Today, I have something very exciting to blog about: Bio Sand Filters. For those of you who don’t know what a bio sand filter is, it is point of use filtration system that filters water by passing it through an active biological layer full of microorganisms that predate whatever cellular life may be in the water, the water then passes through a column of sand to further trap particulate matter that may cause water to be discolored or turbid. It is an incredible filter for the developing world as it uses no electricity and is a completely self-sustaining method of filtration. It can last for several decades without any problems. I encourage you to read more about bio sand filters from its inventor, David Manz. You can find his site here: http://manzwaterinfo.ca/ David Manz freely distributes the construction plans and installation guides for the filter.
Here in the Dominican Republic, a gentleman by the name of Jose Rivas runs a Bio Sand Filters workshop in the city of Dajabon where he manufactures, delivers, and installs Bio Sand Filters for domestic use. Jose Rivas has 15 years of experience working with these filters and is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject. The issue with these filters always came down to funding. It can be a prohibitive point for a lot of projects that Peace Corps Volunteers want to do with their communities.
Peace Corps Dominican Republic has been working in this country for over 50 years. In that time PC/DR has compiled an impressive number of collaborations and partnerships across all the sectors in which we work. A fellow volunteer put me in contact with a gentleman by the name of Bob Hildreth, who is running a development project here in the DR called Project Las Americas. You can check them out here, http://www.projectlasamericas.com/. Bob and his organization graciously agreed to fund 40 Bio Sand Filters to be used and installed in my community. My first thoughts were “This is amazing!” I was absolutely elated to get the opportunity to bring such an amazing technology to the people in my community.
In order to receive the filters, each beneficiary family had to attend an educational charla to understand what they were receiving. Additionally, each family had to pay for transport of the filter to their homes, which we brought to my site in a flat bed truck. Installation day was an incredible mix of excitement and sweat. We worked hard, 12 hours a day for the whole weekend, unloading filters, carrying them into the houses and installing them for use. I cannot begin to express how impressed I was with Jose and his team. They are an incredibly professional and courteous team who are truly dedicated to bringing clean, filtered water to the people of the Dominican Republic.
Two weeks later, the residents of Don Miguel and El Tamarindo absolutely in love their new water filters. The people here are happy to have a safe, reliable method of water filtration that sustains itself for years to come. None of this would have been possible without the incredibly generous donation from Bob Hildreth and Project Las Americas. They are doing incredible work in the DR and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with them.
For me, this project has been a huge success. Potable water was a major issue that I recognized when I first did my community diagnostic a year ago. It has always been in my project plan to find water filters for my community. I am very satisfied with the outcome and I hope that the rest of my projects here are equally as successful.