Sustainers keep Normandy water running
April 21, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE NORMANDY, Iraq - Many Soldiers take clean uniforms, showers or hand washing stations in a dining facility for granted. All these privileges transpire from one source - clean water.
Two Soldiers from the 20th Quartermaster Company, an active-duty component from Ft. Campbell, Ky., purify approximately a half million gallons of water each week. The water is then used by more than 1,200 Soldiers and contractors here.
"We take a lot of pride in our water," said Sgt. Henry A. Sandoval, a native of Visalia, Calif., and water purification noncommissioned officer in charge. Everyone on this FOB uses this water so we want it to be the best by making sure it's safe and always meets the standard, he said.
The water is initially drawn from a 180-meter- deep ground well and placed in large water storage bags before its transferred into a reverse osmosis water purification unit to remove any harmful chemicals or substances. After purification, the water is checked for proper chemical and chlorine levels.
"One of the most important steps is checking the chlorine levels because you need enough chlorine to protect the water from bacteria, but there shouldn't be too much in it either," said Spc. Gerald McVicker, native of Fairmont, Va., and water purification specialist. "There has to be the perfect balance and that's what we make sure we get."
"Our water is consistently at pH level of 6.8," McVicker said. The pH levels for pure water should be between five and seven.
Sandoval adds, "It's good enough to drink. I actually prefer drinking this water than the bottled water I drink back home."
Once tested and treated, the water is ready to be pumped into large water trucks and delivered around the forward operating base here and neighboring Iraqi Army Camp Falock. The water is used by the dining facilities, laundry facilities, restrooms and wherever potable water is needed.
"I'm a hard worker and am proud of what I do here," Sandoval said. "Everyday I'm doing something to help my fellow Soldiers, and that's what makes this job rewarding."