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NAVFAC Far East Recognized for Environmental Excellence

23 April 2024
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Far East staff earned the U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) Installation Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Compliance at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo.

YOKOSUKA, Japan— Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Far East staff earned the U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) Installation Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Compliance at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo.

The Environmental Compliance Programs award acknowledges outstanding achievements in drinking water, Environmental Management Systems, hazardous waste disposal, and waste water oversight.

The award represents a commitment to good stewardship and the importance of the U.S./Japan Alliance. “U.S. Forces have an important mission in our alliance with Japan. Compliance is not only fostering good relations, but doing the right thing as we target many of the same rules that we obey in the U.S.,” says Acting Installation Environmental Program Director, Bert Uyenco. “Compliance with important regulations not only ensures our readiness and mission, but also leaves a lasting legacy for generations.”

The Environmental Division’s work supports the 10 distinct areas of COMFLEACT Sasebo covering 1,206 acres with a base population of more than 6,000. Their primary responsibility is to ensure compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations, to include the Japan Environmental Governing Standards (JEGS).

The JEGS reflect high-standards and provide quality that Uyenco credits. “We would definitely like to thank our host nation, first and foremost. They provide us excellent water.” The team balanced significant improvements to the installation drinking water systems, meeting all health-based criteria under several regulatory bodies. It’s a complex mission with joint effort. “We have a great team that understands the position we are in, and we've fostered good relationships with the local water providers. We are constantly monitoring the water in our system and acquiring data from the local providers as well,” Says Uyenco. “CFAS leadership has been supportive in providing us the resources we need to accelerate our compliance posture with U.S.-based standards while being thousands of miles away from the States.”

In addition, the award represents the team’s success in hazardous waste storage, marking the successful pickup, storage, and disposal of waste to all homeported and visiting ships, and COMFLEACT Sasebo tenants. A total of 168,156 pounds of waste was properly segregated, containerized, and disposed of, improving the safety and overall working conditions of the entire installation. As well, the COMFLEACT Sasebo Environmental Management System continues to be a best-in-class example across the region, providing environmental stewardship that accounted for a 70 percent improvement on successful closeouts of Internal Environmental Compliance Assessments over the previous year.

Bill Sadlon, NAVFAC Far East/Navy Region Japan Environmental Director says of the award, “This is the third consecutive year CFA Sasebo has been recognized by USFJ for their commitment to environmental stewardship.  This award speaks strongly to the sustained efforts of CFA Sasebo’s diverse workforce and collaboration with the local surrounding communities to advance environmental quality.” Lt. Cmdr. Bobby Thompson, Public Works Officer, COMFLEACT Sasebo agrees. “We are grateful to the Cities of Sasebo and Saikai who have been gracious with our requests, and our great water distribution operators and engineers that strive for perfection. We are always challenging ourselves, and we will continue this trend of incremental improvements, making processes better."

Environmental excellence showcases just one way NAVFAC Far East enables and delivers premier shore support to honor commitment to our Allies, maintain regional security, and protect freedom of navigation throughout the 7th Fleet.

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