MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- Marines in the field now have access to more clean water quicker because of an upgrade to the Lightweight Water Purification System.
LWPS, a company-sized asset, is a modular, lightweight and scalable reverse osmosis water purification system that can produce potable water in any field condition. The new Enhanced Production Module extends the LWPS capabilities by increasing water production output.
Currently, the EPM is being fielded and will be completed by the end of the fiscal year. Engineer Support Battalions, Combat Logistics Battalions, and Marine Wing Support Squadrons within the active and reserve forces will receive the upgrade.
Before the EPM was added, the LWPS purified 75 gallons of salt water and 135 gallons of fresh water per hour. Now, LWPS can purify 135 gallons of salt water and 225 gallons of fresh water per hour—an 80 percent increase in output means Marines get the water they need faster.
“The EPM consists of an additional high-pressure pump and reverse osmosis module which allows the system to produce a higher volume of water per hour to support showers, laundry and drinking water for units on the battlefield,” said Capt. Jeremy Walker, project officer for the Fuel and Water Team at Marine Corps Systems Command.
The first step is the pre-filtration process which removes any unwanted particles, then reverse osmosis occurs. The reverse osmosis module is a semi-permeable membrane that only allows pure water molecules to get through.
LWPS serves many purposes for Marines. It is a highly efficient and secure alternative to bottled water and hardened for various environments and weather conditions. The water system is easily transportable by air or in smaller land vehicles, and can be stored in a Quadcon container. The system’s versatility enables self-contained water purification, storage and distribution without the need for external power. With an easy-access and open-frame design, all connections on the LWPS are quick-release for simple maintenance and parts replacement.
The system provides an expeditionary water purification capability for forward units to produce potable water from any water source.
“It’s all-source capable which means the LWPS is able to purify fresh, brackish and sea water, even water contaminated with nuclear, chemical and biological agents,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Miller, project officer for Family of Water Systems. “The system is convenient because it runs off of diesel pumps and doesn’t need electricity. There is minimum training to learn the system, and it only requires one operator.”
The LWPS is part of the Family of Water Systems which falls under Logistics Combat Element Systems at MCSC. The water family also includes the Individual Water Purification System Block II, Platoon Water Purification System, Tactical Water Purification System, and the Expeditionary Water Distribution System.