Belen - Current Situation

At some point after the 2010 trip, a local caretaker reassembled both the AquaSun Villager S3-4 water treatment system (Image 1) and the Sun-Mar EXCEL NE composting toilet (Image 2), and has been maintaining the two systems without proper training.

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Image 1: The AquaSun Villager S3-4 water treatment system

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Image 2: The Sun-Mar EXCEL NE composting toilet

The pre-clinic staff and the community rely on the systems for wastewater treatment and potable water. The composting toilet remains fully functional; however, there are a few issues with the water treatment system.

The water treatment system draws untreated water from a 150-gallon storage tank, which is located on a platform built right below the clinic floor (Image 3). A recently installed supply pipe going up to the pre-clinic has been connected to a pipe leading up to the storage tank. However, there is insufficient pressure in the pipe to reliably carry water the entire 16 foot vertical distance to the storage tank. Instead, water is taken from a hose above ground, (Image 4) which is connected to another municipal supply outlet farther away. The hose is plugged with a piece of wood when not in use (Image 5). The current caretaker, Teofilo, hires workers to help him carry buckets of water from the hose up to the storage tank. One trip between the hose and the storage tank is approximately 20 meters, and includes climbing up the stairs of the pre-clinic. Two people must make this trip around 40 times with buckets of water in order to fill up the storage tank. Given the rate of water usage in the pre-clinic, the storage tank is refilled about once every two days.

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Image 3: The water storage tank

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Image 4 Water outlet, from where the caretaker draws water

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Image 5: The end of the hose, plugged with a piece of wood

The AquaSun Villager S3-4 water treatment system has been disconnected from the solar array and instead connected to the local municipal power grid. The municipal power supply operates reliably 24 hours a day, and costs the pre-clinic around $10 to $15 a month. The solar power supply was destroyed due to a weather event and the solar battery was submerged under water.

See our recent blog post for info on how you can help us remedy these issues!

- EWB-NY Belen

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