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Army using world's largest water purifier in Biloxi

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 16, 2005) – Army engineers are using new technology to generate more than 100,000 gallons of potable water per day for the hospital in Biloxi, Miss., and area residents affected by Hurricane Katrina.

An advanced Expeditionary Unit Water Purifier has been set up on the beach in Biloxi to provide water for the nearby Biloxi Regional Medical Center. After the hurricane hit, the hospital had been without water or relying on bottled drinking water for patients and staff.

The Expeditionary Unit Water Purifier is the world's largest transportable desalination system, officials said. The relief mission in Mississippi is the second deployment of the EUWP in a real-world disaster relief scenario.

Engineers from the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, known as TARDEC, began using the new water purifier earlier this week to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

The new Expeditionary Unit Water Purifier is capable of generating 100,000 gallons per day. In addition, two 600-gallon-per-hour Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units, known as ROWPU and one 1,500-gallon-per-hour Tactical Water Purification System have been deployed to the region.

Two sites in Waveland, Miss., are being set up to support local residents. The systems are being operated by engineers from TARDEC and U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation among others.

The Expeditionary Unit Water Purifier was designed to deliver potable water in humanitarian relief missions around the world as well as in forward locations on the battlefield. Development of this technology is a collaborative effort with input from other partners including: the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Navy and NASA as well as private academia.

“We are pleased this emerging technology will be put to use to help the local residents who have suffered from the effects of the most devastating hurricane in this country’s history,” said Dr. Richard E. McClelland, director of TARDEC. “Years of research, design and engineering have gone into the development of this technology so that it can be helpful in such a critical situation today.”

Previously, an EUWP unit was put in place at Port Clarence, Alaska, Coast Guard station, where it produced approximately 250,000 gallons of purified water in three days, after a storm surge flooded the area’s fresh water ponds.

(Editor's note: Information taken from a TARDEC news release.)

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