SC National Guard purifies water for local hospital

169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs
Story by Airman 1st Class Ashleigh Pavelek

Date: 10.10.2015
Posted: 10.10.2015 18:54
News ID: 178660
South Carolina flood response

COLUMBIA, S.C. - U.S. soldiers assigned to the 741st and the 742nd Quartermaster Company of the South Carolina Army National Guard are providing purified drinking water for patients at the Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital here since Thursday.

The unit is filtering up to 15,000 gallons of water per hour from the city's fire hydrants as a result of a water boil advisory placed in many South Carolina counties after flooding rains over the weekend.

“It’s a real-life mission that is saving lives by providing water to this hospital,” said Capt. Taurus Gardin, the commanding officer of the 741st QM Company.

Doctors at the hospital are now able to proceed with over 150 scheduled surgeries at one of the largest hospitals in South Carolina now that purified water is being pumped through the main water and sewer systems.

“Before we were on site, they had to send critical surgeries out of the city,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Todd, the executive officer of the 741st QM Company. "By providing the water here, we are helping doctors save countless lives.”

Soldiers are utilizing two reverse osmosis water purification units that are filtering water drawn from the local fire hydrants.

“Once in the ROWPU, the water filters through a seven-step filtration process,” said Sgt. James Rowe, a water purification specialist assigned to the 741st QM Company. “Next, it undergoes water quality analysis tests and chemical testing before it is safe to drink.”

The clean water is then stored in two 20,000 gallon blivet water reservoirs to be dispersed for safe consumption by the hospital’s patients.

This is the first stateside mission for the unit besides Hurricane Katrina, where we provided clean water to the citizens of New Orleans for over three months, so the soldiers “are really excited to be here helping the local community,” said Todd.

The soldiers are estimated to be providing water to the hospital for the next two weeks.

“The soldiers feel really good about the community embracing what we are doing,” said Gardin. “The community has been more than generous, and we cannot thank them enough for their support.”