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Environmental baseline survey (EBS)

Definition An Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) is a methodical study conducted to establish the environmental condition of a location at a given point in time. The EBS identifies, quantifies and documents potential environmental liabilities, contamination, or concerns associated with a site. This information is typically used during transfer, lease, or release processes of military properties […]

Definition

An Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) is a methodical study conducted to establish the environmental condition of a location at a given point in time. The EBS identifies, quantifies and documents potential environmental liabilities, contamination, or concerns associated with a site. This information is typically used during transfer, lease, or release processes of military properties to mitigate potential hazards and reduce legal risks.

Key Takeaways

  1. An Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) is a comprehensive report that describes the current environmental state of a specific property or location. In the context of military operations, it is typically conducted before the military utilizes this area to understand its environmental health and the potential risks associated with its use.
  2. EBS plays a crucial role in ensuring the military activities are operating within environmental safety regulations. It is instrumental in identifying potential environmental concerns such as pollution, contamination, or other hazards, which might significantly impact both the military operations and the surrounding ecosystem.
  3. Post-military operations, an EBS can be useful in evaluating the environmental impact and changes brought about by these activities. This information can help in planning effective remediation strategies and ensure that the military responsibly manages the environmental aftermath of its operations.

Importance

The Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) is critical to military operations because it assesses the current environmental conditions of a specific site before the military occupies it.

This survey identifies any pre-existing environmental damage, contamination, or hazards that may pose risks to the health and safety of personnel, the mission’s accomplishment, or entail future cleanup liabilities.

Additionally, the EBS helps determine who will be responsible for any potential environmental restoration after military operations conclude.

Thus, the EBS ensures environmentally responsible operations, protects the military from undue costs, and safeguards the health and well-being of personnel and the surrounding community.

Explanation

An Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) plays a crucial role in military operations as it provides a comprehensive understanding of the environmental condition of a site during the transfer of real property. It is typically used when a military base or another installation is being closed, transferred, or repurposed.

This survey serves a key purpose of identifying, documenting, and quantifying the environmental liabilities at a given site. It is a meticulous process, detailing potential hazards, contaminants, or other environmental factors that can aid military and government leaders in making informed decisions regarding the proposed transfer or transition of property.

The EBS is instrumental in ensuring that any potential environmental issues are dealt with effectively and in accordance with environmental regulations and standards, thus protecting the health and safety of the military personnel, local inhabitants, and the environment. By providing a clear picture of the site’s environmental state, an EBS enables the stakeholders to assign the responsibility of cleanup and mitigation of environmental hazards ahead of the transfer of the property.

This way, the EBS acts as a protective measure, ensuring that a site does not pose any dangerous threats to its future users and the surrounding environment.

Examples of Environmental baseline survey (EBS)

Operation Desert Storm: During this Gulf War operation in the early 1990s, the US Military conducted an Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) before commencing military activities to assess the state of the environment, studying air quality, soil composition, water resources, and biological species present. This survey provided crucial data needed during post-war recovery efforts, especially in the cleaning up of hazardous materials and the restoration efforts.

Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti: In the early 2000s, the United States took over the operation of this base from the French. An Environmental Baseline Survey was conducted not only to document the state of the base, but also to be able to maintain environmental standards going forward. The survey looked at aspects like soil erosion, water condition, noise pollution, etc.

Kadena Air Base, Japan: Kadena Air Base, a United States Air Force base in Japan, conducted an Environmental Baseline Survey to keep track of the condition of the land, natural resources, noise pollution, and local wildlife. This EBS serves the clear purpose of ensuring military operations do not overly disrupt or contaminate the local environment. An update to the EBS may be conducted as necessary, for example, before a new construction project begins within the base.

FAQs on Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS)

Q1: What is an Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS)?

An Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) evaluates the pre-existing physical and environmental condition of a property before a military installation or operation is conducted. The survey includes the analysis of soils, sediments, surface water, groundwater and air to determine the presence of hazardous materials or pollutants.

Q2: Why is an Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) necessary?

EBS is crucial as it provides a snapshot of the environmental conditions at a particular time and place. It helps in recognizing environmental liability issues and is used to determine the potential impacts of a proposed military action or operation on the environment.

Q3: What is included in an Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS)?

EBS usually includes details about the physical setting of the site, history of the site, current operations, storage and handling of hazardous material, visual inspection findings, etc. Depending on the site, it may also include sampling and analysis of various environmental media.

Q4: Who conducts the Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS)?

EBS is usually conducted by specialized environmental consulting firms who have expertise in environmental assessments and surveys. The military or the organization initiating the activities collaborates with the firm to ensure thorough and accurate evaluation.

Q5: How often is an Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) conducted?

The frequency of conducting an EBS depends on various factors. However, it is generally initiated when plans for a new military installation or operation commence, or when significant changes are proposed to a site’s use or operation. Therefore, an EBS might not have a set schedule, but rather is conducted based on necessity.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
  • Real Estate Environmental Liability
  • Contaminant source
  • Hazardous substance survey
  • Property Condition Assessment (PCA)

Sources for More Information

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