U. S. Army Tests Water Monitoring Instruments for Deployed Troops

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Courtesy of Technical Associates

The Army conducted a competition, TRE 10-1JCBRAWM, from July 12to July 24, 2010 at the White Sands Missile Testing Grounds, New Mexico, for the best detector for radiation in water. The participants were Technical Associates with their SSS-22P liquid scintillation monitor; Canberra with their iSolo silicon sample counter; and Hidex from Finland with a liquid scintillation counter. The competition spanned a 30 day period and evaluated endurance for efficiency, dependability, and suitability for evaluating drinking water for our troops.

Oftentimes high technology comes out of military applications and becomes available to the public sector. Water monitoring for radionuclides and other contaminants is one of those technologies.

The regulations and the testing methods for drinking water within the armed forces have been established by the Joint Chiefs in 1986 and detailed in the Department of Army, Technical Bulletin (Medical) 577, “Sanitary Control and Surveillance of Field Water Supplies,” March 1986.

2-2. Background

a. Disease and non battle injury (DNBI). Military history has demonstrated that more soldiers become injured or ill from DNBI than from combat losses, and that these non battle losses play a significant role in the outcome of military operations. PVNTMED practices, when supported by command emphasis, are the most effective and least expensive means of reducing DNBI and maximizing the fighting strength.

b. Water support mission and DNBI. The water support mission is a key component of sustaining forces on the battlefield. The lack of adequate quantities of potable water can produce significant numbers of casualties far more quickly than the lack of food, rest, combat stress, or operational stress. Providing adequate quantities of potable water to deployed forces is critical to maintaining the health and readiness of those forces.

As above stated, the critical need for safe drinking water for our troops deployed in foreign and often hostile lands was considered an even greater risk as any disease or other non battle injury (DNBI). Since 1986the risk of contaminated drinking water has escalated with new technologies and subsequent threats both on the battlefield and off.

Water monitoring technology has advanced tremendously since that time. New lower standard requirements were recently released in TBMED 577/ NAVMED P-5010-10/AFMAN 48-138_IP May 2010 and reflect increased awareness and concern about the risks to drinking water and our troops.

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