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Marine Corps to upgrade water purifiers for field operations

By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 30, 2017

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a portable water purifier that will make it easier for troops to hydrate safely.

The service will invest in the Individual Water Purification System Block II — successor to a system introduced in 2004 — that’s been used during combat and in disaster-relief operations, a recent Marine Corps statement said.

The current system filters out bacteria but requires purification tablets to remove viruses. The IWPS II — expected to be fielded sometime between October and fall 2018 — uses an internal cartridge to remove viruses.

“The small filter connects directly with the existing Marine Corps Hydration System/Pouch or can be used like a straw directly from the source water,” Capt. Jeremy Walker, project officer for water systems, said in the statement. “The system has a means to backflush and clean the filter membrane, extending the service life. The system does not require power, just suction.”

The new water-purification systems could be especially useful for troops assigned to remote locations, Walker said.

In 2011, at the peak deployment of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Marines averaged 15 liters of bottled water per day for tasks such as cooking, cleaning or hydration, a Marine Corps statement said. A team tasked with calculating the cost of delivering essential supplies to Afghanistan found that hauling water took up 51 percent of the logistical burden, costing the military $4.78 per gallon.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a portable water purifier that will make it easier for troops to hydrate safely on the go.
AMBER BLANCHARD/U.S. MARINE CORP

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