AFMC Command News

AFCEC-led project creates long-term water supply at Mountain Home AFB

  • Published
  • By Mila Cisneros
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is leading a $100 million construction project for a water treatment plant and pump station to establish a long-term, sustainable water supply from the Snake River to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

The project, critical to strengthening the Mountain Home mission, will provide a resilient water source for daily operations and the community of more than 5,200 people on base.

“Resilient built infrastructure is vital to sustain operations and increase mission effectiveness at each of our Department of the Air Force installations,” said Col. George Nichols, deputy director of the AFCEC Facility Engineering Directorate. “Through our cost-effective design and construction execution, we deliver exactly that to Air and Space Forces, so they are well prepared to execute their missions.”

AFCEC recently awarded the project through the Seattle District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The construction will equip Mountain Home AFB with reliable infrastructure to divert water supply from a declining regional Mountain Home Aquifer in Elmore County, Idaho. Currently, the installation is drawing water from two on-base wells that pump groundwater from the aquifer.

With aquifer levels declining nearly two feet every year and predictions it will go dry in the next 30 years, DAF is taking action to provide an alternative solution to sustain the water supply and ensure mission continuity at Mountain Home.

“While the base wells have been able to support our mission requirements so far, the depleting aquifer will put a limit on our daily operations if not addressed in the near future. This project will provide the water security we need to continue our mission well into the future,” said Col. Michael Alfaro, 366th Fighter Wing commander at Mountain Home.

The project is a part of the multi-billion Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program, a subset of the defense-wide military construction program.

ERCIP is a critical element of the Department of Defense strategy to improve the resilience, security, energy sources and water systems on its fixed installations. AFCEC’s Office of Energy Assurance Program Execution Division manages DAF’s ERCIP program portfolio, and the Facility Engineering Directorate executes it.

“This water resilience effort is one of AFCEC’s major construction projects this year and also a prime example of DAF’s commitment to ensuring long term viability of its installations by providing a dependable water source,” said Capt. David Gillette, AFCEC project manager.

Apart from USACE, other partners in the project include the Program Execution Division of the Office of Energy Assurance at the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron at Mountain Home, and the Idaho Department of Water Resources.

The integrated team is working to assist DAF in developing the most resilient and cost-effective infrastructure to meet national defense priorities.

“Our goal is to provide a facility able to process 3.5 million gallons per day of surface water that meets drinking water standards for the installation’s mission and population,” said Elizabeth Bradley, also a project manager at AFCEC.

To meet these requirements, the team designed a facility that complies with architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and environmental standards.

The new infrastructure will consist of a 28,000 square-foot, single story water treatment plant and pump station with a water supply pipeline from the Snake River to support Mountain Home’s water system.

“This is a critically important project to DAF and the long-term sustainability of the mission at Mountain Home AFB,” said Robbie Marcucci, DAF ERCIP Program Manager.  “The teams at 366 CES, AFCEC/CN, and IDWR have been working together since 2018 to develop both of our projects and have advocated tirelessly for funding support.”

The project represents a tremendous team effort and involves a great deal of planning to ensure the design meets water production demands, distribution and the delivery to the people who rely on potable water to live and conduct their mission, Bradley said.

Mountain Home supports 70 permanently assigned aircraft and 300 transient aircraft annually, and an insufficient water supply would severely threaten the mission and community water resilience, she added.

While DoD is funding the water treatment plant and pump station constructions, the IDWR is providing the Snake River water pipeline under a separate project. The water pipeline construction is not a part of the ERCIP project, but both efforts require in-sync coordination during all construction phases, Bradley said.