage facility."
Any shop can pick up authorized items free of charge if Hazmart has it in storage, he added. This allows the agencies on base to save money as well as avoid wasting material.
Empty containers or expired items need to be turned into Hazmart for proper disposal.
"All chemicals need to be disposed of properly as per federal law," Thompson said. "Once a container is empty or the material expires the container is brought to the consolidated accumulation point. This is where all hazardous chemicals are processed for disposal and stored."
Hazardous waste can only be stored on base for 90 days. Various times throughout the year, Barksdale's hazardous waste will be picked up and shipped to an offsite facility.
The other method of obtaining chemicals and material is by using the Government Purchase Card Holder system. Airmen from various shops buy the material downtown or at the base exchange and then bring it to the Hazmart Pharmacy. The item is then given a barcode and tracked by Hazmart. They also ensure the unit is authorized to use it.
Other than storing, tracking, distributing and disposing of hazmat, Hazmart also inspects every shop that uses hazardous chemicals.
"Our contract with the Air Force mandates us to inspect every shop using hazardous chemicals once a year," Thompson said. "However, we go above and beyond that, by giving courtesy inspections when requested, and prior to an external inspection visit to Barksdale, we try to inspect as many shops as possible, to aid all our customers."
Hazmart's support ensures that every unit on base using hazmat can properly execute their mission, especially those that are out on the flightline.
"Any unit that deals with aircraft requests the most material, like the aircraft maintenance shops, are our biggest users," Thompson said. "They go through large quantities of oils, greases, adhesives and other chemicals."
It takes a lot of hazardous materials to get planes off the ground and into the air. Hazmart's services are needed throughout base in order to perform the mission effectively and safely.