By Ms. Michelle Thum (Regional Health Command Europe)October 23, 2019
KARLSRUHE, Germany -- Military and civilian personnel from Public Health Command Europe met with German drinking water experts recently and visited their water technology center in Karlsruhe, Germany. During the visit, they discussed joint training opportunities between the two groups.
Public Health Command Europe and the German Association of Gas and Water (Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfachs e.V.[DVGW]) established their current professional relationship in 2015. The initial contact was made by Mrs. Bettina Eckels, one of more than 30 local nationals working at PHCE.
Eckels, an environmental engineer with the Environmental Health Engineering Section, initially started networking with Stefan Neuschwander, managing director of the DVGW Regional Office Saarland, through her participation in DVGW professional development events.
Over the past four years, PHCE and DVGW staff members have met to exchange expertise and knowledge in drinking water safety and hygiene. Each year, Neuschwander coordinates visits between PHCE and organizations within the DVGW.
"Being part of a larger professional international scientific network enables us to interact with other organizations, stay up-to-date on new developments and exchange experiences on common challenges." said Eckels.
Public Health Command Europe's Environmental Health Engineering ensures that drinking water systems on Army installations are operated and maintained in a safe and sanitary manner.
This year, PHCE staff toured the German Water Center, known as DVGW-Technologiezentrum, an institution of the DVGW, which develops scientifically founded solutions for all aspects of water supply. Their expertise is based on the results of annual research projects.
Mission briefings and open discussions allowed PHCE and DVGW drinking water professionals to talk through all aspects of water quality surveillance, management, and sustainability. After a short lunch break that allowed for additional professional exchange between the participants.
The day concluded with a visit to the Technologiezentrum testing laboratory, where drinking water plumbing components are tested. At the conclusion of the visit, Neuschwander said, "I am very pleased that we were able to show how much research and implementation go hand in hand."
PHCE staff members thanked Neuschwander for his continued support in arranging these instructive professional visits.