Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Jalalabad's "Water Dogs"

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Jalalabad's "Water Dogs"

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A FOUR-man team of water-purification specialists from the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion's Company A produces more than 40,000 gallons of water daily for servicemembers, contractors and local national employees at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan.

Known as "water dogs," the Soldiers' main mission is to produce 32,500 gallons of nonpotable water for sinks, showers, toilets, urinals and washing machines, to support personal hygiene and sanitation. Additionally, the team provides water for construction and aircraft maintenance, unit officials said.

"We provide Soldiers with the water they need to enjoy many of the creature comforts they have back in the rear," said 1st Lt. Nathan C. Miatech, a Co. A platoon leader.

"A lot of Soldiers who are forward deployed appreciate what my water dogs do, because they don't have a lot of nonpotable water," Miatech said. "They have to grab a couple of water bottles and do field hygiene, scrubbing down their essential areas, and that's about all they can do."

The primary water sources on the forward-operating base are two locally constructed wells approximately 140 feet deep. Two submersible pumps bring raw water up to the surface at a rate of 114 gallons per minute, and pump it into 3,000-gallon storage bags called "onion skins."

A 42,000-gallon brick-and-mortar storage container is available for nonpotable water.

The raw water coming from the well can "make you very sick," said Pfc. Christopher M. Bullard. "I think we're doing a great job purifying the water and keeping everybody safe."

From the onion skins, the raw water is turned into clean, potable water with the help of one of two new, $1. …

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