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Home : News : News
NEWS | June 25, 2014

Bioenvironmental engineers take samples; ensure water's safe for consumption

By Alex Salinas Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

Billions of gallons of water are used annually by the Joint Base San Antonio community and, as such, measures are implemented to conserve it and ensure every drop is safe for consumption.

At JBSA-Randolph, water sampling is conducted by 359th Medical Group bioenvironmental engineers, who test for common contaminants such as bacteria, lead and copper.

"We collect samples from 10 separate locations, usually from faucets," Senior Airman Nicollete Sanchez, 359th MDG bioenvironmental technician, said. "We make sure the chlorine (in the water) is up to par, the pH levels are balanced and that the water is drinkable."

During each collection, water is stored in two small jars and sodium thiosulfate is added to remove chlorine to better reveal the water's quality, Airman 1st Class Tyler Brantley, 359th MDG bioenvironmental technician, said.

The two samples are then sent to a local lab for examination. Within three to five business days, the group receives results to compile for an end-of-year JBSA water quality report.

According to Sanchez, JBSA-Randolph's water "meets or exceeds" the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's drinking water standards.

To preserve good water quality, the 359th MDG suggests people avoid rinsing and flushing materials with a high concentration oxygen demand. This includes household cleaning products and household grease from meat fats, lard and cooking oil.

Also, residents should prevent pet waste and trash from entering waterways.

Keeping water clean is paramount to public health, but conserving it, especially as temperatures rise, is equally important, Benjamin Martinez, JBSA-Randolph utility manager, said.

"It's all about being smarter and considerate when using this resource," he said. "The more we become educated and aware of how valuable water is, the more we will consider saving it."

A few water-saving activities people can do daily are limiting showers to five minutes or less, turning off running water when brushing teeth, soaking pots and pans instead of letting the water run while cleaning them and keeping a pitcher of drinking water in a refrigerator. When combined, these activities can save more than 1,000 gallons of water per month.

Under the JBSA Critical Period Management Plan, Stage III water restrictions are active across JBSA, which states watering is now limited to once every other week with watering times from 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m. No watering is allowed on weekends. To view the contents of the plan online, including what day residents can water based on their address, visit

"Every second that water flows from an outlet and isn't used is waste," Martinez said. "Water conservation must become a way of life for everybody."

To view JBSA-Randolph's water quality report, visit