News: Marines establish self-sustaining water purification system
Story by Cpl. Joseph Karwick
COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANAS - Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 assembled and operated a tactical water purification system at a beach area on Tinian Nov. 6, 2013, to provide clean water for Marines participating in exercise Forager Fury II.
The TWPS arrived to Tinian aboard a cargo vessel Nov.4, 2013, and is currently staged where water purification Marines can easily attend to the mission essential asset.
The Marines are with MWSS-171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“We are setting up a tactical water purification system so we can purify any source of water,” said Lance Cpl. Dean O. Barrett a water purification technician from Sacramento, Calif., with the squadron. “(With) the salt water we are using now, we can purify 1,200 gallons per hour. If we were using fresh water out of a lake, we could do 1,500. We can always make those numbers a little higher depending on what chemicals we use.”
The process by which the water is purified is known as reverse osmosis.
“There are a series of filters that the water runs through at high pressure, those filters purify the water and that is our RO (reverse osmosis) system,” said Barrett.
Considering the TWPS is the sole source of purified water for the Marines on Tinian, FFII provides the water purification Marines a venue to hone their skills on a large scale.
“We are purifying salt water from the ocean that the Marines are going to use to drink and stay hydrated as well as take showers,” said Sgt. Canaan M. Stanley, a water purification technician with the squadron and native of Albion, Ind. “If water is needed for the exercise, it is coming from us.”
The purified water goes through a complicated system of filters before it is considered suitable for use.
“We put a hose out far enough to where it is at a depth of three feet,” said Stanley. “The water is pulled in through the pumps and into the TWPS where the water goes though the microfiltration filters, and that is where the filtration process takes place. Then the clean water is distributed into bladders and that is where it is stored until it is picked up.”
With FFII commencing soon, Marines currently on Tinian have paved the way for the main element to hit the ground running upon its arrival.