Garrison water safe, tested throughout year to ensure Soldier, family wellness

Col. Jason Edwards, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz commander, takes a water sample at the Pfeffelbach Water Treatment Plant near Baumholder. The Pfeffelbach plant provides water to the Baumholder Military Community. Photo by Bernd Mai

Water consumed on any of the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz locations is safe to drink and tested rigorously throughout the year, according to local leaders and environmental experts responsible for the testing.

Testing is a multidisciplinary effort, combining the work of the garrison Department of Public Works and the Public Health Command-Europe at Landstuhl. It also includes data gathered from community partners who provide water in many locations across the garrison area.

“The safety and health of everyone who has access to our drinking water is vital,” said Dr. Kevin L. Griess, deputy to the garrison commander of USAG Rheinland-Pfalz. “Our continued vigilance alongside our regional DOD and German partners has ensured our drinking water is some of the best that can be found in Europe.”

Germany and the United States mandate periodical testing. Screening includes looking for legionella bacteria, lead, copper, E. coli bacteria, metals and more. The full list includes about 20 items.

“Drinking water in Germany is subject to the strictest controls. No other food product has as many regulations to comply with,” said Dr. Anja Kotzerke, of DPW’s environmental division. She added that water quality for U.S. installations in Germany has to meet German standards as well as Final Governing Standards (DOD documents developed to address the protection of human health and the environment in each foreign country where DOD maintains substantial installations.)

“From time to time, the initial draw of water might run orange or brown from a surplus of iron in the pipes. It can also run white from trapped air. Both of these things are easily remedied,” said Michael Junk, chief of DPW’s operations and maintenance division. He said a pamphlet titled “Drinking Water” available from DPW explains how to fix most of those conditions when they occur. “If they recur, the pamphlet explains ways to get them fixed via work order.”

At Baumholder, hundreds of soldiers and their families in residential housing units use water to drink, bathe, cook and more. Jim Bradford, deputy garrison manager, said he and his team monitor water and other factors closely for residents.

“We take great care throughout the year to monitor the water supply. It’s a key component to overall health, wellness and vitality of our Soldiers and family members as well as all employees across the garrison,” Bradford said. “It’s comforting to know you can turn on the tap and get a fresh glass of water without worry.”

USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Com­man­der Col. Jason T. Edwards said he is appreciative of everyone’s efforts in keeping the water supply safe and ensuring the health and safety of our community.

“Vigorous water testing is one of the myriad ways our team keeps watch over the health and safety of the garrison team,” he said. “The bottom line is that the water is safe to drink and we’re monitoring it regularly to ensure our Army family is safe.”

You can find more information on water testing on the garrison’s web site, including the Drinking Water pamphlet. The links below also point to the community and other web pages that include results of water testing from specific communities.


• Drinking Water pamphlet:

• Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern (SWK) water quality reports in German and English:

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