Mobile Purification Units Provide Water in Time of Need

Jan. 5, 2006

Following Hurricane Katrina, flooded areas were faced with a wide range of shortages—food, housing and transportation services were scarce to nonexistent. In response, the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research turned to mobile desalination units that use innovative technology from The Dow Chemical Co. to help convert undrinkable saltwater from the Mississippi Sound to healthy freshwater suitable for human consumption.

In Biloxi, Miss., Hurricane Katrina caused a 30-ft storm surge, the highest ever recorded in the U.S. The storm damaged municipal water supplies, leaving very little clean drinking water. The shortage of one of life’s most basic and necessary elements created a crisis that affected those most in need—patients and medical staff in hospitals.

"In healthcare, purified water is vital to providing a clean and safe environment for our patients," said Tim Mitchell, CEO of Biloxi Regional Medical Center. “The treated water that was provided to Biloxi Regional Medical Center was a huge step to ensure clean water was provided to our patients in the quickest and safest way possible.”

The Navy deployed two of these units, run by the Bureau of Reclamations, to purify water from the ocean inlet and pump it to communities in need. Each unit contains FILMTEC reverse osmosis membranes from Dow. The units desalinated the water from the sound to better-than-EPA drinking water standards, and then pumped the fresh, potable water to the six-story, 153-bed Biloxi Regional Medical Center one block away.

“Due to some quick thinking by the Office of Naval Research, these mobile units were put in place to provide water to those incapable of getting it themselves,” said Ian Barbour, general manager, Dow Liquid Separations and CEO of FilmTec Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. “We are extremely proud to be a part of the Expeditionary Unit Water Purification Program. The unique, compact and versatile design of the FILMTEC reverse osmosis membranes is a perfect fit for units like these.”

Not only did the units provide water for patients and staff helping to ease the suffering caused by one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history, they also met the center’s high water quality standards.

Source: The Dow Chemical Co.

Image by Burnham RNG, courtesy twentytwo & brand.