EWB-NY has partnered with the Yamabal community since 2011 with the overall goal of improving public health through sustainable water and sanitation solutions.
In Yamabal, the sanitary physical structure and water system of the community are degraded. Only about half of the homes surveyed by the Yamabal EWB Team (the Team) had one or more latrines on their property that were being used correctly. Many owners use pit latrines, or hand-dug holes. These pit latrines were constructed by the owners and were of variable construction quality and condition. However due to poor transfer of skills to locals, improper seismic design, improper chamber cleaning, erosion of surrounding latrine foundation, these latrines have fallen into disrepair. Additionally, preventable water-borne illnesses are prevalent throughout the community. Illnesses are caused by poor hygiene, limited access to health care, lack of running water, poor latrine access, lack of waste management, poor house construction quality, malnutrition, and poor indoor air quality. Improving the water and sanitation infrastructure and implementing a water treatment system within the area will address public health within the community so that the people can focus better on socially and economically productive tasks.
Initially, the Yamabal team focused its efforts on designing a composting latrine for community members to own. Since finalizing the design, we have installed 17 composting latrines, and strong interest from the community remains. Since the initial stages of design and implementation have passed, we are now focused on the preparing to implement a water treatment design to provide water for significant populations of the community, specifically a school and a medical clinic.
Our overall objectives for the project include: (1) providing the school with treated drinking water (2) transporting potable water to the medical clinic from the school; and (3) continuing to install composting latrines for families in the community.
The designed water treatment system consists of consist of three components: (1) sand filters, (2) a drip chlorination tank, and (3) a drinking water storage/contact tank. The system is intended to: (1) reduce water turbidity; (2) treat the water for viruses (and giardia); and (3) store water intended for ingestion, only.
In Spring 2015, the Team traveled to Yamabal to assess feasibility, collect technical information, and perform tests in order to design a practical, appropriate and sustainable water treatment system. The information collected has been used to design the water treatment system. Additionally, we oversaw the construction of 11 latrines for families in the community. At this stage, the team is testing the water treatment design and preparing for implementation.
The team is planning to travel to the community during Winter 2016-2017 to implement the water treatment design. Fundraising efforts for implementation also continue in order to implement the water treatment system and install more latrines.