d. Microbiological Quality. Transmitted waterborne diseases may be caused
by bacteria, protozoa, viruses, or other higher organisms. They are not detected by the
naked eye but can be microscopically detected or microbiologically tested to determine
the kind and treatment required to make the water potable. However, the detection of
many disease-causing microbes is difficult. Therefore, Preventive Medicine Specialists
working at Division, Corps, or Theater may conduct certain tests (for certain coliform
organisms, such as E. coli) to ensure that microbiological standards are met.
a. General. Depending on the environment, one or more water sources may be
more prevalent. Water for troop use may come from any of the following sources:
Surface water (rivers, lakes, and streams).
(2). Ground water (springs and wells).
Rain, snow, and/or ice.
b. Types of Water Sources.
(1) Because of its easy accessibility, surface water sources are usually the
most readily available, predictable, and visible. Surface water can be found in large
quantities and can supply many soldiers. This water, as a rule, is low in mineral
content, which makes it relatively palatable. However, surface waters have high
turbidity from the particles of soil they have acquired during runoff. They are also
probably contaminated for the same reason.
(2) Ground water usually has low turbidity because it has been percolated
through the soil and undergone a filtration process. There are less chemical or
give off a bad taste, are present. Microorganisms, although reduced by filtration, are
also present. Therefore, it is best to always assume that all water is contaminated and
treat it accordingly. Springs yielding about 20 gallons of water per minute should be
adequate for field units. However, ground water supplies are relatively inaccessible,
requiring digging of wells or development of springs, and are usually of unknown
quantity. Even when the quantity is sufficient, the depth of the water table frequently
precludes extracting the water with the equipment available.
(3) Sea water is a source that, for all practical purposes, may be is
regarded. The only practical process yet devised to treat salt water is