CE, MDG keep Malmstrom’s water clean

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, holds a vial of a water sample with a chlorine reagent Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, holds a vial of a water sample with a chlorine reagent Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Airmen from the 341st Civil Engineer Squadron environmental and 341st MDOS bioenvironmental engineering sections work together to provide monthly and quarterly water samples from multiple locations across the base and at all 15 missile alert facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, uses a colorimeter to test water chlorine levels Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, uses a colorimeter to test water chlorine levels Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The Missile Alert Facility water chlorine levels are checked by mixing a compound into the sample which turns the water a pink or purple color. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, takes a water sample Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, takes a water sample Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The water sample is mixed with a chlorine reagent that rids the water of all chlorine and allows active bacteria to begin growing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, pours ‘bacteria food’ into a water sample Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, pours ‘bacteria food’ into a water sample Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Bioenvironmental samples the missile alert facility water and tests it in-house in their building. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Brosam)

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, places a water sample into an incubator Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, places a water sample into an incubator Jan. 31, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The water sample is placed into an incubator at 35 degrees Celsius for 24 hours and afterward the sample is analyzed and recorded. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Brosam)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Water is a necessity for all life. So, how does the base ensure the water quality meets federal and state regulations for the Airmen and their families serving at Malmstrom?

Airmen from the 341st Civil Engineer Squadron environmental and 341st Medical Operations Squadron bioenvironmental engineering sections work together to provide monthly and quarterly water samples from multiple locations across the base and at all 15 missile alert facilities.

“People have to have confidence in the water they are drinking,” said Tony Lucas, 341st CES chief of environmental. “It is our job to ensure the water is healthy for Airmen and their families.”

Every two weeks, Airmen from bioenvironmental take water samples from locations around base including the child development center and youth center.

According to Senior Airman William Raetz, 341st MDOS bioenvironmental engineering technician, these samples are sent to a laboratory in Helena, Montana, where they undergo specific testing to check for disinfectant, disinfectant byproduct and pollutant levels.

“Our job is to provide samples for testing to check for things such as pH, chlorine and contaminants,” Raetz said.

Specifically, the tests show if cleaners such as chlorine and fluoride are at the appropriate levels and contaminants such as bacteria, copper or lead are below the levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to Raetz, bioenvironmental samples the MAF water and tests it in-house in their building.

The MAF water chlorine levels are checked by mixing a compound into the sample which turns the water a pink or purple color. The sample is then placed into a colorimeter that reads the chlorine level and gives bioenvironmental a number that tells them if it is too high or too low.

Additionally, another water sample will be mixed with a chlorine reagent that rids the water of all chlorine and allows active bacteria to begin growing. They then add ‘bacteria food’ to the sample and place it into an incubator at 35 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. Afterward, the sample is analyzed and recorded.

Lucas said the base also has a drinking water working group that meets quarterly to track water trends and discuss any issues with the water to ensure Malmstrom always has consumable drinking water.

“Water is an essential part of life and we make sure our Airmen are taken care of,” said Lucas. “We want the base to trust us to be able to deliver safe drinkable water.”

Bioenvironmental engineering releases an annual Consumer Confidence Report that tells the base and the public where Malmstrom gets its water, what the water is tested for and the results of that year’s testing.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.