JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Approximately 1,800 Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast public works professionals are celebrating National Public Works Week, which began yesterday, May 19 and runs through May 25.
National Public Works Week started in 1960 as part of a public education campaign by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The week-long event seeks to raise the public's awareness about public works issues and public works employees who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for present and future generations. This year’s theme is "Because of Public Works..."
“When you think of this year’s theme,it relates to every Navy installation we touch,” said NAVFAC Southeast’s Public Works Business Line Coordinator Jeff Killian. “One never has to ask how clean the water is, has the grass been mowed, or does the air conditioning system work? The public works team manages things like this every day on every base.”
NAVFAC has provided management and leadership of Navy public works for over 170 years. Globally, the Navy's public works officers, Civil Engineer Corps officers lead 68 Navy and Marine Corps public works departments (PWD) providing comprehensive shore installation facility engineering, acquisition, environmental, and transportation services to many supported commands and missions.
“In the Southeast, our team works hard to maintain the short infrastructure at 22 Navy and Marine Corps installations in the southeastern United States,” said Killian. “They are vital in making sure the homefront is maintained for Navy families as well as ensuring our Warfighters are ready to serve.”
This essential work usually goes unnoticed, but the behind-the-scenes work performed in providing vital public works services such as electricity, water, and wastewater management is a central enabler for a lot of what happens on Navy and Marine Corps bases worldwide.
NAVFAC’s public works professionals are at the forefront of executing cutting-edge energy projects for Commander, Navy Installations Command to help meet the Secretary of the Navy’s energy goals. Advanced metering, renewable energy, and residential energy conservation projects are helping to reduce the demand for energy on and off base.
PWD personnel are always some of the first at the pier when a ship returns to base, providing berthing and hotel services that include electrical hookups to shore. They also enable Navy warfighters to conduct their missions by ensuring runways are in good working order and are clear of any foreign object debris, which can cause damage to planes and injury to personnel.
“Our public works team supports the fleet, fighter and family with the highest possible shore installation capability and quality of life within the frameworks of mission effectiveness, safety, environmental stewardship, and resource judiciousness,” said Killian.
This year’s Public Works Week theme is very fitting for the Navy. For example, because of public works, a contract was awarded to decentralize the power and steam production facility at Naval Support Facility Indian Head, which will enable the closure of the last coal-fired power plant in the Navy's inventory. The new high-efficiency natural gas system taking its place will cut energy consumption by 50 percent, reduce annual water consumption by 52 million gallons, reduce carbon emissions by more than 50 billion pounds, and will save the Navy approximately $7.5 million annually. A similar steam decentralization project is scheduled for NAS Mayport.
Because of public works, the Navy presently has 14 E85 (85% ethanol/15%gasoline blend) sites, four CNG (compressed natural gas) sites, 21 B20 (biodiesel) sites, and five standalone electric charging stations. Future plans call for the construction of seven additional E85 stations, five more standalone electric vehicle charging stations, and nine solar carport electric vehicle charging stations, consequently moving the Navy closer to meeting the federal government’s goal of having one alternative fueling site at each installation that has a federal fueling center.
And finally, because of public works, more than 678,000 service calls and 83,000 emergency calls were recorded and completed in 2012, helping to keep naval facilities and infrastructure up and running, to include our southeastern United States and Carribbean installations .