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News

Left: Oct. 29, 2010 - TerraGroup Corporation's President Primo L. Acernese speaks about the success of the LWPS during a visit from PA Representative Jennifer L. Mann and US Congressman Charlie Dent.

Right: March 16, 2012 - Completed LWPS system modules at the TECWAR SYSTEMS manufacturing facility.

 



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2012

Water Dogs on Tinian purify Pacific 5/22/2012

Seabees adopt new water purification system; increase safety, versatility 7/5/2012

Two engineer support battalions work as one 7/26/2012

MWSS-374: Paving a better future 8/16/2012

Water purification specialists field new lightweight system at Fort Pickett

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4/12/2012

Marines hydrate with purified ocean water 

By Sgt. Richard Blumenstein, Marine Forces Africa 

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AGADIR, Morocco  — Water purification specialists with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, put their water purification systems to the test on a Moroccan beach April 10, during the bi-lateral exercise named African Lion 2012.

The Marines assembled a Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS) and Lightweight Water Purification System (LWPS) on the beach to turn ocean water into a sustainable, potable water source for the Marines conducting training operations with the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, and test the systems on a foreign water source.

“Instead of bringing thousands of pallets of water ashore, this is what we use,” said Cpl. Kyle Slusher, a water purification specialist with CLB 24. “This is what’s going to sustain our force, and we can use it wherever there is a water source.”
Marines use water purification systems to sustain their forces and also to provide water for a number of other operations such as disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance, according to Cpl. Cody Sorrell, a water purification specialist.

“We can use this capability for any sort of mission where Marines are going to be there a long period of time,” Sorrell said. “You can’t conduct operations without a sustainable water source.”

The current mission is to provide a clean water source for Marines training ashore in the desert landscape of Morocco. The water these Marines are sustaining the training units ashore who are working with members of the Moroccan military. Without this capability, the logistics problem of supplying clean water to the shores of Morocco would become a problem of time and money that would distract from the mission of training between the Marines and Moroccans.

The TWPS is 10,000 pounds, and able to purify approximately 10,000 gallons of water a day by pumping it through a series of filters, which reduce the TDS (total dissolved solids) rating to a level more than fit for human consumption. Pound for pound for Marines on the ground, it is more than worth its weight in water.

“It’s better than bottled water,” said Slusher. According to the Marion, Ohio native, the average bottle of water has a TDS ratting between 400 and 500. Using the TWPS, water purification specialist can reduce the TDS ratting to 20.

“A bottle of water from the TWPS is more pure than what you would get from a factory,” he said. “It’s because the only thing we have to add back into the water is chlorine to preserve it.”

The TWPS has the ability to purify water ranging from lake water to nuclear contaminated water, he said.
“If a nuclear bomb went off behind me, we would be able to provide contaminate free water in an hour,” he said.

The LWPS is a smaller version of the TWPS. While not able to boast the same range of capabilities as the TWPS, its use is focused on supplying a small force. Weighing 3,580 pounds the system is able to provide around 2,000 gallons of water a day.

“We use this somewhere we have a really small foot print,” he said.

The last opportunity the Marines had to test their system’s capabilities was in September 2011 at Fort Pickett, Va., where they filtered lake water, substantially easy to filter in comparison to the salty ocean water they now face in Morocco, according to Slusher.

“Right now we’re showing we can get in, set up and operate it anywhere,” he said.


 

Iwakuni news

Water Dogs on Tinian purify Pacific

5/22/2012  By Lance Cpl. J. Gage Karwick, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni 

TINIAN, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands  — Water purification technicians with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, provide what could be considered the most critical resource to any exercise, operation and survival.

Without purified water, any mission is at risk. Marines suffering from dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke or water contamination may not be able to perform the tasks they deployed to do.

The water purification technicians have set up shop on Chulu Beach on the island of Tinian in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the same beach Marines used to conduct a tactical maneuver recorded in history as “the perfect amphibious landing” during World War II.

“We are providing water for this entire exercise,” said Lance Cpl. Fabian A. Gomezortiz, a water purification technician with MWSS-171, MAG-12.

“The fresh water supply on the island is very limited. In order for the Marines here to be able to operate and not affect the supply of water the islanders need, it is crucial that we do our jobs as efficiently as possible.”

