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Camp Fuji Logo, created in August 2023
Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji
Gotemba, Japan
Photo Information

Transformers containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs, depart Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, February 20, 2024. (Courtesy Photo by Chuck Hill)

Photo by Courtesy Photo by Chuck Hill

CATC Camp Fuji is First Marine Corps PCB-Free Installation

20 Mar 2024 | CATC Camp Fuji Public Affairs Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji

On February 20, 2024, the remaining transformers containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs were removed from Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, the making it the first U.S. Marine Corps installation to be free of the chemical compound.

Before PCBs were banned in the 1970s through the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act, they were often used in transformers, voltage regulators, cable insulation, adhesives, and flooring.

Japan also banned PCBs in the 70s. They are not allowed to be imported or manufactured in Japan any longer.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has been working to eliminate or reduce PCBs from military installations.

“Over the last five years we’ve been working with the Japanese Minister of Defense and the Japanese Government to remove the PCBs from service,” said Chuck Hill, the environmental manager aboard CATC Camp Fuji.  “And they finally did it.”

After the transformers were removed from service, they were stored on CATC Camp Fuji, in a hazardous storage facility.

Hill learned that the only Japanese incinerator designed to destroy items containing PCBs was scheduled to become inoperable this year, so he continued to request help from the Japanese government and Gotemba city officials to remove the remaining PCBs from CATC Camp Fuji.

Hill’s persistence paid off.

“We’re very proud of our environmental stewardship and our ability to adhere to the Japanese Environmental Governing Standards and DoD regulations,” said Commanding Officer of Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Col. Neil J. Owens. “Our environmental staff did a lot of work to set this up and we’re very appreciative of the work they’ve done and thankful for the assistance we received from the Japanese government to make this happen.

Shortly after the PCBs left the camp, Hill realized that eliminating the PCBs was a historical milestone.

Hill said that as he looked for a template of what a PCB-free letter should look like, environmental managers at other installations, Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC), and Marine Corps Installations Command kept telling Hill that no one has ever submitted a PCB-free letter before.

“As far as I know, Marine Corps wide, there hasn’t been an installation that has submitted a PCB-free letter,” Hill said.

On March 8, 2024, Owens signed a letter declaring that CATC Camp Fuji is PCB-free. The letter is being routed to MCIPAC.

“I think it’s a big thing,” said Hill.  “I think it’s a good achievement.”

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Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji