Navy Issues First Overseas Water System Certificates to Operate

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS141204-03
Release Date: 12/4/2014 10:40:00 AM

By Lt. j.g. Alexander Perrien, Commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA), issued Certificates to Operate (CTO) to Naval Station Rota, Spain, Naval Support Activity Bahrain, and Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, after completing a water quality oversight review process, Nov. 26.

The certificates and the certification they represent establishes that the installations water quality plans are in line with an April, 2009 order, from former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, directing that protocols and procedures be implemented, 'to ensure our overseas installations have drinking water that meets or exceeds the United States water quality standards.'

All overseas installations are programmed to go through this certification process.

'The importance of the certification is that we have gone through all of the formal reviews and received a recommendation, from our equivalent of the EPA [US Environmental Protection Agency], that the installations have plans and procedures in place to produce water of a quality equal to that in the U.S.,' said Jackie Oravitz, Drinking Water Operations program manager NAVFAC EURAFSWA. 'In the U.S., every water system has to have a state permit to operate. The CTOs confirm a rigorous standard for water production has been met and give our overseas installations permission to operate.'

The certification process was established along with a regulatory oversight system for installation water quality, giving order and authority to the future of the program.

'An Overseas Water Quality Oversight Council was established by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Commander Naval Installations Command (CNIC), and the Bureau of Medicine as the three major partners,' said Travis Hylton, Drinking Water Compliance program manager for NAVFAC EURAFSWA. 'The Council established three CNIC guiding instructions; the first addressed the water quality standards. The second instituted the certificate to operate program and an operator certification program, and the third formalized the regulatory hierarchy and their relations, actions, and responsibilities.'

Certification also represents a clear path forward for overseas installations, ensuring that their water systems meet or exceed water standards in the U.S. while standardizing the goals and milestones necessary to maintain that objective.

'To me, the Certificate to Operate demonstrates our professional attention to detail so that we produce excellent water every day,' said Cmdr. Deanna Carpenter, the Naval Air Station Sigonella Public Works officer. 'The process to become certified has really helped focus our efforts. We can confidently move forward with the knowledge that our processes and training meet the exceptional standards set to ensure the water we produce is of equal quality to that back home.'

The importance of ensuring overseas installations reach the same water quality standards as those in the U.S. is an ongoing mission Region EURAFSWA is committed to every day.

'Every base commander is responsible first and foremost for the safety and security of the base population,' said Capt. Chris Dennis, Naval Air Station Sigonella commanding officer. 'Water is foundational, and its safety is non-negotiable. Naturally, every member of the NAS Sigonella community must have safe drinking water. The day I arrived, I told our water team there is simply one standard - we make safe drinking water every day, period. I am proud of our NAS Sigonella water team for living up to that standard.'

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