News at Princeton

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Multimedia: Student

Student Work: Clean water for Peru

Last summer, the Princeton chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-PU) traveled to La Pitajaya, Peru, to construct the first phase of a potable water system. The community currently gets their water from a large river in the area that unfortunately has become significantly polluted from villages upstream. Therefore, the EWB-PU team and La Pitajaya residents plan to construct a system to pipe clean drinking water from a mountain source to both the upper and lower parts of the town. The summer 2012 trip saw the EWB-PU team and community beginning construction of the system for the upper, or "alta," section.

Video Closed Captions

JEREMY BLAIR: From August 7 to
September 3, 2012, the EWB

Princeton Peru Team was on site
in La Pitajaya, Peru, to

construct the first phase of
a potable water system.

EMILY MODER: The drinking water
in this community comes

from the Rio Moche, which is
a very large river and the

dumping ground for lots of
communities upstream.

So it's not surprising that the
water in these irrigation

canals has tons of fecal
coliform and bacteria in it.

JEREMY BLAIR: Due to differences
in water

availability and elevation in
sections of the community, the

EWB team and Pitajaya residents
plan to construct

two separate water systems,
one for the upper part of

town, alta, and one for the
lower part of town, baja.

The first phase of the
project is the

completion of the alta section.

First, the team had to identify
a suitable site for

water collection.

The site that had been
identified on the previous

planning trips now had
inadequate flow

due to the dry season.

Therefore, the site of water
captured was moved up

substantially in elevation.

In addition to more water, this
new site also offered

increased pressure throughout
the distribution system.

The team also worked with the
community to carry out a

variety of construction tasks.

A concrete structure for water
capture was built at the

source, with a pipe connection
to a spring box,

a regulation tank.

The base slab for the plastic
reservoir tank was also


By the end of the implementation
trip, the

reservoir base, water collection
system, and

concrete regulation tank
were completed.

The team also dug one kilometer
of trenches and

installed and buried the
pipeline for the stretch of

the distribution network.

Despite a number of unforeseen
circumstances, including

additional government approvals
and a community

electrification project that
was occurring at the same

time, the EWB Team made
substantial progress and were

continually impressed and
inspired by the motivation and

dedication of La Pitajaya's

EMILY MODER: My favorite part
of this trip was definitely

working in the community and
feeling like we really became

a part the community.

Feeling like, whenever we went
to work in Pitajaya, I felt

like I was with people who had
a shared passion for this

project and what
we were doing.

We had shared jokes,
shared experiences.

And in a way, it really felt
like coming home every time.

motto is "In the nation's

service, and in the service of
all nations." And this is

probably the first time that
I'm really getting to

implement this motto, to go
out and make it a reality.

It's a great project
to be able to do

as a college student.

I never expected to be able to
actually serve people at such

a young age.

I think it's really
kind of an awesome

experience in that way.

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