The ‘water dogs’ take salt water from the Pacific Ocean and circulate it through their light-weight purification system. “This system basically does reverse osmosis,” said Cpl. Adam Santana Jr., a water purification technician with MWSS-171, MAG-12. “It cleans the water by circulating it through several filters and high pressure pumps removing all harmful sediments and bacteria.”

Clean water can be a valuable morale booster as well. “With this water, the Marines will be able to take a clean shower,” said Santana. “A nice shower after working all day in this heat can really change someone’s mood drastically from feeling bad to feeling great.”

The ability to provide troops with clean potable water has been a key figure in military expeditions throughout history.

The ‘Water Dogs’ on Tinian will provide their fellow Marines with clean water throughout the entirety of Exercise Geiger Fury 2012.

TinianTINIAN, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands — Lance Cpl. Fabian A. Gomezortiz, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, water purification technician, records the activities of the light-weight purification system May 21 during exercise Geiger Fury 2012.

 

 


Seabee Courier

July 5, 2012


Camp Lejeune, NC, July 25, 2012

Two engineer support battalions work as one

7/26/2012  By Pfc. Franklin E. Mercado  , 2nd Marine Logistics Group

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.  — Marines from 6th and 8th Engineer Support Battalions tested their forward deployed capabilities during a week-long exercise here from July 23 to 27.

While deployed to places like Afghanistan, engineer support Marines provide servicemembers with potable water used for drinking and cooking, water for showers and other hygiene stations, as well as repair driving routes that are regularly used by heavy up-armored vehicles.

During their training exercise, they purified thousands of gallons of water and set up eight showers near Mile Hammock Bay, a training area adjacent to Camp Lejeune. They also improved about one mile of road at Onslow Beach here.

Together, the battalions set up a Tactical Water Purification System and a Light-Weight Water Purification System to pump clean water into tanks. There were three 20,000-gallon and two 50,000-gallon tanks that had to be filled.

"We have a lot of water to pump, and they're really helping us," said Lance Cpl. Mario MedenaValdez, a water support technician with 8th ESB, on the third day of training. "We're working well together. We have 37,000 gallons of water already, so we're setting a good pace."

Marines from both battalions completed the mission as if they’d been working together for longer than the beginning of the week.

"Sixth ESB has stepped up and helped us out with this exercise," said 1st Lt. Lennie Jackson, the Engineer Support Company executive officer. "With [most of] 8th ESB deployed now, we are limited in the number of personnel we have."

The training is not only helping 8th ESB meet training requirements, but it's helping prepare the Marines of 6th ESB for Afghanistan. They are slated to deploy in the upcoming months.

"They're doing an outstanding job," Capt. Donald Galloway, the ES company commander, said about the Marines of 6th ESB. "They are very motivated.”

Throughout the training both battalions have kept that motivation and worth ethic at a high level. The unit’s have shown they are truly capable of performing multiple missions at the same time. There was no better time for 6th ESB to prove they are capable of taking the reins upon arriving in Afghanistan, with the battalion taking authority from 8th ESB’s forward deployed element. They seized the opportunity.

 

Lej1


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MWSS-374: Paving a better future

8/16/2012 By Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano , Headquarters Marine Corps

