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ACT conducts in-the-field water delivery demonstration

Published on 7 July 2010
Distribution of bottled water by ACT
65 percent of the military road in Iraq
is engaged in transporting bottled
water for group of people

The purpose of the experiment, conducted with in cooperation with Radian, Inc. and Kärcher was to test equipment capable of obtaining water from various sources, purifying it, and bottling it for distribution.

Commercial water bottling plants use state-of-the-art equipment to filter and bottle water to ship around the globe. Huge bottling facilities, some as large as five acres, manufacture, sterilize, fill, seal and label plastic water bottles in a sterile environment.

During a water generation experiment held October 12 in the Allied Command Transformation headquarters' parade ground in Norfolk, Va., ACT's Integrated Logistics Integrated Capabilities Team successfully demonstrated the capability of bottling 700 liters per hour with a “state-of-the-transformational” bottling plant that can be loaded onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft and flown anywhere in the world.

According to the U.S. Army, up to 65 percent of the military road traffic in Iraq is transporting bottled water to the troops and support personnel there.

NATO's transformational command recognized the need for a portable water generation and purification equipment capability to reduce the threat of attacks on convoys and limit the cost in manpower, vehicles and fuel used for water transport.

The purpose of the experiment, conducted with in cooperation with Radian, Inc. and Kärcher was to test equipment capable of obtaining water from various sources, purifying it, and bottling it for distribution. Additionally this equipment must be transportable in a C-130 Hercules logistics aircraft.

“If we're able to reduce the logistical footprint for our expeditionary forces, we've taken the first step to reducing the transportation needs of the NATO Re
sponse Force,” said Greek Forces Maj. Gen. Grigorios Triantafyllidis, assistant chief of staff for resources and logistics and chairman of IL ICT.

ACT's Integrated Logistics Integrated Capabilities Team successfully demostrated the bottling of 700 liters per hour

The first step in supplying expeditionary forces with drinkable water is generation. Water can be obtained from diesel exhaust or the surrounding air. While the equipment shown at the experiment is not capable of supplying a sizable force, there has been testing on larger-scale equipment. The smaller-scale water generation equipment was successfully tested during the demonstration.

The second step is purification. The most cost-effective method for purifying water is reverse osmosis water purification. Through this process, unfiltered water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane, leaving behind contaminants and providing pure water. One German company, Kärcher, demonstrated equipment capable of producing 1,600 liters per hour of potable water.

Distribution is the final step in the process. A mobile bottling plant capable of producing 700 bottles per hour was tested during the demonstration. Each bottle holds one liter of water, and is sealed, sterilized and labeled.

In order to ensure that the water produced, filtered and distributed during the demonstration met safety standards, ACT hired a Virginia state-approved analytical testing lab, Jennings Laboratories, Inc. to test for contamination. They tested 10 random samples from throughout the process for total coliform, a group of closely related bacteria which indicate the possibility of germ contamination.

Water generation and distribution is only one part of the transformation of NATO's forces being led by ACT

“If there are any total coliforms in any samples, it shows the potential for germ contamination in the water. That means the water is not safe to drink,” said Linda Senior, the Jennings representative. “All 10 tests were negative for total coliforms. The water is bacteriologically safe for human consumption.”

In addition to ACT personnel, personnel from other NATO commands, Hampton Roads area U.S. Naval Medical personnel and U.S. Army soldiers from Ft. Lee's Quartermaster Center and School Petroleum and Water Department came to view the demonstration. They all gave their inputs on their requirements and their impressions of the equipment tested here by filling in surveys during the experiment.

Water generation and distribution is only one part of the transformation of NATO's forces being led by ACT. Triantafyllidis said it is a big step toward the Alliance's goal of creating an expeditionary force.

“Joint deployment and sustainability is our goal,” he added. “We must be able to conduct operations in any environment. Not only that, but we must sustain them. The Integrated Logistics ICT is setting the standard for experimentation at ACT.”


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