Thursday, October 06, 2005

Cleaning the waters
AFGE members deploy cutting-edge equipment

photo courtesy TARDEC

TARDEC team member Mark Silbernagel installs the intake on a state-of-the-art water purification system.

The great irony of great floods, such as those produced by Hurriances Katrina and Rita, is that communities under water find themselves with no drinkable--also known as potable--water. (In the words of the Ancient Mariner, "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.")

Here AFGE National Representative Joe Dolan (7th District) reports on the deployment of AFGE members from an Army local based in Detroit to the Gulf Coast to install cutting-edge water purification equipment designed by their agency, the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC). Photographs are courtesy of TARDEC. The majority were shot by TARDEC employees
Mark Miller and Drew Downing.

Several engineers from the U.S. Army’s Tank-Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC), represented by AFGE Local 1658, are assisting FEMA in the Hurricane Katrina Relief effort. Just days after the hurricane hit, they deployed to the Gulf region, providing clean drinking water using newly developed water purification equipment. TARDEC is the nation’s laboratory for advanced military automotive technology, including petroleum and water systems. TARDEC has developed state-of-the-art water purification systems that clean and desalinate salt water, and purify contaminated water.

photo courtesy TARDEC
A 100,000-gallon-per-day Expedi- tionary Unit, Water Puri- fication (EUWP) System is installed on the deck of the dam- aged Hard Rock Casino, providing potable water to Mississippi's Biloxi Regional Medical Center.

AFGE Local 1658 Members Don Roberts and Jeremy Walker and their co-workers Bob Shalewitz, Drew Downing, Kevin Oehus, Mark Miller, Scott Nielsen, and Mark Silbernagel, have set up and are operating and maintaining the following systems:

• A 100,000-gallon-per-day Expeditionary Unit, Water Purification (EUWP) System on the deck of the damaged Hard Rock Casino, providing potable water to the Biloxi Regional Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi.

• Another 100,000 gallon-per-day EUWP System in Pascagoula, Mississippi, providing potable water to one of the cruise ships being used in the relief effort.

• A 1,500-gallon-per-hour Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS) at Buccaneer State Park near Waveland, Mississippi, providing water for a 200-unit RV park occupied by employees of the city of Waveland, Miss.

• Two 600-gallon-per-hour reverse osmosis water purification Units (ROWPU) in Waveland, Mississippi; one for providing water to a U.S. Air Force shower facility for relief workers and evacuees, and the other providing potable water to charitable relief organizations.
The TARDEC Associates are working alongside the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation engineers, with support from the Army’s 38th Infantry Division. "We are pleased that this emerging technology will be put to use helping the local residents who have suffered from the effects of the most devastating hurricane in this county’s history, said TARDEC Director Dr. Richard McClelland, a member of AFGE Local 1658. "Years of research, design and engineering have gone into the development of this technology so that it can be helpful in such a critical [time as] today."

--Joe Dolan


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