Asbestos is a family of minerals that forms harmful fibers when broken. Asbestos minerals for many years were used in fireproofing, acoustical, and thermal insulator processes. Asbestos is typically found on older furnaces, ducts, boilers, hot water pipes, surfacing materials on ceilings and walls, resilient asphalt flooring, vinyl flooring, suspended ceiling tiles, fireproof drywall, siding, roofing tiles, and many other applications too numerous to count. Asbestos is not an inherent health hazard in facilities. It becomes a hazard only when fibers are released into the air, usually through destruction of the matrix holding the asbestos in place. Exposure potential is dependent on several factors including location and degree of friability. A friable material is one that can be crumbled with hand pressure and is likely to emit fibers when disturbed. Once released into the environment, asbestos can be ingested or inhaled. Inhalation of asbestos fibers is the major exposure route of concern. JBER family housing was constructed in an era when asbestos-containing materials were routinely used in construction. As used, asbestos does not present a significant health concern to housing Tenants; however, to facilitate maintenance such as repairing heating systems or replacing flooring, the asbestos-containing materials will normally be removed or encapsulated. Asbestos removal is an important part of base wide renovation projects. If you are a Tenant of an older home, it may contain asbestos materials. Some simple precautions to observe are not to hang plants from insulated pipes or insulation, don’t drill holes or hammer nails in walls or ceilings, and avoid scraping floor tiles, walls, or ductwork when moving furniture.
16.2 LEAD BASED PAINT
Lead for many years was an ingredient used in many types of paint. It is no longer used in most paints; however, it may be found in some areas of older homes. Exposure to paint chips or dust may cause lead poisoning in young children. Young children are at greater risk than adults for developing lead poisoning because of the potential for young children to ingest paint chips or dust combined with their lower body weight and developing nervous systems. Traces of lead-based paint have been found in the window trim or similar areas of family housing. In most cases the old lead paint is well covered and the potential hazard is very small. There are several things you can do to reduce your exposure to lead. Keep paint in good repair and avoid abrasive activities to areas not known to be lead free. A major route of exposure to children is dust from deteriorating paint. Good housekeeping is good prevention. Painted surfaces which are not chipped or peeling should be checked and cleaned regularly to maintain serviceability. Wash with a mild detergent and water solution or paint as needed. Do not use solvents or industrial strength cleaners as they may harm the paint.
16.3 HAZARDOUS WASTE
AMH requires Tenants to properly dispose of household hazardous waste. Products labeled WARNING, CAUTION, POISONOUS, TOXIC, FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE, COMBUSTIBLE, REACTIVE, or EXPLOSIVE may be classified as hazardous waste and cannot be placed in the dumpsters or in the drain system. Common household hazardous materials include but are not limited to: pesticides, herbicides, paints, fluorescent tubes, solvents, preservatives, household cleaners, photographic chemicals, automotive waste (i.e., oil, antifreeze, batteries, or fuels). Hazardous waste may be taken to two sites within the municipality of Anchorage for proper disposal: Hazardous Waste Collection Center at the Anchorage Regional Landfill (Glenn Highway and Highland Road) or the Household Hazardous Waste Drop off Station (54th Avenue and Juneau Street). Unserviceable fluorescent bulbs may be turned in to the Self Help Center in exchange for new tubes.
16.4 STORM WATER
All storm water runoff from JBER goes untreated (unlike water that enters the sanitary sewer system). When it rains or the snow melts, oils, antifreeze, detergents, pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and other pollutants get washed from driveways, backyards, parking lots, and streets into storm drains or ditches. The drains and ditches direct storm water to swales leading to Ship Creek, wetlands or Cook Inlet. It’s critical that we all do our part in preventing pollutants from entering the storm water system. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water. At JBER, we have three (3) different permit requirements to meet to help protect our waters: the Construction General Permit (CGP); the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP); and the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. As with every small community, each individual has a responsibility to make sure that waste gets disposed of correctly and that we protect all streams, creeks and waterways. On JBER it’s no different, everybody has a responsibly in protecting storm water. Here are a few common ways that you can help:
- Keep your vehicle free of leaks and spills
- Practice safe lawn and garden habits
- Properly dispose of hazardous materials and waste
- Clean up after your pet
- Report all hazardous material and waste spills
For more details about storm water and what you can do to help, visit the JBER Storm Water website at www.jber.af.mil/.