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    DCG-S visits essential services project sites

    DCG-S Visits Essential Services Project Sites

    Photo By Sgt. Kristin Kemplin | ADAMIYAH, Iraq – Brig. Gen. David Halverson, deputy commanding general – support...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Kristin Kemplin 

    363rd Public Affairs Detachment

    by Sgt. Kristin Kemplin
    363rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Only months away from completion, the pump tanks at "RT3" are still empty as Iraqi workers put the finishing touches on the high-tech water treatment facility that will distribute clean, fresh water to millions of Baghdad area residents at the astonishing pace of 30 million gallons per day.

    The water treatment facility in a Baghdad neighborhood outside Sadr City is one of two on-going projects visited by Brig. Gen. David Halverson, deputy commanding general – support for Multi-National Division – Baghdad, to gauge the status of essential services in the impoverished neighborhoods Sunday.

    The state-of-the-art facility is comparable to water treatment plants in the United States, said Halverson, who added that clean water pumped from the facility should have a huge positive impact on the health of residents of the area.

    The project, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has had its ups and downs. The plant was originally scheduled to open in October but the original contractor was unable to complete the work. USACE and a new contractor are now at the helm and the project is on track, scheduled to open only two months past the original deadline, said Lt. Col. Christopher Hall, commander, Brigade Troops Battalion, 506th Regimental Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

    When the facility opens in December, it is expected to provide sanitary drinking water for 3.2 million people in Baghdad, Hall said.

    The project is one of many essential services projects meant to bring "normalcy to some of the people that were affected (negatively) under the Saddam regime," explained Halverson.

    Halverson then visited an electrical switching station in nearby Adamiyah, also a neighborhood suburb of Baghdad. The station pushes power received from a larger sub-station down to local power generators in the area.

    "We're trying to get the network back online so that they can have sustained power," said Hall. The area has been without power, or on greatly reduced power, for approximately three months as MND–B Soldiers, working with USACE, have been striving to restore service to residents.

    Part of the mission to restore power involves tracing and identifying the problems in the overall network, said Hall.

    "This station here provides power to those local networks and if there is a break in any point in that chain of circuits, then power doesn't get to the homes," he explained.

    To alleviate the stress on families, many of whom are not receiving more than two to four hours of power per day, if any at all, MND-B Soldiers brought generators into the neighborhoods that lack stable power.

    Each generator provides power for up to 40 families, noted Hall.

    "If the city provides (Iraqis) three to four hours of power, then (the residents) can turn the local generators on for another four hours so they can have eight hours of power," explained Halverson.

    For now, the goal is to provide most residents with eight hours of power a day, but Halverson predicted that within eight months most of Baghdad could have consistent electrical power.

    Halverson, who spent the day talking with Iraqi workers and families, said as these two key essential services projects continue to progress, it is evident that Iraqis are thankful.

    The water treatment plant, an Iraqi-built facility, has employed between 250 and 300 Iraqi workers during the construction phase, said Hall. Both the water treatment facility and the electric power station will be Iraqi-run once they enter the operating phase.

    Halverson said the emphasis on creating Iraqi-built and Iraqi-run facilities is part of MND-B's mission "to get skilled labor back into the Iraqi work force."

    In the coming months, it is estimated clean water will flow into at least one-half the neighborhoods in Baghdad and electricity will be restored to homes that have gone without power, or with greatly reduced power, for most of the summer.

    Although the 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers and the majority of the Soldiers in MND-B will have redeployed by the time many of these improvements occur, the memory of their efforts will remain in the hearts of Iraqis who are already grateful for the promise of working lights and clean running water.



    Date Taken: 10.04.2006
    Date Posted: 10.04.2006 12:59
    Story ID: 7919
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ 

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