U.S. Army's TARDEC sends water treatment units to Mississippi for hurricane relief

With several different units sent to region, U.S. Army, Office of Naval Research and the Bureau of Reclamation have begun producing as much as 100,000 gallons of potable water per day for Gulf Coast residents on just one of the systems...


WARREN, MI., Sept. 15, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Engineers from the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), earlier this week began generating potable water using purification equipment to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

The Expeditionary Unit Water Purification (EUWP) system demonstrator, capable of generating 100,000 gallons of potable water per day, has been set up on the beach in Biloxi, Miss., to provide water for the nearby Biloxi Regional Medical Center. Since the hurricane hit, the hospital has been without potable water and relying on bottled drinking water for patients and staff.

As additional capability, two 600 gallon per hour Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units (ROWPU) and one 1500 gallon per hour Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS) have been deployed to the region. Two sites in Waveland, Miss., are being set up to support local residents. The systems are being operated by engineers from TARDEC and Reclamation with support from the 38th Infantry Division's 38th Main Support Battalion.

On Sept. 4, FEMA requested support from the Office of Naval Research for the EUWP, which is equipment created in coordination with TARDEC. The EUWP, a demonstration platform designed to evaluate new water purification technologies, is capable of delivering potable water in humanitarian relief missions around the world as well as in forward locations on the battlefield. It is C-130 transportable and compatible with the Army Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck-Load Handling System (HEMTT-LHS) transport vehicle. Development of this technology is a collaborative effort with input from other partners including: the Environmental Protection Agency, Reclamation and NASA as well as academia.

"We are pleased this emerging technology will be put to use to help the local residents who have suffered from the effects of the most devastating hurricane in this country's history," said Dr. Richard E. McClelland, Director, TARDEC. "Years of research, design and engineering have gone into the development of this technology so that it can be helpful in such a critical situation today."

The EUWP is the world's largest transportable desalination system. The relief mission in Mississippi is the second deployment of the EUWP in a real- world disaster relief scenario. Previously, a unit was put in place at Port Clarence, Alaska, Coast Guard station, where it produced approximately 250,000 gallons of purified water in 3 days, after a storm surge flooded the areas fresh water ponds.

TARDEC (www.tacom.army.mil/tardec/) is based at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich., in the heart of the world's automotive capital. Part of the Army Materiel Command's Research, Development and Engineering Command, TARDEC is the nation's laboratory for advanced military automotive technology. TARDEC's mission is to research, develop, engineer, leverage and integrate advanced technology into ground systems and support equipment. TARDEC's 1,100 associates develop and maintain vehicles for all US Armed Forces, numerous federal agencies and over 60 foreign countries. TARDEC continually pushes the state-of-the-art in technology areas of survivability, mobility, intelligent systems and maneuver support and sustainment, making sure that they field robust equipment that meets the performance needs of the Soldier.

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