It is suggested that environmental commitment will require that the Navy establish a respected cadre of specifically trained officers. Concentrating responsibility in a single environmental officer and providing considerably more training and fundamental background for that individual should yield benefits. In chemical and manufacturing plants, companies have set up environmental protection groups and assigned specialists to assist plant managers. The Navy could make it attractive for technically oriented naval personnel to attend programs on environmental training. Subject matter could include:
Law and regulations,
International commitments and related issues,
Equipment testing and maintenance,
Shipboard testing of water and air emissions,
Waste stream characterization, and
Advances in environmental technology.
The fleet has substantial installations of waste management equipment aboard today, and more are coming. Establishment of effective management teams and provision of training and instruction are key issues required for long-term compliance with Annex V and future regulations. The chemical and airline industries make good use of videotape courses for personnel, both for employees assigned to new systems and as reinforcement for continuing employees. Tapes could show details of proper operation of waste management systems as well as critical aspects of safe storage of flammable materials.
The Navy could also make good use of goals for source reduction for each ship. This will entail keeping records of waste generated in a standard format. As this database develops, it can be used for performance metrics, for benchmarking with other ships, and as an incentive for source reduction of waste materials.
As presented in this report, two principal approaches to Annex V compliance appear promising. First, compaction and storage of wastes for landfill disposal or ocean discharge outside Special Areas for paper, metal, and glass can be implemented rather quickly. The Navy is already implementing a program for compacting plastic by means of a Navy-developed processor. The resulting discs will be stored for shore disposal. Commercial equipment exists and space requirements are modest for many ships. Second, incineration can reduce the volume of Annex V waste by an order of magnitude and offers an option that can lead to compliance while minimizing storage and transfer. At this time, the Navy has 107 incinerators installed on ships; and with modernization and operational improvement, they can probably burn 70 percent of the total waste paper and plastic generated by the Navy at sea. In the longer term, advanced technologies (e.g., plasma arc or supercritical water oxidation) are being developed that could replace incineration.
Based on successful implementation in the cruise line industry, the committee has great enthusiasm for incinerator-based integrated systems that can manage Annex V wastes, food waste, black water, gray water, bilge water, and other waste streams. It is clear that the Navy problem is more complex than that of the cruise line industry, but the committee believes that some form of integrated system can be implemented in the intermediate term, say over the next 5 to 15 years. Existing technology for managing liquid wastes is well established, and a number of advanced technologies are being developed in this connection. Backfitting integrated systems will be a challenge of considerable dimension.