News: Remote Iraqi residents get clean water
Story by Pvt. Jared N. Gehmann
BAGHDAD - U.S. Paratroopers put their time and energy into learning how to set up and operate a solar-powered water filtration system at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, Sept 5.
In an effort to provide a better quality of life for the citizens of Iraq's Ma'dain region, Paratroopers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division- Baghdad implemented a self-powered, energy efficient water filtration system to provide the area's residents clean, adequate drinking water. However, for this system to be effective, regional leaders need to be shown how it works.
That is where Phoenix native, Spc. Rachael Potts, a water treatment specialist assigned to Company A, 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, came in and put her knowledge to work to show some of the region's engineers how to put the system to use.
"I got involved with this filtration system a few days ago while working on a reverse osmosis system," said Potts. "But once I heard about this system, I wanted to see what it could do in order to help our Iraqi partners," said Potts.
The solar-powered system uses a series of hoses and filters to purify brackish or dirty water in areas where clean water is limited. The Ma'dain region, located on the outskirts of eastern Baghdad, is a vast, mostly desolate area were most water sources consist of dirty, mineral-filled wells.
The system can treat about 6,000 gallons of water a day. Despite its size, the system is also transportable in order to provide clean drinking water to even the most remote villages in the region.
"So far we have 25 of these systems to place all over the Ma'dain region in areas such as the towns of Narwan and Salman Pak," she said.
During a demonstration of the solar-powered filtration systems' capabilities to local Iraqi engineers, Potts partnered with Abbas Hassan, the chief engineer of al-Nahywan Water Treatment facility, to demonstrate to Hassan's fellow engineers how the system functions.
"The water filtration system is impressive because it solves both of the main problems we have right now, which is having access to clean water while also having a reliable power source to make the machine work and clean the water," said Hassan.
Along with Potts, several combat medics assigned to the battalion's Company C, came out for the demonstration in order to receive hands-on experience with the system and witness the results of the water-cleaning process. To ensure the water was to the drinkable standard, the medics performed a series of quality assurance tests.
"It was amazing how much cleaner this water was after it ran through the machine," said Spc. Wayne Terry, of Cartersville, Ga. "Clean water is a necessity for good health; bad water can be a leading cause of many health problems."
U.S. and Iraqi leaders discussed their hopes of putting this system to use in the much-needed areas across in region in the near future. The system is also seen as a step in the right direction for the nation.
"We appreciate all the help the U.S. Army has given us in making our country a better place," said Hassan. "As long as we keep pushing technology such as this solar- powered filtration system, I believe we will continue to accomplish our goals in rebuilding Iraq."