Water Well Teams Improve Bases, Save Millions

By EOC Dawn Mayhugh, NMCB 133, Task Force Anchor Public Affairs130225-N-ZZ999-004

UT2 Kelby Bracken, NMCB 133, welds a sump pump for a water well drilling operation.

Naval engineers in Afghanistan are completing their fifth water well project, providing coalition forces direct, cost-effective water access on bases across the country, saving the military millions in costs.

Launching out in September 2012, Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133, Task Force Anchor, began to drill the first of five deep water wells across the country. Two 12-man teams took charge of two Laibe drill rigs and more than $2 million worth of materials.

As 24-hour drilling operations continued, each team overcame obstacles ranging from equipment repairs to weather delays as the winter season brought rain and snow to some sites.

The teams were constantly tested as hidden rock formations and voids changed drilling speeds.  By managing the “mud” program through skillful manipulation of chemicals, the teams progressed in operations. “Mud” is a combination of water and a number of chemical agents that allows the water well team to bring soil drilled out of the water well to the surface. As each member honed his expertise in respective job assignments, the team’s efficiency increased at every site.

As Task Force Anchor, part of the Theater Engineer Brigade, Joint Task Force Triple Nickel, nears the completion of the fifth well, all wells have an average depth of nearly 1,000 feet and produce an average of 100 gallons of clean water per minute.

“Coalition and Afghan forces will benefit for years due to their efforts,” said Chief Petty Officer David Asbury, construction officer with JTF Triple Nickel.

Each well saves the military hundreds of thousands of dollars compared to the costs of contracted drilling or having to acquire and transport water from off-base, according to Asbury.

This means, already, the military has saved more than $2 million thanks to these projects.

Across the country, these wells continue to have a positive impact and increase the quality of life for thousands of coalition personnel.