Clean drinking water…finally!
It has been a longer journey than we anticipated for the kids of Westfalia Orphanage, but clean drinking water is now provided to a dedicated faucet in the main kitchen. This eliminates the need to boil dirty water every day to supply the houses and to provide drinking water for the almost 100 children to take to school. No more wasting money on propane for boiling. No more running out of drinking water before they run out of day.
The process required ordering numerous components from the U.S. and Canada as they were not available in Peru. We could have sourced items here to install a system without the safety feature that we wanted, but that was not acceptable. Sourcing what we wanted from the U.S. increased the cost by more than $450, but that was a small price to pay for the security that we felt was imperative. The photo below shows the complete system.
I think that the only items in this photo that were sourced in Peru would include the pipes, the valves and the board the system is mounted on. We could not source the clear filter containers, and we wanted those so that a visual inspection of the filters was possible without taking them apart. We also could not source the quality of filters that we wanted, the UV sterilizer that would accept a solenoid valve to protect against using contaminated water in the event of bulb failure, low UV emission or electrical failure. To us, that was a priority. In the event of any of those circumstances, the vale closes and the water supply is shut off. No chance of using contaminated water.
At the top center of the board is the UV monitor that indicates UV emission, running at a perfect 99%, counts the days until bulb replacement and also sounds an alarm if there is any bulb failure of loss of UV. To the right of that is a circuit breaker that protects the system from any possible electrical overload. At the far left is the brass solenoid valve connected to the UV sterilizer. To the right, mounted on a separate board, is a pump that guarantees a constant flow of 3 gallons per minute, sufficient to push water through the large carbon filter at the bottom right. The system includes the carbon filter and two sediment filters. The valve at the lower left is only for draining the system when we need to change the UV bulb or the filters.
In the photo below you can see the new water tank on the left. This tank is dedicated solely to drinking and cooking water as well as washing fruits and vegetables. The other tank will receive untreated water and will be used only for cleaning.
Below are close up photos of each section of the system. We installed complete instructions in Spanish as well as a tag to indicate the date of every bulb change and a large warning label about the danger of handling the bulb during changing.
We checked the system and everything was perfect. The best part, everyone was thrilled with it as you can see from some of the photos below of the children sampling the new, clean water. The work of boiling and distributing drinking water for almost 100 children is a thing of the past. The days of the children going thirsty in late afternoon and at night because the boiled water had been used up, history! Every morning they fill the water jugs for the houses from the dedicated faucet in less than 20 minutes. When they need a refill, no problem. We have done a lot of things here, but I rate this as by far the most rewarding thing that we have accomplished. We could not have done it without the generous donations of some wonderful people. You really have made a huge difference in the lives of these children.
We are now investigating and planning for phase 2 which would involve only using water from the well and never from the river (except for watering gardens, etc.), cleansing the 45,000 litre cistern as well as the pipes leading to the houses and the interior plumbing with a chlorine shock, installing some form of purification system to the cistern (likely chlorine injection and ozone treatment) and feeding clean water to every house. Clean water to drink, brush their teeth, shower, wash their clothes and clean their dishes. This would also involve installing a solar electric system at the well location and eliminating the need to spend $1,000 a month on diesel fuel to run the existing pump. We would also move to using a submersible well pump instead of the elevated pump that they now use. The details are complex and we are very fortunate to have amazing help from Randy, who has been invaluable with his help and knowledge. I know that he is mulling over this project already and will come up with a detailed plan. The frightening part will be the cost. That will be huge by comparison to what we spent on Phase 1. But on we go! A huge thanks to George as well for steering this project with Randy. Amazing work guys. Thanks also to those who donated and helped these kids have clean, drinking water that will never run out!
from → Projects