Iraqi Police Academy, Sustainers partner to purify water using reverse osmosis water purification units

Three Soldiers from the Fort Campbell, Ky., based 20th Quartermaster Company have been educating and training Iraqis from the Iraqi Police Academy on how to purify water and maintain their water systems...

By 1st Lt. Mary Lou Drilling, UPAR, 20th QM Co., 304th Sust. Bde.

CAMP ASHRAF, Iraq, Apr. 27, 2009 -- Three Soldiers from the Fort Campbell, Ky., based 20th Quartermaster Company have been educating and training Iraqis from the Iraqi Police Academy on how to purify water and maintain their water systems.

The 20th QM Co. provided the IP Academy with more than four million gallons of water, while teaching them about the flow of water, basic math skills, and operating the civilian reverse osmosis water purification units.

"The training that the men have is great and I am very happy with the way they are applying what they have learned to work anywhere in Iraq purifying water," said Iraqi Army Lt. Col. Aiad Abood Shehab, from Khalis, Iraq.

Teaching the Iraqis to use water purification equipment is important to ensuring Iraqi self-sufficiency. Initially, the training goal was to teach three selected members of the academy to learn how to operate their ROWPU. An electrician, a plumber and a generator operator were selected for the project.

Sgt. William Ramos, a native of Orlando, Fla., and the Iraqi training NCOIC and two water purification specialists, maintained a good rapport while training the Iraqi.

Ramos said the most important things the Iraqis had to learn was how to calculate the amount of chemicals within the water to ensure the water is clean.

The students were taught the difference between well-water and drinking water, and taking the proper steps to make water potable through boiling and adding chlorine. Ramos trained the Iraqi students on all the functions of the ROWPU equipment.

"I used a lot of pictures, slide show presentations and had an interpreter with me at all times," Ramos said when dealing with the language barriers. "I almost felt like the interpreter could have taught the class because she learned how to run the ROWPU too."

The Army provided the IP academy with a civilian ROWPU that purifies 7,500 gallons of water per hour.

Ramos said his main goal is to help the students become more self-sufficient, and learning to purify their own water is one more way to accomplish that.

Their high level of professionalism and determination to educate the Iraqis on water purification has empowered the Iraqis and given them more opportunities for their future, Ramos said.

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