Development of a Sustainable and Appropriate Drinking Water System for Montana de Luz and Nueva Esperanza, Honduras

EPA Grant Number: SU833184
Title: Development of a Sustainable and Appropriate Drinking Water System for Montana de Luz and Nueva Esperanza, Honduras
Investigators: Walker, Harold W , Merrill, John , Passino, Kevin
Current Investigators: Walker, Harold W , Haar, Theresa Vonder , Hough, Eric , Kurtz, Chris , Merrill, John , Passino, Kevin
Institution: The Ohio State University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through June 30, 2009
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


In this project, we plan to design an appropriate and sustainable water treatment and supply system for a small village (Nueva Esperanza) and nearby orphanage in rural Honduras. The orphanage, named “Montana de Luz,” is a home exclusively for children with HIV/AIDS. In preliminary trips by students to the area in 2004 and 2005, a number of water quality issues were identified, including high levels of arsenic, manganese, and periodic outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease. The area is exclusively rural, with limited electricity, water supply options, and material and financial resources. To design a sustainable and appropriate water supply system, the specific objectives of this P3 project will be to: (1) perform a site assessment to characterize the water quality and existing water treatment and supply infrastructure, and collect important design information; (2) perform laboratory testing for a number of As treatment options; and (3) carry out a sustainability assessment of various designs developed for improving the drinking water at the site. We will take into consideration a number of factors related to sustainability including technical, social, financial, environmental, and institutional factors. This project builds on work already conducted by undergraduate students over the last 2 years at Ohio State University. The project is innovative and novel in that the treatment technologies need to be effective not only at the laboratory- and full-scale, but must also be technologically appropriate by taking into account the needs, abilities and resources of the community it is designed to serve. The fact that the water system must be designed to meet the needs of an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS provides a challenging, additional constraint. The results obtained from this project will provide insight into appropriate technologies, support and institutions needed for producing safe and sustainable drinking water in the context of Latin America. However, many of the issues to be addressed in this project (e.g., arsenic contamination, microbial pathogens, rural location, lack of material and financial resources) are common to areas outside of Latin America. We will integrate the proposed project as an education tool in two ways; incorporating activities into existing and new courses, and utilizing the project as an activity for a college of Engineering student Organization (Engineers for Community Service-ECOS).

Supplemental Keywords:

drinking water, metals, pathogens, treatment, sustainable development,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Geographic Area, Water, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Drinking Water, Environmental Engineering, Urban and Regional Planning, International, microbiological organisms, sustainable development, Honduras, drinking water distribution system, drinking water treatment, water treatment, pollution prevention

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • Final Report