KBR May Have Provided Tainted Water to US Troops in Iraq March 16, 2008Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: Iraq, KBR
And the hits keep coming for KBR. Click – KBR – in case you missed their previous antics.
A spate of illnesses among US troops at several bases in Iraq may have been caused by untested and possibly tainted water supplied by a private contractor then owned by Halliburton, according to a Pentagon audit to be released today.
The inspector general of the US defence department found a rise in diarrhoea, cellulitis and skin infections reported by troops who used the polluted water for personal tasks such as shaving and laundry at US bases, including three serviced by the defence contractor KBR.
The audit said the military provided water of questionable quality at two further bases.
Until last year KBR had exclusive rights to provide food, shelter, laundry services and transport to US forces serving in Iraq. At the time of the outbreaks KBR was controlled by Halliburton, the former employer of vice president Dick Cheney.
Independent Pentagon auditors found that at camp Q-West, a base 40 miles south of Mosul, KBR added chlorine to wastewater before distributing it for personal hygiene. At another base, Camp Ar Ramadi in Anbar province, 45% of soldiers surveyed said their personal hygiene water had an unusual odour or colour. The tests were carried out between March 2004 and January 2006.
Allegations of unsafe water supplies in Iraq first emerged during hearings held by Senate Democrats more than two years ago.
The contractor has always claimed it did nothing wrong, and continued to challenge the Pentagon’s findings today, releasing a detailed rebuttal that repeatedly took issue with the auditors’ application of military water testing rules.
“KBR’s commitment to the safety of all of its employees remains unwavering,” the company said through a spokeswoman. “KBR’s production and treatment of water used by the troops and KBR’s own personnel has met or exceeded all applicable military and contract standards.”
However, Byron Dorgan, the Democratic senator who requested the audit, said today: “I think it’s outrageous that KBR tried to deny that there was a problem, especially when it turned out that there were dozens of US troops reporting water-related illnesses.”
KBR has angered Republicans as well as Democrats in Washington thanks to recent sexual assault and tax evasion scandals.
Democratic senator Carl Levin, who chairs the armed services committee, said the audit would only intensify congressional scrutiny of private companies operating in the war zone of Iraq. “If we are going to use contractors to perform this kind of activity in the future, we are going to have to do a much better job of supervising their activities,” Levin said.
Read the entire article in context at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/10/usa.iraq1