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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. 


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.

More Articles...

  1. Travel Update - Nahualate, Guatemala
  2. Travel Update - Santiago, Honduras
  3. Travel Update - Los Eucaliptos, Bolivia
  4. February 2014 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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