Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU)
The 150,000-GPD ROWPU is intended for use by corps and EAC water purification units to support operations requiring GS water supply operations. The unit will be provided to operating units as required. Production capability is based upon a 20-hour-per-day operation. The unit is mobile when disassembled. Required assembly time will be less than three days. The unit is designed to operate on seawater, and is not specially designed to reduce the presence of chemical and biological agents and radioactive by-products; however, 90 to 95 percent reduction in NBC agent concentration is inherent in its operation. The process, however, does not ensure potable water in an active NBC environment. The ROWPU consists of a series of diesel engine-driven pumps, filters, and a RO block assembly capable of converting 150,000 GPD of brackish water or seawater to drinking water.
There are typically 6 - 8 units running side-by-side at a bare base site, which means about 115,000 - 153,000 gallons of good, pure water can be furnished each day to troops in the field. Once filtered, the clean water is stored in tanks and bladders ranging from a few hundred gallons to 50,000 gallons. One machine can produce up to 960 gallons per hour. One unit is estimated to be good for 600 people in the field. Each one runs up to 20 hours a day, and is down four hours a day for maintenance." Those numbers translate into one ROWPU being capable of producing approximately 19,200 gallons of demineralized water per day.
One of the most important aspects of keeping the machines working reliably is operator vigilance. For example, sometimes the ROWPUs have to be shut down during their 20-hour operating cycle to have their filters cleaned or changed in order to keep the units operating efficiently. Cartridge filter gauges must be closely monitored hourly for any signs of trouble. In other words, repair work and upkeep doesn't always wait for the four-hour maintenance cycle. Despite the need for normal operator maintenance, the ROWPU is a very dependable and reliable unit.
One factor, though, that could definitely keep the ROWPU from supplying its life-sustaining water is the actual location of the unit in relation to the source of water. It must be placed as close as possible to the water, no further than 75 feet away. Due to its weight, it must be on solid ground. If the ROWPU is more than 10 feet above the water level, a second pump is required to move the water from the source to the ROWPU. At least 27 gallons of raw water per minute must enter the system to keep the unit's pumps running properly.
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