Customized Mobile Watermaker Unit for U.S. Air Force in Wake Island - AMPAC USA

AMPAC USA dispatched a customized mobile reverse osmosis treatment system for the construction site at Wake Island. The unit shall be used for fresh water while construction of the airfield for the U.S. Air Force is underway. AMPAC USA in this piece throws light over the need and customizations of the particular unit for Wake Island. The company is a water treatment systems manufacturer and has been on the ground for 30 years. They provide expert consultation on various industrial, commercial, residential and military water problems.

USA Air Force Seawater Desalination Unit

AMPAC USA, one of the world leaders in reverse osmosis water treatment systems, recently customized a seawater desalination watermaker for the U.S. Air Force. With over 32 years of experience in the field, the company provided a mobile treatment system unit for the provision of freshwater on Wake Island, located in the Pacific Ocean. Sammy Farag, the CEO of the company, gives a glimpse of the product along with several other factors that were considered for designing the equipment.

AMPAC USA strives for quality, above everything else. Especially for military purposes, we make sure to be extra careful as we know our product has a direct impact on the operations on the ground. Treatment systems are manufactured, customized even, for the individual requirements of every order that we get. Our systems are bespoke, reliable and durable.”

The particular product was customized for a construction site in Wake Island. The airfield, owned by the U.S. Air Force, required a constant supply of fresh water from the surroundings for a variety of purposes. This included the construction itself, drinking, cleaning, cooling, sanitation, etc. Here is an in-depth examination of the product and design process.

Type of Watermaker

The obvious choice for AMPAC while selecting from a wide range of products they offer was a seawater desalination watermaker. The island has access to abundant seawater, which meant supply for the unit to filter would never be a problem. Another factor that was immediately decided was the portability of the unit. Farag explains this further:

At the island, the area is only a little more than 13 square kilometers with less than 8 square kilometers of the landmass. Considering the small size, we knew that a portable system that can be easily moved anywhere can be a very big advantage. The construction site will be covering almost half of the island and transport should, therefore, be easy. Portability was therefore included immediately into our plans.”

The unit is customized from a standard mobile water treatment system that is easy to transport with all of the systems required for water filtration. The capacity of this system was increased from 20,000 GPD to 80,000 GPD considering the various operations to be undertaken over a period of several weeks. 

Features of the Product

The final designed product is very similar to the Emergency Portable 20,000 GPD Watermaker offered by AMPAC. The capacity was raised to 80,000 GPD and several other features remain the same, with increased reliability achieved by the careful assembly. These are:

  • A PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) situated in front of NEMA 4X-rated control enclosure with multi-layer security login to keep tabs of several readings ranging over all the information about the unit’s operation.
  • Has a multimedia carbon pre-filter for removal of excess chlorine injected at pre-treatment, pH adjustment, and bacteria removal. Also, there is a spin-down pre-filter, which is a manual see-through strainer with a cleanable mesh screen filter for corrosion resistance and particulate removal. The sediment pre-filter provides higher flow rates and removes dirt, sediment, and sand.
  • On-demand Feed Supply Pump is added to supply the watermaker with seawater coming from a settling tank. These are made of Multistage 316L Stainless Steel Jet High-Pressure pumps with safeguards.
  • The unit also includes a high-pressure plunger pump that delivers high pressure up to 1200 psi with increased reliability. It has a standard Motor Soft Start which reduces start-up power by 60%. It also has monitors with visual flowmeters, salinity measurement, hour meter and temperature monitor to help with additional information.
  • The unit comes with in-built safety features such as low-pressure sensors for failsafe operation, high-pressure diverter valves for operator safety, etc. Every component is NSF-approved and the unit comes with a WQA certification.

Farag further elaborates, “Every system by AMPAC comes with an in-built Reverse Osmosis system. The process is proven to filter 99% of contaminants with just the use of a thin film membrane. The specifications of the membrane in the product for Wake Island were calibrated on the basis of the available water around the island that will eventually be feed water. This customization will ensure that the membrane does not wither soon due to excessive damage from the contaminants.”

Other Considerations

For the external part of the unit, weather conditions at the island were a major factor. The weather at Wake Island is very humid and hot over the year. It does not change much but sees occasional storms and showers majorly from July to October. The temperature varies from 74 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the minute variance, there are no hot or cold seasons. This means that the mobile unit will have to face similar temperatures almost every day. Not many changes were made to the standard external features of the mobile treatment unit as Farag says the unit in itself is very sturdy.

Our strive has always been to provide quality products that last longer. Durability, sturdiness against any weather and reliability are very important to us, which is why the treatment system did not require any extra customizations. These features and qualities of the product are automatically incorporated without having to mention it. The unit we have provided, with regular maintenance, will be able to run for years without any hassle.”

The final product is a good quality seawater desalination watermaker that can provide 80,000 gallons of fresh water each day, can run without much manual supervision and can withstand any weather coming right at it.

Our experts worked for weeks on this unit,” adds Farag. “We know very well that our products are responsible for helping out operations at the construction site and any delays are not welcomed. We had a special team that worked in the facility and closely monitored the assembly and manufacturing of this unit. Some of these experts have been with us for more than 20 years and have unmatched experience in water treatment systems. We are confident that our product shall be an asset to the site at Wake Island and will be in constant touch for regular monitoring and maintenance.”

Wake Island primarily serves military flight activity within the region, however, military presence is minimum at this time. The island is a coral atoll in the Western Pacific region and is used for emergency flight landings of commercial jetliners that fly in the transpacific routes. It has also been used by airlines operating jet aircraft on scheduled flights in the past. The island is known to be one of the most isolated islands in the world. The unit shall be an important part of the construction operations on the island.

About the Author:

AMPAC USA is a world-renowned water treatment systems manufacturer and operates primarily with reverse osmosis systems. They provide solutions to industrial, residential, commercial and military water problems.


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Ampac USA design and manufactures commercial and industrial reverse osmosis water purification systems for brackish water, well water and seawater.

5255-5265 State Street,
Montclair, CA


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