Unused Army Garbage Incinerators

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Unused Army Garbage Incinerators
Afghanistan Trash.jpg
AgencyU.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Amount of Spending$5,400,000
Websitehttp://www.usace.army.mil/
Additional IssuesAnnual, regular operation is $1 million

Visualizing Questionable Spending

in terms of:

equates to:

On July 20, 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) awarded a $5.4 million contract to the Turkish company Yuksel-Metag-Yenigun-Zafer Joint Venture to construct multiple solid waste management facilities at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno, located in the Knowst province near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. The company was charged with building two eight-ton capacity incinerators for solid waste material processing. The group was also tasked with constructing storage and sorting facilities, as well including an ash landfill and management office. The group was also contracted to pave walkways, secure fencing and control utilities, including water tanks and communications. When the contract was first awarded, the facilities were being used primarily as a burning open-air pit to dispose of solid waste.

The incinerators were originally installed at FOB Salerno by the International Security Force officials. The facilities were placed near the border with Pakistan, due to health concerns emerging from emissions generated by an open-air burn pit. In April 2013, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) conducted an investigation into the project. It reported the USACE had ineffectively used the $5.4 million granted for the project.[1]

Contents

Unused Garbage Incinerators

In April 2013, the SIGAR conducted an audit of the project and determined that FOB Salerno had spent more than $5 million to construct two incinerators that it would never use. Assuming the incinerators could operate 24 hours a day, the SIGAR determined that the two eight-ton capacity incinerators met technical specifications and were of appropriate size. However, the SIGAR found that the threat conditions would limit the incinerators use to no more than 50 percent of the day. With incinerators running at this capacity, the process would only be able to burn 50 to 57 percent of the daily solid waste. It was determined that even if the incinerators were used, other disposal options would also have to be used in order to dispose of the rest of the waste.

The SIGAR determined that, even though the construction was never completed, Salerno still accepted the facilities and closed the contract. The SIGAR also noted that, due to lack of maintenance, the incinerators had begun to deteriorate. There was one instance where stagnant water had formed beneath the incinerators, generating even more health concerns. In order to maintain the facility even with the current hazards, it would cost Salerno $1 million annually. This led the FOB to opt not use the incinerators and their supporting facilities.[2]

Current Conditions

The SIGAR determined that FOB Salerno continues to use potentially hazardous open-air burn pits. These burn pits were found to be in violation of the Department of Defense guidelines and U.S. Central Command Regulation. Though regulations recognize the necessity of open-air burn pits when first establishing a base, once a base exceeds 100 personnel for 90 days, proper waste disposal methods must be instituted. U.S. Forces-Afghanistan is requesting a waiver to allow FOB Solerno to continue using open-air burn pits until its closure in late 2013.[3]

SIGAR Recommendations

The Inspector General had the following recommendations for FOB Salerno:

  1. Take appropriate measures to prevent a reoccurrence of stagnant water at the FOB Salerno incinerator facility.
  2. Expedite the contract for the base's trash removal.
  3. Develop a list of disposal options for the FOB Salerno incinerators, determine the most cost effective option for the U.S. government and provide the SIGAR with the results within 60 days.

Ultimately, U.S. forces acknowledged the first recommendation, disagreed with the second and agreed with the third.[4]

Additional Reading

References

  1. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Forward Operating Base Salerno: Inadequate Planning Resulted in $5 Million Spent for Unused Incinerators and the Continued Use of Potentially Hazardous Open-Air Burn Pit Operations. April 2013.
  2. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Forward Operating Base Salerno: Inadequate Planning Resulted in $5 Million Spent for Unused Incinerators and the Continued Use of Potentially Hazardous Open-Air Burn Pit Operations. April 2013.
  3. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Forward Operating Base Salerno: Inadequate Planning Resulted in $5 Million Spent for Unused Incinerators and the Continued Use of Potentially Hazardous Open-Air Burn Pit Operations. April 2013.
  4. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Forward Operating Base Salerno: Inadequate Planning Resulted in $5 Million Spent for Unused Incinerators and the Continued Use of Potentially Hazardous Open-Air Burn Pit Operations. April 2013.