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     Get ready for Engineers Without Borders’ Day of the Dead 5k Run on November 1, 2014! Sponsored and held at Meramec Vineyards in St. James, profits from the 5K run will go to Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T) Student Chapter. EWB MS&T works to bring clean water to four communities (located in Guatemala, Honduras, and Bolivia). The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Since EWB MS&T is focused on helping developing communities in Central America, this holiday seemed to be a perfect day to hold the run. Participants can run/jog/walk the 5K. Both serious and casual runners are welcome. The run will be timed by Split Second Timing. Feel free to dress up for Day of the Dead and/or Halloween.

     This 5k begins at 10:00 a.m., with registration beginning at 8:15 a.m. The route from Meramec Vineyards’ winery building “is on picturesque rolling paved two lane county roads then a gravel county road leading to the vineyards”. After the finish line, snacks and drinks will be provided. An awards ceremony will follow. Awards will be given to the top male and female finishers, as well as the top finishers in each age group.

     There are three ways to register: online, with mail-in registration, or in-person on November 1. Online registration can completed at http://engineerswithoutbordersdayofthedead5krun.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=4698 or http://split-secondtiming.com/upcoming-events . The mail-in form can be picked up at Meramec Vineyards, by emailing Evan Haley at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or online at Engineers Without Borders’ website http://www.ewb-mst.org/. The entry fee is $25 before November 1 and $30 on November 1.

     Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T) “partners with developing communities to improve their quality of life through the implementation of environmentally, equitable, and economically sustainable engineering projects while developing internationally responsible engineers and engineering students.” The chapter currently is working on projects in four communities: 1) Nahualate, Guatemala, 2) Santiago, Honduras, 3) Los Eucaliptos, Bolivia, and 4) Tacachia, Bolivia.

     EWB MS&T’s Nahualate, Guatemala program has overseen construction of a well, elevated storage tank, and initial stages of a water distribution system. The remaining phases of the overall project are installing electricity, the well pump and the chlorination system, finishing the distribution system pipelines, and adding the valves in several places in the system. The Santiago, Honduras program has overseen construction of a new well/well-house, chlorination system, various new pipelines, a small storage tank, and two water collection systems. EWB MS&T has also conducted several leak studies, helping the community to identify and fix leaks. Next summer, the Honduras program will implement the plan for Santiago (developed over the 2014-2015 school year); this plan will likely include a new tank and distribution lines. The Los Eucaliptos Program has added various distribution pipelines, gabions, and a tank. The Tacachia, Bolivia program has installed/constructed pumps, various tanks, slow-sand water filters, and distribution lines. Next summer, the program will make adjustments to current system and add a new distribution pipeline from a new water source to the community.

     Engineers Without Borders MS&T looks forward to continuing efforts to improve people’s access to clean water and standard of living. Without funds raised through events like the Day of the Dead 5K Run, these efforts in partner communities would not be possible. Engineers Without Borders MS&T appreciates all participants and sponsors of this event, with a special thanks going to the event host/sponsor, Meramec Vineyards. Thanks also go to the St. James and Rolla communities for helping to promote the event and the chapter’s mission. Register Here!

alex ennis and brooklyn collins assessing the pros and cons of a spring near tacachia     The people of Tacachia, Bolivia are just a few steps away from having clean water in their homes. This summer, EWB-S&T traveled to the community to make a few final observations and measurements and get community input on which water source would best suit them. Using this information, EWB-S&T this semester. This is an ambitious timeframe, but after six years of visiting Tacachia, everyone involved plans to choose a spring and design a pipeline for Tacachia so that they can have water by the end of wants to see the idea of potable point-of-use water come to fruition.

Working towards this goal, here’s a summary of what we did this summer:

 - We assessed the pros and cons of each spring location

 - We surveyed from the distribution tanks to the springs to determine how much material

 - We cleaned, tested, troubleshot, and photo-documented the ram pumps to update our

 - We performed some maintenance on the distribution line, and identified places that needed

 - We surveyed the community members to determine their understanding of bio-sand filters

 - Masters in Public Health students from MU did a preliminary health assessment of the

     With all of this being accomplished, we have much work to do this semester to meet our goal of getting potable water to Tacachia by the end of the semester. The Tacachia team is  determined to work as hard as we can do make this dream a reality.


   EWB S&T’s Guatemala team traveled August 11th through the 17th with 9 students and 3 professional mentors to accomplish several tasks. The team was very excited to inspect the elevated tank which was completed in the winter of 2014. We worked with the community to verify the continuation of construction of the distribution system with hopes of completion in the coming year.The team was also able to determine ideal water meter locations, evaluate the flux of individuals on the system, and take inventory of the parts for distribution. After taking inventory and assessing what material was needed, especially for the week of August 11th, purchases were made. One of the purchases was made in order to continue piping across a bridge. This continuation of piping will allow construction to continue into the next section of community.

     Because a portion of pipe in the original plan will not be installed in the system, we found that a Pressure Break Tank will not be necessary. In place of the tank a pressure release valve will be installed. After walking along the distribution lines and talking with Felix Us,  the team learned that several valves were not installed where they were in the original plan. The community will now have to install valves at the set locations. In addition, a presentation was given to community member and the Water Committee updating them on the system and teaching some basic hygiene rules.

     In May 2014, EWB-S&T’s Honduras team sent 9 students and 2 mentors to Santiago to monitor the team’s chlorination efforts, continue leak assessments of the community water distribution system, investigate of water supply status in nearby Maranatha neighborhood, and to survey for potential water storage tank locations. The team was delighted to see the improvements that the community has made to their current system and the efforts they have put forth to sustain the projects that EWB-S&T has implemented.

      To monitor chlorination efforts, EWB-S&T performed BacT water analysis at houses on the distribution lines to test for fecal coliforms in the water. As predicted, homes receiving chlorine had no signs of such coliforms that can make their families sick. The team is also monitoring health clinic data for  water related illnesses as well as school attendance records. They are continuously fighting chlorine injector clogging issues and hope to mitigate all of those this year.

Kourtnee Long

     Santiago is a growing community, reaching almost 9,000 people according to the most recent census. With the growing population, the community faces growing water issues. EWB-S&T is working to assess if the current water capacity and water storage quantities are substantial for this size of community. The potential of adding an additional water storage tank is being investigated this school year with survey data, leak study data, and water usage data that was collected in May. 

    The team also had the pleasure of taking a day off with Dr. Raul Ugarte, the Alcalde of Pimienta, the governing Municipality of Santiago.  Dr. Ugarte and his family treated the team to a day at the beach in Puerto Cortes.

     The May trip provided the team with critical data that the team needs to continue their work in Santiago. The experiences gained from the trip touch not only the lives of families in Santiago but make a lasting impact on all of the team members as well. They look forward to another challenging and rewarding year.

More Articles...

  1. Travel Update - Los Eucaliptos, Bolivia
  2. February 2014 Update
  3. Honduras Update January 2014
  4. November 2013 Update

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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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