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NEWS | June 11, 2014

Pipe dreams: 633rd CES Airmen maintain Langley water, fuel, sewer systems

By Staff Sgt. Stephanie R. Plichta 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Most doctors recommend the average person should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the average American family uses 400 gallons of water daily. Approximately 70 percent of that water is used indoors, with largest usage in the bathroom.

At Langley Air Force Base, Va., the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron Water, Fuel and System Maintenance Airmen are responsible for maintaining the water, fuel and sewer systems to serve the more than 13,000 personnel on the installation.

United States Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason Rivera, 633rd CES water and fuels system maintenance scheduler, tracks all work orders on the installation and is responsible for maintenance of plumbing, water, wastewater, fire suppression and backflow-prevention systems.

"From June last year, we have performed a total 1,951 work orders, 72 of which were considered emergency to be completed within 24 hours," said Rivera. "Water is essential to our life, and with water comes waste; therefore, maintaining sewer systems is just as important."

With a large amount of requests coming in, Rivera believes it important for his team to maintain technical proficiency.

Water and fuel systems Airmen are able to attend advanced courses at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, including the backflow course, which provides instruction on the system that keeps contaminants from entering drinking water.

Staff Sgt. Terrell Kelley, 633rd CES water and fuels systems maintenance craftsman, has received a variety of training, from on-the-job to classroom courses. However, he said he feels passionately about one in type of training in particular.

"The most important training I've received is on-the-job using new equipment," said Kelley. "We recently had the opportunity to perform training with 203rd RED HORSE Squadron. It helped me feel ready for deployment and to operate at a moment's notice. With a recent merge between water and fuels we now have the knowledge to perform better."

Armed with knowledge and skills, Airmen keep the mission flowing using preventative maintenance said Staff Sgt. Stephen Newell, 633rd CES water and fuel systems craftsman.

"Everything we do daily impacts Langley," said Newell. "If we let a fuel system fail, aircraft will be unable to fly."

In addition to jobs that directly affect the flying mission, Newell performs routine work that has base-wide impacts, such as checking the two-million-gallon water supply and storage tank on base.

Newell ensures there is sufficient pressure and storage in the tank to supply the base with safe drinking water.

According to the EPA, the average bathroom faucet can run up to two gallons of water each minute. It is Airmen from the Water, Fuel and System Maintenance shop that keep the water in the restrooms running, fuel to the aircraft flowing and ensure waste is properly disposed of.