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How Barksdale's industrial activities affect our bayous

  • Published
  • By Kate Hasapes
  • Courtesy Article

Oh no!  There is something in the bayou!  No, we are not talking about alligators.  We are talking about fuel and chemical spills. With the large amount of fuel and chemicals Airmen use to fulfill their mission, we are at risk of contaminating our air, soil, and water.

As the majority of Barksdale’s residents also work on the Air Force Base, it is important to understand how our lives at home and work can impact the local waterways. Mack’s Bayou runs through Bomber Bayou Golf Course, historic base housing, and behind the industrial shops on the southwest side of the flight line. In the historic base housing, storm drains are marked with metal emblems, letting people know that anything that flows into these drains go directly to the bayou. In the next few months on the industrial side of base, Airmen will start to see ‘No Dumping’ markings on the storm drains to remind them that these drains are for rainwater only. Shops on base that use or store certain amounts of chemicals are equipped with spill kits and procedures on what to do if any product is spilled. Per federal and state regulations, each chemical has its own reportable quantity that when spilled triggers reporting to regulatory agencies. For example, with petroleum, oils, and lubricants a single drop in a storm drain or waterway must be reported to the state within 24 hours! If larger quantities of chemicals are spilled, it can cost the base hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) in cleanup costs and fines

Still not sure as to why it is important for Airmen to care about our backyard bayou?  Ask this family of Black-bellied whistling ducks!  A nesting pair of whistling ducks decided that the 8th Air Force Headquarters building on main base was a perfect location to start their family. It only became a problem when they thought the ‘flight line’ was the place to take their ducklings. A team of active military, civilian employees, and contractors safely escorted this family to the nearest body of water…  Mack’s Bayou. 

The 2CE Environmental Office is always available to help educate shops on the proper handling of materials and how to stay in compliance with our multitude of environmental permits. The more conscience we are about our environmental impacts, the better we can be about “leaving no trace”, “reducing our footprints”, and being “eco friendly”. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

If individuals or groups are interested in learning more about impacts to the bayous or waterway cleanup events, contact Barksdale’s Environmental Program Manager (Kate Hasapes, 456-2770,  It takes the whole team to keep Barksdale clean!