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Michigan Technological University (MTU) has completed its fieldwork for global brigades Panama (GBP) and Footprint Possibilities Inc (FPP). During the previous 10 days they have deployed to the Darien region of Panama. There they have worked in two villages that require design services. The design will be for complete water collection, transportation, storage, treatment and a distribution systems.
The field visit built on the initial survey completed by footprints. MTU verified and expanded on the survey completed in July. New work included measurement of the improvements needed at the source for water, routing of the main transmission line to the village and locating the base for the elevated water tanks.
At La Penita It was discovered that the government has already started a water intake structure at the river, installed a pipeline feeder to the village and has constructed the beginning of the water storage tank. This infrastructure was not picked up on the initial survey in July, but will be added to the design.
MTU will return to the United States on 23 August and will start their design. The schedule is to have a conceptual design ready in October. By December a final design with drawings and a bill of materials will be ready. With this global brigades Panama will move forward to secure materials and donations needed to construct the systems for both village communities.
Thanks to MTU, global brigades Panama and it’s volunteers.
11Aug19 is a Sunday but by the images one would not suspect this. A good showing was made by both areas, especially the Pollo area, where significant numbers of volunteers (many men) came out to work. This was needed in order to close a lot of the open activities required to repair erosion damage in both areas.
Erosion Repair in the Pollo area was a particular focus. 14 volunteers showed up From this area to work and they quickly got down to the task at hand. All of the remaining pipeline was dug in where exposed from soil erosion. The men made quick work of areas that were in soil and the only remaining erosion control damage that needs repair is from pipe exposed on rock. This will be accomplished in the following two or three days.
Home connections were completed in the Pollo area. All homes are now connected to the distribution network in both India and Pollo. There remains 2 Pollo homes not connected; these have community issue of residency which is a matter to be solved by local community decision.
Erosion repair in the India Area was needed at the access road located at the base of the hill which departs from the open parking area. Severe damage was made by truck tires to some pipe line which had been exposed to by soil erosion. 12 volunteers (all men) showed up to repair damaged pipe from trucks. The entire 50M of Line was dug in where exposed pipe had been located.
In all it was a very good day. Especially being a Sunday to have 26 volunteers show up is a good sign that capacity building and community spirit are starting to form in this area. It’s without doubt that this project has brought these areas together. It’s good to see this type of cooperation. It has been noted by the community that they have the university of California Berkeley to thank for a continued and sustained effort. It was noted by some in the community that the university has repeatedly returned, has not forgotten them, or abandoned the families and the improvements to the infrastructure that have been made. Many thanks to Engineers without Borders USA as well.
Evidence that the filter is working can be found in the fact that the community on its own is expanding trenching for new pipe. The community school, church and remaining residents want to be connected to the new potable water network. By itself this is all the proof that you need that the school has improved the quality of the water that is available to this village.
An inspection of the water quality coming from the raw water as compared to the slow sand filter was completed. Visually they are in stark contrast. The slow sand filter water is clear with no visible turbidity. It is also chlorinated. The taste is very clean and there is no evidence of sedimentation. The community is very happy with how this has evolved and are satisfied with the improved quality of the water.
By Panamanian building code sources of potable water must be fenced and protected from unauthorized access. Footprint is providing fencing for the slow sand filter to meet this requirement. It will also keep unauthorized hands away from the chlorinator and supply valves.
The new storage tank provided by the Rotary club of Nevada Reno will also be serviced. There is no evidence of sediment in this tank which is in contrast to the raw water tank which had 1 to 2 inches of accumulated organic material at its base. The community is keen to expand it’s portable water storage capacity and is in need of two additional 8000 L tanks.
In all a very good visit well needed and appreciated by the community. The work that the students of the SAIWI chapter at the University of Reno Nevada did is very effective. This filter works. It may well be the only functioning slow sand filter in the Panama city metropolitan area and perhaps in the entire Republic. These filters are not easy to engineer, prepare sand for, or construct. Check out the earlier albums found in this site to see what we are speaking about. Stay tuned.
These products will need work in the future and additional resources in order to provide further evidence and findings. But, the projects and the scope assigned to the teams have been completed.
For the FT team 44 plants were identified. A majority were collected, preserved and mounted. 32 have physical specimens. The ecology has greatly changed over time. As explained natural forces and man-made factors both contributed. Half of the species are native and half are non-native with 18% invasive.
The GT team also had good conclusions and it’s closing report. The workshop was held with the IT department of the foundation. They will need to follow the O & M manual and update the native application each time either Apple or android update their software. This is typically done annually. The applications were tested both locally, inside and outside of Panama. Both the Apple and android native applications work. A physical brochure was also produced, printed and provided in soft copy. Both the applications and brochures are in English and French. But, the Phone application hopefully will replace the printed brochure, save resources and budget.
Most importantly the applications have been monetized. This will allow the foundation hopefully to collect a small contribution in exchange for use of the application. The greatest benefit for all is that the visitor can permanently have the application, which is a virtual tour of the site, on their phone after they leave. Hopefully this will broadcast the foundations work, provide virtual tours of the facility and take the experience that visitors have had with them after they leave. They will be able to share these with your friends and families.
All in all it’s been a very successful visit. It’s great to see real world real life projects evolve from volunteer work. This is sadly not always the fact. But with WPI one thing is always certain. When they leave they leave behind value. We look forward to working with them again next year