Florida National Guard evaluates DWTUs for hurricane recovery efforts

The drinking water treatment units (DWTUs), known as the MSR MIOX Water Purifier, were supplied by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense) and the U.S. Military, and are being evaluated for their utility during disaster relief and hurricane recovery efforts in Florida...

PENSACOLA, FL, Oct. 8, 2004 -- In response to the wave of natural disasters that have pummeled the state, the Florida National Guard will be evaluating over a hundred handheld water purification devices. The drinking water treatment units (DWTUs), known as the MSR MIOX Water Purifier, were supplied by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense) and the U.S. Military, and are being evaluated for their utility during disaster relief and hurricane recovery efforts in Florida.

Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan have provided a strong reminder of how vulnerable water supplies are in the U.S. All along the Eastern seaboard, hundreds of thousands of people are still being told to boil their water to ensure that it is safe to drink. Power outages have exacerbated the problem making it difficult to boil water since many people have electric appliances. Demand for bottled water has sapped supply.

"Providing clean drinking water is of the utmost concern and we will be evaluating these purifiers for their utility in providing safe drinking water in an easy and cost-effective manner," said Colonel Glenn Sutphin, legislative director for the Florida National Guard's Department of Military Affairs. "We will also provide state agencies throughout Florida with these portable water purification devices to get their feedback."

The MSR MIOX Water Purifier was developed in a joint effort between Mountain Safety Research (MSR), a Seattle, Wash.-based outdoor gear manufacturer and MIOX Corp., an Albuquerque, N.M.-based pioneer in mixed-oxidant water purification technology. Funding was provided from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Testing was also conducted by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, Fla. (NSWC-PC). The NSWC-PC distributed the MSR MIOX purifiers to the Florida National Guard.

The MSR MIOX Water Purifier was developed for use by the U.S. military and is currently being used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. This device allows a soldier or a civilian to purify any fresh water that can be obtained. The MSR MIOX Purifier is a unique technology that uses electrolysis to effectively eliminate common water-borne pathogens such as E. Coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium, as well as other agents like
VX nerve gas, Soman, the blister agent Lewisite, and the biological agents causing Anthrax, Plague, and Smallpox.

Easy to use and reliable, this lightweight, handheld device is about the size of a magic marker and uses two small lithium camera batteries to convert salt into a powerful disinfectant. This process is the same process currently used by municipal water facilities. The pen has an indefinite shelf life, requires only common table salt, and will purify up to 200 liters (50 gallons) of water on a single set of batteries. Replace the batteries and the pen is ready to use again. The purifier's small size and ability to treat up to 1 gallon or water at a time makes it ideal for any situation requiring pure water.

DARPA sought assistance from the NSWC-PC to serve as the liaison between the development team and the military. NSWC-PC played a key role in providing input on Department of Defense mission requirements, participated in design trade-off analysis, and product configuration. NSWC-PC also helped refine the product instructions, packaging, and training materials.

With support from the NSWC-PC, the MSR MIOX Purifier was launched successfully into the military in 2003. The first 1,000 units were shipped to the U.S. Marine Corps. U.S Special Forces, Air Force, and Army units in Afghanistan and Iraq have also successfully used this product. Popular Science magazine named the MSR MIOX Purifier as the "Grand Award Winner for General Innovation" in their Best of What's New Awards. The purifier's inactivation performance also exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's "Guide Standard and Protocol for Microbiological Purifiers" in independent laboratory studies in late 2002.

About Mountain Safety Research
MSR (www.msrgear.com), a division of Seattle, Wash.-based Cascade Designs Inc., has been providing essential gear for challenging environments for over 30 years. Our commitment to quality manufacturing and innovation ensures our customers are outfitted with the finest gear available for outdoor, military and homeland security use. MSR product lines include stoves, water filters and purifiers, tents, snowshoes, cookware, climbing gear, fuel and related accessories.

* Dwell time is based on military requirements, which do not include inactivating Cryptosporidium. Unlike iodine, the MSR® MIOX® Purifier is effective against Cryptosporidium, but may require a wait time of several hours.

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