PUERTO CASTILLA NAVAL BASE, Honduras –
U.S. Naval and Honduran medical personnel have taken temporary residence at the Puerto Castilla Naval Base.
They are supported by the Honduran Navy as well as U.S. Army medics, cooks, military police, air support and the 1008th Quartermasters Company.
While the medical personnel travel to various remote Honduran villages to deliver basic medical care to the residents and veterinarian care to their animals, the quartermasters stay with the rest of the support staff at the naval base.
With over 200 gallons of water being used for laundry, 1000 gallons for showers and having to keep two water buffalos full daily, the quartermasters stay busy turning sea water into potable water for the base.
They accomplish this using a reverse osmosis purification unit (ROPU) which is capable of purifying and desalinating up to 3000 gallons of water per hour. The water is pumped from the sea into the ROPU which removes salt and impurities.
Chemicals are added to remove any bacteria found in the water. The impurities are then back-flushed back into the sea. U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jim Lavelle leads this water purification mission and explains how clean the water is that the quartermasters are providing, "A typical bottle of water that you purchase contains 400 parts per million of dissolved solids and chemicals.
The water we make only contains nine parts per million." There are four 3000 gallon storage bladders outside the ROPU, so there is always water available to the service members. When asked why so many service members at the base can still be seen drinking bottled water Lavelle laughs, "I guess it's more convenient."