larger number of known organic chemicals have been
synthesized in the laboratory, and our society is
dependent on such synthetic materials as plastics,
synthetic fibers, dyes, detergents, and insecticides.
The vast majority of synthetic products are derived
from petroleum. Ninety percent (90%) of all organic
chemicals are made from materials derived from
petroleum and natural gas.
Inorganic this term describes the properties and
the behavior of all elements and their compounds
(brass, copper, gold, etc.), except for the majority of
the carbon compounds which are the domain of
organic chemistry. Exceptions to this are carbon
monoxide, carbon dioxide, and calcium carbonate.
Environmental protection and hazardous waste
disposal are two serious concerns in the NCF today.
Cleaners, acids, mastics, sealers and even paints are
just a few of the hazardous materials that may be
present on a project site. As a crew leader, you are
responsible for the protection of your crew and their
safety. You are equally responsible for protecting the
environment. Stiff fines and penalties that apply to
NCF and civilian work may be charged to those who
do not protect the environment. The bottom line is that
you can go to jail for not providing an environmentally
safe jobsite. Therefore, you should contact your
environmental representative or safety office
immediately in case of any environmental problem
(spill, permits, planning, etc.).
WATER AND GROUND POLLUTION
There are some wastes that should never be
flushed into a sewer. Sewage treatment plants and
industrial waste treatment plants are not designed to,
neither can they, adequately treat all wastes. Some
wastes, such as those containing more than a trace of
oil, cleaning fluids, gasoline or other volatile, toxic
chemicals, acids or alkalies, and some solid materials
cannot be handled by sewers.
Besides creating a fire hazard, oil and other
petroleum-related products pose many possible
pollution threats when they are spilled in the water,
dumped into the storm or sanitary sewer system, or
spilled on the ground. Oil products on the ground
infiltrate and contaminate surface water supplies with
the groundwater runoff caused by rain. Oil products
dumped or carried into storm or sanitary sewers are
also potential explosion hazards.
Waste oils, filters, and contaminated fuel should
be collected and disposed of in a nonpolluting manner.
Most naval activities collect and dispose of waste oil
periodically through a contractor. The contractor may
bum it in a boiler plant or in a heating system or
reprocess it in an oil reclaimer unit. The naval supply
fuel farms usually have the means to dispose of waste
There will be times when you will see what could
be a potential hazard, such as contaminated water
running off the equipment on the washrack. It is your
responsibility to check with the person in charge of the
washrack to be sure this wastewater is treated and not
discharged into the storm system. Provisions must be
made for pretreating or separating oil products and
cleaning solvents used at the washrack.
Pollution results from many activities of both
mankind and nature. Water becomes polluted when
wastes from activities flow into a lake or stream in
such quantities that the natural ability of the water to
cleanse itself is lessened or completely destroyed.
These wastes have placed a serious strain on our
wastewater treatment systems and our waterways.
Some types of waste are difficult to remove. Other
types respond to conventional treatment, but there are
not enough treatment facilities to keep them out of our
waters. Solving the pollution problem is not easy, but
it must be solved if we are to have an adequate supply
of safe, clean water for future use.
An oil slick on the surface of the water blocks the
flow of oxygen from the atmosphere into the water.
This is harmful to the fish and to other aquatic life. If
the fish do not die from the oil coating on their gills or
from eating the oil or oil-laden food, their flesh is
tainted and they are no longer fit for human
consumption. Besides harming aquatic life, drinking
water can become contaminated by oil. Drinking
water from wells and surface storage facilities is
treated with chemicals to rid the water of harmful
bacteria. However, no amount of treatment can rid a
system of contamination from waste oil products. The
system must be abandoned.
Always be careful of what you dispose of
and where ! READ labels and MSDSs to avoid
these types of mishaps.