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'Army Water' Makes Debut in Balad, Baghdad

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BALAD, Iraq, Dec. 29, 2005 – You can call it "Army water" or "No-name water," but whatever you call it, servicemembers here will stay hydrated while keeping soldiers and civilian truckers safer.

Bottled water is a mainstay of life in this theater, and the 3rd Corps Support Command has opened a water purification and bottling plant at the massive logistical area here.

The corps has long wanted to open bottling plants in Iraq, officials said. Currently, bottled water - the preferred drink in Iraq - comes in via truck from Kuwait, Jordan or Turkey. Water is bulky and takes a lot of logistical space. Drivers run the risk of hitting improvised explosive devices, car bombs or small arms fire. Bottling the water in Iraq takes that many military and civilian truckers off the road, officials explained.

The water tastes fine and is pure. "The water comes from the Euphrates (River) to a canal to our intake pipes," said Army Lt. Col. James G. Hay, the chief of contracting oversight for the 3rd Corps Support Command.

The plant has a capacity of 220,000 liters of pure drinking water each day. The plant uses a reverse osmosis processing unit and a "hyperpurifier" before bottling the water in one-liter containers.

There are no labels on the containers, but each bottle is etched with the date and time the water was bottled, Hay said. Army medical officials constantly monitor water purity. The plant will supply the bottled water needs of Camp Victory, Taji and Balad.

Officials plan another, even larger plant, in Camp Victory and four others around Iraq, Hay said.

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