Reverse Osmosis at Work in Iraq
With temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit and higher becoming the norm in Iraq, the need for water becomes more apparent daily.
For Iraqi soldiers at Camp Blue Diamond in the city of Ramadi, that necessity is being met by three U.S. Marines and one reverse osmosis water purification system.
Thanks to the system, called ROWPU for short, the Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 5 have been pumping out the critical resource here since April, producing between 15,000 and 18,000 gallons of potable water per day.
With the ROWPU system, the Marines are supplying Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) with water for drinking, showering and cooking, says Sgt. Mark Berry, in charge of the system here.
Without the water, operational activity by the Iraqi Security Forces here would be greatly hindered, says 1st Lt. Blaise McFadden, a Marine logistics liaison officer for the military transition team.
Water is purified with through the reverse osmosis process, and the Marines add chlorine as the final disinfecting step. Berry, who has worked with the system off and on for almost a decade, notes the water produced by the ROWPU, which can purify fresh and salt water, is the same quality as civilian bottled water.
If the system here wasn't operational, a daily supply of water would have to be brought via convoys from Camp Ramadi, meaning more time on the roads of one of the most dangerous cities in the world, says Maj. Wesley Frasard, a Marine logistics advisor to the 7th Iraqi Army Division.
Frasard says the future of the Iraqis' ability to produce their own water is to utilize the ROWPU system to "bridge the gap between Marines producing the water and when the Iraqi water plant comes on line."
Years ago, the plant at Blue Diamond supplied water to all the facilities and forces that were based here. Now, it is being given new life, with a goal of supplying ISF here in a few months.
The plant, having fallen into disrepair from neglect, is being repaired, rebuilt and cleaned at a cost of more than $100,000.