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Quartermaster Soldiers provide potable water at Poliwoda

Jan 11, 2010

By 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION POLIWODA, Iraq -- A single team of Soldiers provide all the potable water used for the shower and latrine trailers, the dining facility and all other running-water facilities at Contingency Operating Location Poliwoda, Iraq.

The 102nd Quartermaster Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) runs water and purification operations to supply the daily water needs for roughly 500 service members and civilian contractors at COL Poliwoda, said Pfc. Gregory Shearer, a reverse osmosis water purification unit operator with the 102nd QM Co. It is a vital job, he said.

"Everybody needs clean water to use every day," said Shearer.

Raw water taken from a well at Poliwoda is pumped into a 50,000 gallon storage bladder before it is processed by the ROWPU, said Shearer, a Casper, Wyo., native. A filled water bladder can support the COL's average water consumption for roughly three days, he said.

Every day KBR Inc. takes more than 12,000 gallons of water to fill tanks throughout COL Poliwoda, said Shearer.

The 102nd QM Co., originally a fuel supply unit, crossed trained in the use of the ROWPU prior to its deployment to Iraq, said Sgt. Brian Gil, the 102nd's noncommissioned officer in charge of the water site at COL Poliwoda. Although fuel and water supply jobs are similar in theory, training in the use of the ROWPU and its maintenance were the major part of the transition, said Gil.

COL Poliwoda is one of four water processing sites operated by the 102nd QM Co., said Gil.
The site produces roughly 15,000 gallons of water a day during the winter months and roughly 20,000 gallons a day in the summer time, he said. The amount of water produced daily is determined by average consumption and base population. Peak water consumption during the year averages 140,000 gallons a week, said Gil.

"You have to adhere to your demand and make sure you have enough water on hand," he said.
Gill said they keep a minimum supply of two days worth of water, roughly 42 gallons, for each Soldier stationed in that area of responsibility. With the well at Poliwoda, the water operations have an abundant source of raw water to draw from, he said.

The raw water is pumped from the well into the first water bladder, where it is fed into the ROWPU, he said. The ROWPU filters sediments and particles unsafe for consumption from the water, said Gil.

The Poliwoda water site draws in 100 gallons per minute and processes 70 gallons per minute during its purification cycle through the ROWPU, he said.

Gil said during the overall process, roughly 30 percent of the initial raw water is released as waste water that contains the solids, particles and sediments that were filtered out.

After the water has been filtered, chlorine is injected to purify it from any other contaminants and bacteria, Gil said.

The final product is potable water, said Shearer. The water is safe for drinking but, without any way to bottle it, it is used to fill water tanks for all running water facilities. The water is then used by the dining facility for cooking and to fill the water tanks at the latrines and showers, he said.

The drinking water at Poliwoda is convoyed in from the Oasis International Waters purification facility, located at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Gil said the team at the water site appreciates its role, and takes pride in supporting the Warfighters at COL Poliwoda.

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