Engineers Without Borders Bringing Clean Water to Armenta, Honduras
An Engineers Without Borders Team (EWB), led by Scott Eshleman of our Chicago Office, is continuing an effort to bring clean water to the village of Armenta, which is nestled in the foothills of a large mountain range in the Honduras.
Comprised of members of our Chicago, Denver, and Phoenix offices, the team is working to connect a 55,000 gallon water storage tank, complete with valves and connection, to the current 12,000 gallon water storage tank in the village. Armenta, population 2,000, has adequately clean water from a mountain stream source. However, their storage systems create health problems that are completely avoidable.
Scott shares, "the need for this project is of upmost importance as many of the 370 homes in Armenta only receive water once or twice a week. Although the water 8,000 feet up the mountainside is safe to drink, the storage in the village creates areas for contamination. Storing water in pillas, a concrete tank with two holding basins that measure about a cubic yard each, is the cause of the unsanitary water. Without chlorination or protection from external contamination, unsanitary results prevail."
The first phase of the project is now complete and fundraising efforts are under way for upcoming project phases. These will include: raising the water source dam, removing and reconstructing a sediment tank, constructing two 150 foot pipe suspension bridges over a mountain gorge, laying approximately 8,000 feet of six foot PVC and galvanized iron pipe, completing a pipe distribution network to all the homes, and installing a second 55,000 gallon water storage tank. The next set of trips is scheduled for January or February of 2014.
As part of the trip, Jenny Jablonski headed up an effort to collect and distribute much needed shoes and toiletry items for the community's many children. Members of our Chicago Office raised enough to allow the team to hand out over 100 brightly colored toothbrushes, many tubes of toothpaste, and a dozen new soccer balls – one to each of the village's soccer teams.
"It was a great way to finish the trip, with the sight of the many smiling and laughing faces." Three duffle bags of shoes were "gone in less than 15 minutes," said Jenny, "the kids were all so excited and appreciative.