YUMA, Ariz. — Breaking new ground isn’t easy. Building a foundation, in the most literal sense, is hard work.
Just ask the engineer company of Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, based out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., who are refurbishing the landing zone assault strip at the Bull Assault Forward Arming and Refueling Point site located in the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range in California, Aug. 9.
"The majority of the work of bringing it out here was done by motor transportation. Utilities set up all the water points," said Sgt. Juan Flores, the MWSS-374 project manager and a native of Houston, Texas. "And, obviously, the heavy equipment engineers worked on the ground here."
MWSS-374 electronically surveyed, gauged, and measured the site to determine the terrain conditions. Then, construction began on Aug. 1.
“The most difficult part was keeping with the terrain, making sure the landing strip is within regulations," said Gunnery Sgt. Ramiro Chavez Jr., the MWSS-374 engineer equipment chief and a native of Naples, Fla.
After layering up to six inches of Recycled Asphalt Product (RAP) and using Portland cement to provide greater strength and better durability, it will then be compacted and paved to a smooth finish. SeaTac, a biodegradable and environmentally safe product that will reduce dust and prevent erosion, will also be used to deliver a safer strip to land on for pilots during training exercises.
"The local Marines will be able to use this LZ as a good training environment for future FARP operations,” said Chavez.
For Flores, LZ Bull marks his first operation as project manager.
"This is a learning experience for me as well. I've been mentored by my gunnery sergeant and my officer-in-charge," said Flores. "I have some other corporals who have done this before, so I'm feeding off of them and their ideas, their suggestions."
The utilities platoon with MWSS-374 is also experiencing a first with a new water recycling system. The lightweight water purification system uses 3,000-gallon collapsible tanks that pump and filter out clean water allowing Marines to better conserve resources.
“I don’t believe it’s been done in the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Wol G. Deng, MWSS-374 water support technician who enlisted out of Fargo, ND, but is originally from South Sudan, Africa. “It’s been going very well. We test the water every time we purify it. And it’s been passing, meeting standards.”
The project also protects the Corps’ monetary interests.
“Not having to repair this air strip semi-annually will definitely save the Marine Corps money,” said 2nd Lt. Colin Hunter Cunningham, the MWSS-374 utilities officer-in-charge and a native of New Jersey.
The usual cracks, wears and tears would normally have Marines come out every year. With these improvements, LZ Bull will need less maintenance less often.
"A message to my Marines: thank you for your hard work," said Flores.
Construction is expected to be completed by Aug. 15.

LWPS LeJeune

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, based out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., work on a new water purification system at the Chocolate Mountains Aerial Gunnery Range in MCAS Yuma region, Aug. 9. The lightweight purification water recycling system uses 3,000 gallon collapsible tanks that pump and filter out clean water which allows Marines to better conserve resources.
Photo Date Taken: 8/9/2012
Unit: Headquarters Marine Corps
Photo ByLine: Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano


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26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

A Certain Force in an Uncertain World

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Water purification specialists field new lightweight system at Fort Pickett

By Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels | September 10, 2012
Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is fielding their new lightweight water purification system at Fort Pickett, Va., in September.
Staff Sgt. Joshua C. Collins, Largo, Fla., native and CLB-26 utilities chief said, according to the Naval Preventative Medical Manual, a Marine or sailor requires 20 gallons of water a day to sustain military operations.
The number for the water required is factored from everything including showers, laundry, drinking water and the water used to prepare food for chow said Lance Cpl. Logan B. Vasquenz, Bloomington, Ill., native and CLB-26 water purification specialist.
“Our old system, the (Tactical Water Purification System), is rated to filter 1,500 gallons per hour when it is used with fresh water,” said Collins. “We can set the whole system up and filter 6,000 gallons of water in four to six hours. It can run 18-20 hours per day on 20 gallons of gas and single handedly provide enough clean water for the entire (26th Marine Expeditionary Unit).”
With space being a critical asset in operations, size is a large factor when determining the viability of any type of cargo.
Vasquenz said, CLB-26 is testing and using the new LWPS because it is highly mobile.
“The new system is on a smaller scale, based off the numbers from the TWPS. It can roughly sustain and maintain a company-sized level with clean water,” said Collins. “Some of the advantages of the new system are it is self-sustained and fits inside a Quadcon, capable of being moved around on the back of a truck and fitting into smaller areas vice the TWPS which weighs more than 10,000 pounds and is hard to get into tight areas.”
A Quadcon is a stackable military shipping container that can hold more than 200 cubic feet and hold more than four tons.
Although both water systems have distinct advantages, CLB-26 is pushing to completely transition into the LWPS. It only takes two Marines to set up the system and only one Marine to properly operate it.
Capable of properly filtering water in almost all conditions, including freezing temperatures, Collins said, the water purification specialists of CLB-26 are capable of filtering chemical, biological and nerve agents from any water source.
He said the process starts by the system pulling the water in from any fresh, salt or brackish water source into the raw water system where it is then discharged into a micro-filtration feed tank. After going through 12 micro-filters it becomes feed water, then put into the reverse osmosis feed tank creating RO feed water. Next, the water is pushed through two high-pressure pumps, and then through a turbo charger ending up in the RO elements where calcium hyper chloride is added creating clean, purified water. The water is kept in 3,000-gallon storage tanks ready to be picked up and distributed among troops.
“If you don’t have water on deck in any kind of mission in the Marine Corps, you are not going to survive,” said Collins. “Marines will start dying within a couple days of not having portable water to consume and won’t be able to carry on the fight or continue the mission.”

