Saturday, March 29, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 29 Mar 2008

From MNF-I, Water Purification Station Opens, Provides Fresh Water for Thousands.

FOB KALSU — A new well-water purification station opened in Al Buaytha March 25, north of Combat Outpost Murray. Since arriving in Arab Jabour 10 months ago, Coalition forces have assessed challenges facing the area. A serious concern was the lack of access to clean water; completion of this station addressed that need.

The water purification station, named Esaalat Salam or ‘Pump of Peace’, is capable of providing 1000 liters of clean water per hour and can serve a 400-square-kilometer area.

The station is one of three wells with a purification system in the region which is roughly the size of Baltimore, Md., and patrolled by Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. In addition to the wells, residents have access to 13 water purification units which draw water from the Tigris River.

While 2nd BCT Soldiers worked with local contractors to get water purification stations and wells back into operation, they also delivered water to residents to combat water-borne illnesses.

Spc. Raymond James Etheridge, a water treatment specialist with Forward Support Company F, 1-30th Infantry Regiment, said in addition to his normal duties of purifying water for Soldiers at COP Murray, he and his fellow Soldiers transport drinking water to storage tanks positioned around the 1-30th Inf. Regt. area of operation.

Maj. Douglas Allan Betts, commander of Company A, 415th Civil Affairs Battalion, out of Kalamazoo, Mich., currently assigned to the 2nd BCT, said the water tanks are a temporary solution to the need for clean drinking water.

Betts, a native of Battle Creek, Mich., said there are 30 water tanks, which Soldiers fill on a weekly basis.

To establish a long-term solution to the water purification problem, Betts said he and other Soldiers in the 2nd BCT are working to establish ties with the ministry of water and the ministry of health.

“Right now what we’re working on is getting government of Iraq officials at the appropriate level involved so that when Coalition forces leave this area they are up to date on what the projects are, what’s been fixed and what they need to do to maintain them,” Betts said.