Soaking mats will be used in the IAF by the end of the year, preventing the seeping of fuel into the ground during the re-fueling of aircraft

Date: 09/07/2009, 11:35 AM     Author: Na’ama Rak

A new method meant to prevent ground pollution will be in use by the IDF (Zahal) by the end of 2009. This will occur with the collaboration between the IAF and the Gas Center of the Technological and Logistics Directorate. A soaking mat, which will prevent the seeping of fuel into the ground, in case of leaking while refueling planes, will be put in use by the end of the year. The method doesn’t conduct static electricity, which that could cause a spark, eliminating a major hazard while dealing combustable fuel. When absorbed into the ground, fuel harms vegetation, livestock, and wildlife, as it can which could seep deeper and harm ground water.

The collaboration between the Gas Center and various IDF (Zahal) corps is not unusual – the center responds to the needs of the Navy, and helps the corps with gathering of bilge water: a concentration of water, motor oil, and other materials accumulated in the bottom of the ships. The bilge water is handled when ships return to the shore. In addition, both groups are collaborating in order to prevent sea pollution incase of the leaking of oil or gas, by soaking the material with different methods. These means locate the oil or gas spill, and prevent their spreading, thus enabling the soaking of the polluted water, and preventing environmental harm. Currently, the integration of a new method is also being tested; a biological method for dismantling and removing the spill itself. It could be used in the IDF (Zahal), if it will be found effective and efficient.

“We are always working; thinking of innovations and re-organizations,” tells the Head of the Environmental Department in the Gas Center, Major Cobi Grots. “We are checking the requirements of the Ministry of the Environment and of the units, and are aware of the technological discoveries in the environmental field.” The Environmental Department was established several years ago. Its first major project was the upgrading of IDF (Zahal) water heaters to natural gas powered and solar powered. The project became a success story. “This project was considered a great success, very worthwhile in the environmental sense, and even lead to financial savings. The change to gas cheapened the upkeep of the system, and improved the security of its use. There is great motivation and desire to follow through with the project in throughout the IDF (Zahal). The commands and branches have acknowledged the importance of the process, and are interested in continuing it,” says Major Grots.

It is understood that the method of preventing ground pollution is with responsibility of the department, not only in context of the IAF, but also with Ground Forces. Dozens of new oil gathering systems will be used in the IDF (Zahal) by the end of the year. The new systems will join two existing systems used in the IDF (Zahal) today, which vary from each other in their forms and sizes. The expansion of the the types of systems further help with the gathering of oil in the various units. In addition, there are many different kinds of spill containment pallets in the IDF (Zahal), for the gathering and safeguarding of oil and gas incase of leakage. The spill containment pallets are used for different purposes and sizes, all the way from small for laboratory equipment, to large for trucks and gas stations.