The Detroit Chapter of Engineers Without Borders is working with the village of Laguna de Apoyo on a project to provide safe drinking water for all members of the community.
The Detroit Chapter has partnered with a local non-profit located within the village. A Water Committee has also been established. This committee will serve to represent the community throughout the project and ensure that the communities best interests are kept at heart.
Assessing Water Sources
There are few reliable water sources in the area. The surface water in the lake has Arsenic levels up to 30 times the World Health Organization’s recommended limit. The only nearby municipality is unable to provide water the community and because the dry season lasts for six months of the year, rain catchment is unfeasible.
Most residents rely on shallow, hand dug wells for drinking water. These wells pull only the top layer of ground water, which still contains significant levels of Arsenic. Additionally, these wells
are too shallow to provide protection on bacterial contamination caused by rainwater runoff. Laboratory analysis of groundwater from deeper, machine drilled wells has shown no Arsenic contamination.
Currently in the Assessment phase of this project, the Detroit Chapter is generating possible
solutions and designs which would provide safe drinking water to the community. One proposal is to drill a deep well in a central location and install a distribution system to reach each house. Alternatively, in-home Arsenic removal systems could be designed and installed at each home.
As the assessment phase continues, potential solutions will be discussed with the Water Committee and an alternative will be chosen. Funding for construction materials will be provided by the Detroit Chapter, with a 5% match from the community. The community will provide volunteer labor.