KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (May 18, 2012) -- Soldiers from the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) toured the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency water bottling facility at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan on May 15.

The Sustainers visited the water bottling facility to get an assessment on the plant's production and distribution.

The water bottling facility, which started production in March 2012, will soon become the main supplier of bottled water soon at KAF.

"All of the technology here is very, very modern," said Larry Downes, the technical officer for the water bottling facility. "There's a microbiological lab that's able to conduct water testing on-site and the quality control is excellent."

Downes explained to the Soldiers that the facility is capable of producing 16,000 bottles when operating at 100% capability. But as they continue to train and work towards becoming the main bottled water supplier to KAF, the facility is currently running at 90 % capability, producing 14,400 bottles per hour.

According to Downes, the facility's capability can be expanded and production increased as it was built with the intent for future expansion.

To produce bottled water, the plant utilizes 2 wells which alternated between daily usage. Because the water is brought up from freshly dug wells, purification is minimal.

One of the more interesting exhibits during the tour involves the formation of the facility's water bottles.

Starting with what looks similar to a test tube, the bottles are heated, then blasted with air to form the shape we know. This design of the bottles was deliberate as developers sought to produce something easy to hold, store and dispose of. This way, Soldiers could easily hold and store them.

Those in attendance during the tour said that the facility was very advanced in its operation as they were amazed at the total bottling process.

"It was very interesting to see the water bottling process from start to finish,
said Sgt. 1st Class Mison Pak, the 3d ESC's surgeon cell noncommissioned officer in charge. "This was a very informative tour and I feel that I have a better understanding of the process as a result."