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Cavalry Engineers Oversee Treatment Plant Restorations

Baghdad, Iraq
- Engineers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have made it their priority to rebuild and repair Baghdad's infrastructure.

The battalion is currently helping to manage phase two of a project at the Rashid water treatment plant in the Zafaraniya district, southeast of the capital.

"During the first phase we repaired some pumps and added a backwash pump that helps clean the sand filters," said Lt. Col. Brian Dosa, commander of the 8th Engineer Battalion. "That project cost in the area of $150,000."

The second phase, worth nearly a half million dollars, he said, is a major renovation on the plant's filter systems and the initiation of new water treatment processes; primarily chlorinating the water as soon as it is pumped in from the Tigris River.

"There is a lot of algae and muck in the tank right now," Dosa said. "We're going to add this pre-chlorination to the process so it will prevent the growth of anything in the water."

Water treatment is broken down into three basic processes: coagulation and settling, filtration and disinfection. Dosa, a resident of Newark, Del., explained that raw, untreated water is pumped in from the river and is mixed with chemicals known as coagulants. This treatment causes sticky globs called floc to form. The floc then attaches to mud and any other impurities in the water. The water is then pumped into a clarifying tank where the floc sinks to the bottom.

"The radial arms in the tank help move the particles to where they are supposed to be taken out," Dosa said. "The water then is pumped through sand filters."

These sand filters strain the water and remove any of the remaining particles and floc. Below the filters is a grid of nozzles that help the water flow into a holding tank under the treatment plant. It's here where the water has its final chlorine treatment and is sent out for drinking.

"This plant provides drinking water for nearly 300,000 people," Dosa said. "With these new processes the water will be even cleaner for the people to drink."

Currently, half of the water treatment plant is shut down while these repairs and upgrades are being made, Dosa said. "We can do that because it's the winter and the demand for water is much lower."

"We'll have the repairs done before the spring and summer," he added, "before the temperature gets hot and the demand for water gets higher."

The restoration of this treatment plant is one of the many projects the 8th Engineers has going on in Zafaraniya to improve the basic services for the people that live there.

In addition to improving services, this work holds an extra bonus for residents in the area - employment. Although the 8th Engineers oversee these restoration projects, Iraqi citizens living in the local neighborhoods do the work.

Release #050109z

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