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Feature Story

Remediation project manager Michael Spain

BEVERLY NOWAK PHOTO

Remediation project manager Michael Spain inspects the Emery Landfill area in Wichita, Kan., surrounded by fields of alfalfa and clover.

Back to nature

Michael Spain, a Boeing remediation project manager, looks out over a grove of cottonwood trees and acres of clover and alfalfa to a small windmill that’s part of the effort to clean up the Emery Landfill in Wichita, Kan.

Wind, sunshine and native vegetation all play an important role in powering and sustaining the cleanup of the 69-acre site along the Arkansas River. The clean renewable energy generated by the windmill and a small solar-powered water pump also significantly reduce the site’s operating and maintenance costs.

The Emery Landfill is part of The Boeing Company’s remediation program, which cleans up locations affected by past business operations.

"Sustainable means minimizing the environmental footprint of cleanup activity with an emphasis on employing renewable energy, protecting water supplies and restoring natural ecosystems."
Remediation project manager Michael Spain

BEVERLY NOWAK PHOTO

“Sustainable means minimizing the environmental footprint of cleanup activity with an emphasis on employing renewable energy, protecting water supplies and restoring natural ecosystems,” explained Wayne Schlappi, a Boeing remediation project manager.

The landfill’s “closed cell” sustainable system stops ground water and most rain water from entering the site and prevents contamination from leaching offsite.

The sustainable cleanup technology includes:

 

Spain explains that an added advantage of the closed cell is the lack of oxygen creates the perfect anaerobic conditions for the growth of natural bacteria that “eat” chemicals in the ground, helping clean up the site and leaving behind a harmless natural byproduct. Water pumped from the site meets health standards that allow it to be discharged untreated directly into the local sewer system.

The sustainable remediation strategy’s operational efficiencies have the benefit of reducing energy use, carbon footprint and costs, Spain adds. “This project is an excellent example of how the Sustainable Remediation Program is achieving its ‘triple bottom line’ of environmental, economic and social goals and objectives,” he says.