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Directorate of Public Works

Water purification system key to successful missions

Published: 02:22PM June 14th, 2018
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Directorate of Public Works

Staff Sgt. George Reyes, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 593rd, Expeditionary Sustainment Command, points at clean, drinkable water flowing from the Tactical Water Purification System and back into the stormwater pond at Earthworks, Close-in-Training Area-Landfill on JBLM May 10.

Sustainability at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is all about the triple bottom line plus mission, community, environment and economics. Clean water is key to successful military missions, needed by various environments for communities and habitat.

To facilitate the mission, ease of access for training, several close-in-training areas exist near the cantonment. Close-in-Training Area-Landfill is located at Earthworks, on the DuPont-Steilacoom Road, just outside the gates. This 200-acre closed landfill site has been utilized by units for various uses and is a popular spot for K-9 training.

Fully fenced, with few staff, it provides a range of habitat for use in land navigation training, medical evacuation training and recently added water training.

“(Close-in-Training Area-Landfill) is close by and we can do training more often,” said Staff Sgt. George Reyes, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 593rd, Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

Reyes’ unit learned about the Tactical Water Purification System at the site. Highly functional, it provides a rapidly deployable water purification system capable of producing 30,000 gallons of potable water depending on the source of the water. This system can produce potable water from a broad range of water sources, including seawater, with a reduced footprint.

“The TWPS pushes out 30,000 gallons of potable water by the end of the day — enough for a battalion,” Reyes said.

The Department of Defense was challenged to find a compact, flexible, and transportable drinking water purification system in 2003 by the Congress. It responded with a state of the art ultrafiltration membrane technology sometime in conjunction with reverse osmosis.

This system can be easily transported to remote locations and quickly set up to produce safe drinking water from almost any available raw water source, including highly turbid water, seawater and water with nuclear, biological or chemical contamination to provide potable water for missions ranging from the battlefield to humanitarian relief efforts around the world.

Secure and reliable access to energy, water and land resources are vital for DOD to perform its mission and conduct and support global operations.

“The DOD is laser focused on resilience, which is the ability to anticipate, prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to and recover rapidly from disruptions,” said Randall Robinson, acting assistant secretary of Army for Installations Energy and Environment in 2017. “The decisions we make in energy and water, both in our facilities and in the operational space, directly affect readiness.”