Under the suggestion of St. Jerome's Constanza Mission, HCEWB is working on a project to design a sustainable solution to a contaminated water supply in rural areas outside Constanza, Dominican Republic. St Jerome's first approached HCEWB because the members noticed that water-borne diseases are the cause for many of the illnesses they treat. They asked HCEWB to further investigate the situation to see where engineering design could help.
Five members of HCEWB travelled to Constanza in early November 2007 for the first time to assess the situation. The HCEWB members spent most of their time visiting aqueducts, mapping the water cycle in the area, and building personal relationships with the community. Before returning to the US, they held a community meeting where they presented their findings.
HCEWB returned to Constanza in May 2008. During this second trip, one group worked on completely analyzing the water treatment facility and pipe network, performing water tests at all parts of the system, and forming a relationship with the local government. A second group explored the possibility of drilling wells in the area, including looking at wells that were already present in the community, scouting optimal locations for wells, and trying to implement a low-cost method to drill wells on a family basis. Both groups presented their findings to the community at the end of the trip.
This year, HCEWB is working in the following project-related committees:
- Water treatment: Determining the best course of action for dealing with contaminated water in the area. This committee will be working on designing a solution to repair the broken infrastructure for water in the area, including working on fixing the sand filter, installing a chlorination system, and flushing the piping system, which is also contaminated.
- Wells: Developing methods of finding locations for wells, drilling wells, and purifying and storing water using mostly local meterials. Whereas the Water Treatment committee looks at water systems on a large scale, the wells committee focuses on empowering individual families to gain access to clean water on their own. The Wells project would not be possible without inspiration and leadership from Terry Waller and his organization, Water For All.
- Finance: Finding the resources to bring the research done at Harvard to the Dominican Republic. This committee handles applying for grants and managing the finances of our trips the Dominican Republic.
In January 2009, seven members of the Wells committee travelled to Constanza and drilled their first successful well. With the help of Water For All intern Allan De Laurell, the group managed to drill fifteen feet below the water table. During the trip, the group also tested methods for measuring the depth of the water table, took measurements for the water committee, and maintained relationships with the local community. Pictures of the January trip can be found here.
In May of 2009, EWB water committee returned to the Dominican Republic. Though the group was initially delayed in the capital due to flooding, this
allowed the group the opportunity to speak with the National Institute of Potable Water (INAPA) about their interest in learning about the water treatment
plant in Tireo. INAPA agreed to go with the group to Tireo, and together the two groups visited the water treatment plant, tested the water, and talked
about how they can work together to improve the quality of water in Tireo. During the trip, the group also met with the co-director of AguaPure, an
established ceramic filter NGO, and discussed BioSand and Ceramic filter technologies, implementation and distribution techniques.
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Updated Friday, August 27, 2010 12:59 PM