water dogs

Water purification specialists with Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), test their filtered water’s purity at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 10, 2012. The Marines are testing the battalions new lightweight water purification system capable of producing up to 450 gallons of clean water per hour from any available water source. This field testing is part of the 26th MEU's pre-deployment training program. CLB-26 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013. (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)

LWPS full bags

A lightweight water purification system is set up at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 10, 2012. The system is Combat Logistics Battalion's (CLB) 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), new water filtration system capable of cleaning 450 gallons of water per hour producing enough drinking water for an entire company. This training is part of the 26th MEU's pre-deployment training program. CLB-26 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013. (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)

water dogs

Staff Sgt. Joshua C. Collins, Largo, Fla., Native, utilities chief and Lance Cpl. Logan B. Vasquenz, Bloomington, Ill., native, water purification specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), test the battalions new lightweight water purification system's pressure at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 10, 2012. The new system is capable of producing enough clean drinking water for an entire company and is much smaller than its predecessor, capable of fitting all parts necessary to properly function into a single shipping container. This training is part of the 26th MEU's pre-deployment training program. CLB-26 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013. (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)

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Lance Cpl. Eric D. Rivera, a Houston, Texas, native, water purification specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), tests the chlorine levels in the battalions new lightweight water purification system at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 10, 2012. This is the first time the battalion has fielded the purification system, which can pump water from a local water source and filter 450 gallons per hour of clean drinking water. This training is part of the 26th MEU's pre-deployment training program. CLB-26 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013. (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)

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Lance Cpl. Eric D. Rivera, a Houston, Texas native, water purification specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), tests the chlorine levels in the battalions new lightweight water purification system at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 10, 2012. This is the first time the battalion has fielded the purification system, which can pump water from a local water source and filter 450 gallons per hour of clean drinking water. This training is part of the 26th MEU's pre-deployment training program. CLB-26 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013. (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)

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Lance Cpl. Eric D. Rivera, a Houston, Texas, native, water purification specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), tests the chlorine levels in the battalions new lightweight water purification system at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 10, 2012. This is the first time the battalion has fielded the purification system, which can pump water from a local water source and filter 450 gallons per hour of clean drinking water. This training is part of the 26th’s pre-deployment training program. CLB-26 is one of the three reinforcements of 26th MEU, which is slated to deploy in 2013. (Photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels)

Keystone Edge logoThursday, September 06, 2012

Innovation & Job News

Allentown's TerraGroup looks to water down its U.S. military concentration, hiring up to 12

Thursday, September 06, 2012
Envisioning the day when water is more valuable than oil, Primo Acernese is diverting his company, Allentown's TerraGroup Corp., toward new markets. 

Founded in 1991, Terra's core business for 15 years has been in providing lightweight water purification systems to the U.S. military. Now Terra is focusing its R&D on adapting its products for civilian uses, including emergency responders and residential customers, and is eying foreign military sales.

Availability of potable water is critical in natural disasters, says Acernese, noting how even a relatively small hurricane like Isaac could play havoc on the Gulf Coast. So Terra is looking to a modified version of its military product for agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Homeland Security. A miniaturized and more affordable home system is also under study. 

Meanwhile, Terra is in the midst of a $50 million contract than runs into 2014 to provide water systems to the Marine Corps. Terra's self-contained systems allow forward units to produce potable water from any source: fresh or seawater, brackish and even water polluted by chemical, biological and nuclear contaminants. The units can be set up in under 40 minutes by two people and are virtually indestructible, Acernese says. 

So far, Terra has delivered 250 systems with 120 to go. The huge contract has meant significant growth; as recently as 2005, Terra had only four employees. Today, the company employs 27 – mostly Allentown residents – and anticipates another 8 to 12 hires over the next 24 months. 

Source: Primo Acernese, Terra Group
Writer: Elise Vider