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On the trip to Guatemala this August, the team was able to accomplish their goals, set goals for the future, and learn more about this extensive project.  After a long pause in construction, the team facilitated the largest delivery of construction materials in the project’s history.  The team also was able to finish the elevated water tank’s fill line, work with the water committee to install water meters & pressure reducing valves, and open discussion with community members about the future of the project.

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Team Accomplishments:

  1. Took inventory of well house and oversaw the delivery of the largest amount of distribution materials in the system’s history
  2. Updated drawings for the production of as built drawings of the entire system
  3. Presented water and chlorine safety methods to community members
  4. Heard community members’ concerns and questions regarding the system
  5. Completed the tank fill line
  6. Installed gate valve at the tank
  7. Made plans for a thrust block to be placed at the fill line connection
  8. Took as built measurements of the tank to design a way to connect the distribution line to the tank
  9. Assisted Water Committee president in installation of water meters
  10. Explained to water committee members how to install, the importance of, and locations of water meters and pressure reducing valves
  11. Discussed and measured an additional distribution sector in the future of the project
  12. Reviewed decisions and meeting minutes of the Nahualate Water Committee
    1. One of the committee’s most important decision was that water meters will now be installed by the water committee at every house connection

The Tacachia team had a very successful summer in Bolivia this year. Our team of nine students not only monitored and repaired past projects to ensure their sustainability, but also completed the water project that has been in the assessment stage for over three years. The community was very eager to begin construction and was asked to complete trenching before our arrival. To our surprise, the community had already laid and 95% of the pipe a few days before the team arrived. We were very pleased that so much progress had already been made and that we could now spend time troubleshooting the existing distribution lines that hadn’t had water flowing through them since testing in 2012. The distribution lines were in worse shape than expected and everyone was exposed to replacing PVC pipe by the end of the trip.


On our second to last full day with the community, we cleared an area and hoisted the 400 pound tank up the steep mountainside using ropes and man power. The team and the community shared a bonding moment as we helped pick away at the vegetation and level the soil for the tank. Moving the tank was a truly amazing sight to see as the students and community members pushed and pulled together to bring the tank to the excavated area. This was the final step in completing the design and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as the tank was connected to the conveyance system and water began pooling at the bottom of the tank. On our last morning in Tacachia, we saw a few community members collecting clear spring water from their taps a few feet from their front doors. The eight days in Tacachia were not only rewarding for the community but also for the travel team who finally got to see our hard work paying off.


Team Accomplishments:

  1. Unclogged ram pumps
  2. Took pictures of current erosion control status
  3. Surveyed community members on biosand filter use
  4. Completed conveyance line
  5. Completed as-built survey of conveyance line
  6. Repaired majority of broken distribution system piping
  7. Discussed ram pump and conveyance line O&M with community

The EWB Missouri S&T Los Eucaliptos program travelled to Bolivia for 10 days in the beginning of the summer break from school.  The team successfully completed the implementation of a French drainage system that will help keep houses from flooding during the rainy season from up-seepage due to a high water table.  The team also completed extensive surveying of the Rio Erquis and the historical distributary channel which will allow the team to complete a 100 year flood study.  Other members of the team, explored locations for a possible lagoon, sealed leaks in the water tank, and conducted interviews of community members.  In addition, the team had meetings with a University in Tarija, the community of Los Eucaliptos, and Habitat for Humanity Bolivia.    

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The Honduras team had a very productive trip this May. We also learned a lot about improvising and over coming unforeseen challenges. One major thing the team had to over come was the malfunction of a key piece of equipment. The flow meter that we were going to use to get data regarding system operation and flow broke on the second day we were there. The team had to be flexible and think of productive work to do that did not involve the use of the flow meter. Overall the trip was a success and the team accomplished a lot.

Team Accomplishments:

  1. Completed chlorination. Entire system is now being chlorinated.
  2. Presented 100k gallon tank designs to Dr. Ugarte and Water Committee. Also discussed tank price and funding options.
  3. Surveyed path for 100,000 gallon tank supply line and tank location site.
  4. Got valuable information regarding the operation of the system from the system operators
  5. Received an updated map from Henry with his new pipe configurations
  6. Got cost estimates of some of the materials needed for the tank construction.
  7. Discussed the importance of 24/7 water and monitoring with Dr. Ugarte.
  8. Got a recommendation from Dr. Ugarte for another community we could work in after the completion of our project in Santiago.

The community of Los Eucaliptos has reported that they are having some up-seepage problems in homes located in the low topographic region of the community. To alleviate these issues, we have come up with the plan of a French drain system. Our goal is to catch the water that is seeping into the homes and to redirect it into a nearby ditch. This will not only remove the up-seepage problem, but will also consequently remove mold and sickness in the homes and community.

Implementing a French drain system is fairly simple, but the effects are tremendous. First, a trench with a width of two feet and a depth of three foot will be dug and then lined with a geotextile fabric. Three inches of gravel will be laid on top of the fabric, followed by a six inch perforated pipe. Gravel will then fill in the remaining space of the trench and the geotextile fabric will be folded over on top. The topsix inches of the trench will be soil so that surface water does not drain into the French drain. An illustration of this description is shown below. 


More Articles...

  1. New Years Newsletter
  2. Travel Update - Tacachia, Bolivia
  3. Travel Update - Nahualate, Guatemala
  4. Travel Update - Santiago, Honduras

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Tacachia, Bolivia

Missouri S&T students discuss their EWB experiences helping bring clean water to the village of Tacachia.


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