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Photo courtesy U.S. Army website
Potential contractors inspect one of the Fort Irwin water booster stations in February 2012. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Barstow Chamber of Commerce held an Industry Day at the Barstow Community College in efforts to attract potential local contractors to the $100 million project.

Fort Irwin to break ground on water treatment plant

Water infrastructure to provide greater sustainability


FORT IRWIN • Fort Irwin will break ground on its new state-of-the-art water treatment plant in a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Friday, according to post officials.

The facility will cost between $100 million to $120 million and provide more than 5 million gallons of water daily to the residents of the National Training Center, according to an Army news report.

“We talk about our sustainability here and that we have longevity,” said Fort Irwin spokesman Gus Bahena. “That there is an excellent quality of life for the soldiers and that we continue to conduct the mission we have been conducting since 1981. And, of course, that we’re great stewards of the environment, that all plays into this.”

Approximately 50,000 soldiers train at the NTC annually and 85 percent of the permanently assigned community lives on post, which adds up to a significant amount of water being consumed daily, according to the report. The post population is also expected to increase to 95 percent of permanently assigned soldiers living on post, but the final phase of post family housing can’t be complete until the water treatment plant is finished.

The new facility will replace the base’s current multi-treatment system that recovers only 40-60 percent of water purified for drinking, a previous Desert Dispatch report states.

Lt. Col. Joseph Seybold, the project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said in the Army report that Fort Irwin requires the new process have a minimum 99.6 percent water recovery rate necessary to conserve as much as possible of the area's limited water resources. This means the facility will be among the most water efficient in the nation, the report states.

"The new WTP will utilize a single water electrodialysis reversal technology to purify the water to achieve the post's 99.6 percent water recovery rate," said Seybold.

Construction on the project is expected to take three years and provide about 200 jobs, including 60 to 75 percent locally, according to the previous Desert Dispatch report.

Calls to Fort Irwin for an update on the project were not immediately returned.

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