CE, MDG keep Malmstrom’s water clean
By Senior Airman Daniel Brosam, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 02, 2018
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.