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 July 23, 2010

Training

Central Vehicle Wash Facility keeps equipment clean

Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy’s Central Vehicle Wash Facility helps Soldiers keep military or government vehicles and equipment clean and in good operating condition.

The 23-station facility opened in 1994. Carl Blixt, the Supervisor of the Fort McCoy Troop and Installation Support Branch, said units using the facility after training can extend the life expectancy of their equipment.
PHOTO: A Soldier from the 327th Engineer Company of Ladysmith (and Onalaska), Wis., cleans unit vehicles at the Central Vehicle Wash Facility. Photo by Rob Schuette
A Soldier from the 327th Engineer Company of Ladysmith (and Onalaska), Wis., cleans unit vehicles at the Central Vehicle Wash Facility. The unit was wrapping up their training at the installation.

“The thorough cleaning, which also includes the engines, helps reduce maintenance costs,” Blixt said. “It also helps to prevent equipment breakdowns.”

Cleaned vehicles may be turned in at the Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site or the Equipment Concentration Site-67 for maintenance and storage, or they may be driven or shipped to home stations, he said.

Jon Finch, a Central Vehicle Wash Facility staff member, said he and fellow co-worker Kevin Arnold, are on site to help units move equipment through the facility as quickly and efficiently as possible. The facility, which comfortably can handle up to about 250 pieces of equipment or vehicles daily, is the only area on post that can be used to wash military tracked vehicles, he said.

“The facility uses a lot of pressure so it’s better suited for bigger vehicles.” Finch said. “We also can handle any leased General Services Administration vehicle.”

Blixt said the facility also helps protect and maintain the installation’s environment, including training areas, from the material washed off of the equipment/vehicles.

Water used to clean the vehicles is drained into a sediment basin. Any oil and fuel material is skimmed off, loaded into oil containers and disposed of as hazardous waste by a contractor in accordance with environmental laws, he said. The water then goes to an 11-million-gallon holding pond, where filtration methods remove sand and any other remaining sediment.

“This gives us good, clean water to wash the vehicles,” Blixt said. “We can reuse about 98 percent of the water, so we conserve that resource as well.”

The facility generally has its busiest use during the summer months, with engineer units and their large equipment/vehicles being a prime customer, he said.

The facility is open April 1-Oct. 31, weather permitting. The facility is closed if it’s too cold or if there is an electrical storm, for example.

During April and October, the facility is open weekdays, while it is open daily during the other months. Hours are 7 a.m.-3:15 p.m.

Appointments or reservations of the facility are highly encouraged so units don’t have to wait to clean their vehicles, Arnold said. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 608-388-4241 or 608-388-2294.

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