Project Meeting Notes: 1/31/2012

EWB Projects Meeting 1/31/12

Ekatsombero (rainwater catchment system)

Tried to put in a well, 2009, but is on a hill so can’t access water easily. Implemented half of a rainwater catchment system, summer 2011, so this winter tried to figure out what to do with the issues that came up at the end of the summer…

Currently: 2 school buildings have gutters, bring water to two 5,000 L tanks (all that’s installed so far) and then the schools boil the water for use. Intended to lead the tanks into a sand filter then into a larger, 24,000 L tank, but the big tank collapsed under the soil weight so the project stopped. The tank is underground so there’s enough water pressure for the water to push through sand filter.
Now, there’s a big hole in the ground. They removed the tank from the ground and built some rafters over it to support the tank so it won’t be further compromised.

Goals for Design: 1) Build structure for tank (consider soil pressure [brick masonry structure recommended by contractor because brick is cheapest]; drainage [if structure fills with water, tank will be pushed up out of ground, so how to drain water out of structure] – put gravel underneath?)
2) Access to clean tank (contractor thinking of that too)** 3) Safety (so kids don’t fall in hole), so over winter put barbed-wire fence around hole.
4) Still need to cover tank (to optimize use of tank, needs to be buried 1-2 feet)[wooden top, susceptible to termites and rotting, expensive to maintain; still need access to hatch]
5) Sand filter requires water on top to push water through (slowly), right now if 5,000 L tanks full might flood into sand filter too quickly and overwhelm it [holes in PVC piping to keep correct flow rate?], or should we just make pipes to sand filter smaller? -> water coming off of roof, shouldn’t be heavily polluted so first flush system (for bigger particles) and sand filter should be sufficient for cleaning the water

Materials: concrete, brick [2 most common], wood, iron/steel [2 more expensive]

Social issues: communicate with school management committee and parents [former headmaster removed, replaced by Henry] -> trouble communicating why we can’t drill a well there, plus summer of 2010, worked at Elwangele instead of at Ekatsombero while staying with former headmaster, so community not so happy.

This winter, addressed why rainwater catchment instead of a well, promised to finish it this summer, requested community assistance for housing for us to work there this summer, received support. Difficult to communicate with entire community so many people don’t know what’s going on with the project.