The water issue in San Pablo is multifaceted. Due to San Pablo’s location, there is an abundance of rainwater in the wet season (May – Oct) and not enough water during the dry season. In addition to the uneven distribution of rainwater, potable water is not readily available. For families to have drinking water, the water is usually boiled or purchased.
Currently, we see that the school and one family filters their water, and that another family use a rudimentary method of SoDis. The filters, however do not remove large amounts of bacteria (aeromonas). We were unable to test the local SoDis water, but were able to test water from our own SoDis bag, and got promising results.
1. To learn more about the sanitation issues in San Pablo, and to learn about water sanitation methods currently used.
2. To investigate sources of contamination through various tests and observations.
3. To construct a rainwater collection prototype on Casa Guateca using local resources.
4. To complete a full scale evaluation of water quality in San Pablo.
5. To perform various tests of current water treatment measures.
1. To learn more about water sanitation methods, and contamination risks.
2. To come up with appropriate designs for rain water collection for the community.
1. Our proposed problem was not realized upon arriving in San Pablo.
- After observing the conditions in San Pablo, we discovered that a Slow Sand Filter was not the most appropriate technology for the people here due to:
- Long term Maintenance
- Materials, cost limitations
2. The materials we needed were not always available in the region.
3. Research and communication were difficult.
- Internet connectivity and reliability
About the Water Distribution System in San Pablo
There are 4 different water sources that serve the 5 different sectors of San Pablo. Water is collected into water distribution tanks at the source, and at distribution tanks throughout San Pablo. Water passes through distribution tank to tank and finally to houses via 2 inch PVC pipes, that often surface from underground and then break due to heavy rains. Water then becomes contaminated. The biggest problems with contamination that we have seen are with non-fecal coliform and aeromonas, which cause gastrointestinal illnesses (stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea).
Rain Water Collection
Because of the lack of water during the dry season in San Pablo, we created a rainwater catchment system to be affixed to rooftops. Hopefully, rainwater catchment systems will free the community from a faulty, unsafe water distribution system and store water to irrigate crops during the dry season.
Our current design is intended for domestic use such as hand washing, dish washing, watering potted plants or small gardens. Some modifications are necessary if a catchment system can be installed and used for larger scale, agricultural purposes.
We have mounted metal gutters to the roof with wooden crutches. Water that comes out the gutter spout will drain and be stored into a 55 gallon tank. There is a faucet at the bottom of the tank to dispense stored water. No pressure system or syphon is needed to deliver water.
When the tank becomes full, the user can simply detach the gutter pipe from the tank, and close the depository. It is also possible that in the future a float valve may be installed. This would improve the structure of the system because you would not be detaching parts and having to keep watch on the tank levels.
We are now left with a full tank of water and an effective gutter system which, when paired with a French drain, effectively keeps water from damaging the foundation of the house.
Jessica- Is your pamphlet thing ready to be posted here?
Questions to address with this design:
- Is the water safe to drink during the wet season?
- Is the water safe to drink during the dry season? Can water be stored in tank for long periods of time and still be safe to drink? If quality deteriorates, is there a way to improve quality or to prevent quality from degenerating?
Possible, Future Directions for this Design:
- Storing the water tank further from the house to use in agriculture– possibly with longer, more flexible tubes or garden hoses.
- A larger water tank or a multiple tank storage system to keep more water.
- Live feedback to determine how full the water tank is.
- Create a design to use in conjunction with a greenhouse.
- Create an overflow valve for excess water to escape tank so that user does not need to detached tube. Easier maintenance.
Project Oveview: In December of 2010, a group of students from Cal Poly came to San Pablo to run preliminary testing on the water sources attempting to find out if and what bacteria were in the water used by San Pablo. It was concluded that yes, there were coliforms found in the water tested, but amounts were unknown. Knowing this, we enlisted the help of a water resource engineer, Ian Buck, who graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Civil Engineering. Ian joined our group in San Pablo for the last two weeks there to help us learn about water sanitation and perform more thorough tests on not only the sources near and around San Pablo, but also the tap and drinking water in the homes.
Harndess, Alkalinity, pH
Coliforms (Fecal, Other), Aeramonas, Salmonella
It was determined that at the sources, the levels of chemicals and bacteria in the water taken directly from the sources contained little to no chemicals, and bacteria levels below EPA restrictions in the United States. However, this was not the case for water samples taken from the tap in various homes in San Pablo, nor for the tap water taken from the same houses. Depending on the amount of time the water is left in the tank before being drank, level of bacteria grew fast past EPA Standards. The file below yields all of the results carried out by the various tests performed.
Guateca Water Quality Data Word.xls
Possible, Future Direction for Sanitation:
- Performing tests on boiling water times and their related effectiveness
- Find a detailed map of the piping system in San Pablo
- Educate the people in San Pablo about using Chlorine to help purify their water
Below are presentations prepared in English and Spanish for a brief overview of what has already been presented thus far on this sort. This presentation may only be used for educational purposes. Note: Please have the Microsoft Office 2007 or later to view documents below.
Final Project Presentation – English.ppt
Final Project Presentation – Espanol.pptx
All of these pictures represent our time in San Pablo working together as the Water Sanitation and Collection Group.
Katie Eng: Second Year Statistics major from Ventura County, California.
Dayton Pickering: Fourth Year BioEnvironmental Engineer from Woodside, California.
Jessica Riccio: Fourth Year LAES major from Hemet, California.
Rury Velasquez: Carpenter Apprentice from San Pablo, San Marcos, Guatemala.
Ian Buck: Water Resource Engineer and Cal Poly Alumni from Sacramento, California