10 December 2014

Jesús de Otoro, AguaClara's 10th Plant

The AguaClara program is proud to announce the operation of the full scale water treatment plant in Jesús de Otoro, Intibucá, Honduras. This plant is the 10th to come on line in Honduras in less than 10 years and provides clean drinking water to more than 4,000 people. This means AguaClara technologies in Central America supply potable water to more than 40,000 individuals!


Construction of the plant began in May and Agua Para el Pueblo has been training local operators from Jesús de Otoro in the theory and practice of water treatment since August. These operators, for their part, have been working hard to not only learn about water treatment, but also to build and install the hydraulic components of the plant. Their hard work is finally paying off as they can now see the clean water they are helping to supply to their families and neighbors.

Over the next two months, Agua Para el Pueblo will transition complete control of the plant to the local water board, JABASCO.  The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE) funded the construction of this plant, but the local water board and users of the water system will pay for the sustainable use of this water for years to come. We have been working closely with the members of JABASCO throughout the construction and training process and know they will sustainably provide clean water to Jesús de Otoro. The people of Jesús de Otoro will officially inaugurate the plant in January, 2015.
Agua Para el Pueblo Employees along with the plant operator candidates outside the completed plant in Jesus de Otoro

24 November 2014

Team Spotlight: Ram Pump

The main purpose for the Ram Pump is to provide AguaClara plant bathrooms with clean water. This semester the Ram Pump subteam will be focusing on deciding whether or not the Ram Pump should be a stand alone entity or a part of the plant itself. Ultimately, deciding whether or not to include the Ram Pump as a part of the plant is a cost consideration. The pump could be sold separately to reduce construction costs.

Ram Pumps are not an AguaClara innovation and are sold commercially. Past Ram Pump subteams have tested the AguaClara design for the Ram Pump to commercially bought Pumps and discovered that the AguaClara design performs just as well as the commercially bought product but costs significantly less.
“The cost of the AguaClara Ram Pump design is probably under $100,” Abby Brown ‘17 said.

The Ram Pump design was implemented into the San Nicholas plant during the Honduras trip this past winter break. The pump initially worked great but has since stopped working. The current team is attempting the accurately model the actual plant design in order to work out the kinks in the system.

“the pump itself is doing what it needs to be doing.There’s not enough head loss,” Brown said.

In order to increase the head loss the team would have to raise the system which has proven difficult.

“Overall the problem is we can’t simulate the environment accurately because we’re just in room and can’t raise the bucket as high as it would be in the field,” Kadambari Suri ‘17 explained.

03 November 2014

Team Profile: Stacked Rapid Sand Filter

Stacked Rapid Sand Filters are an AguaClara innovation that are significantly easier to operate and maintain in AguaClara plants. The Enclosed Stacked Rapid Sand Filters are an adaptation of these filters for flow rates of 3 L/s or less. Flow rates such as these are common through the India plants and the eSTaRs subteam will be working closely with AguaClara LLC in India. This Semester’s team consists of Senior Environmental Engineering majors Mary Millard, Sarah Bolander and Savannah Wing, Operations Research Junior Skyler Erickson and Sophomore Environmental Engineer Subhani Katugampala.

The eStaRs subteam was a part of the AguaClara summer internship program.

“The biggest project over the summer was getting the backwash system working,” Millard said.

This semester’s team will be working closely with engineers on the ground in India. “We’re hoping to help solve a lot of the problems going on in Gufu,” Erickson said. “We really want to find the upward turbidity the system can handle and by the end of the semester we’ll have a better understanding of the extremes the system can handle in the field.”

“We’re currently discussing how we could run several filters in parallel,” Bolander said “They’re already doing this in India but we’re looking for something more easy to handle.”

Summing up the semester’s goal nicely Millard noted “The LLC is working with TaTa in India and trying to produce next version eSTaRs on a large scale. We want to use our data in the lab to make sure it’s fine tuned and improved.”

27 October 2014

Chemical Dose Controller (CDC) Team Profile


After fabricating a new design for the Chemical Dose Controller (CDC), this semester’s team consisting of Senior Environmental Engineers Jeanette Liu and Andrea Cashon and Sophomore Chemical Engineer Christine Leu, looks to begin testing this semester.


In an AguaClara plant, the chemical dose controller acts as a semi-automated system that linearly increases the dosage of disinfectant and coagulant with an increase of flow. With this, AguaClara plants can operate at the most efficient chemical dosage levels despite any changes of flow through the plant.

Last semester, CDC fabricated a lighter lever arm, thus making it easier to ship, intended for plants with lower flow rates that do not need coagulant, such as in India. In addition to being light, the head tank must be chlorine resistant due to the AguaClara plants use of Chlorine as a disinfectant. Last semester’s CDC team adjusted a Nalgene water bottle to act as the head tank.

Looking to this semester, CDC anticipates to now test the equipment. One specific concern is that while the body of the Nalgene bottle is chlorine resistant, the cap is not, so additional adjustments and fabrication may be required. One of the current proposed solutions to the corrosion issue is to use a PVC pipe instead of a nalgene bottle and fasten a cap to the bottom of the PVC pipe. Additionally, the CDC team will be looking at testing the LFOM to determine if the size decreases by 10 cm if the linear relationship between the flow into the plant and the dosing still applies. If these test prove the relationship still stands the tank size can be scaled down. The scaled down plant size has the potential to cut construction plants and increase AguaClara plant efficiencies. The overall goal of the semester, however, is to see if all of the small adjustments, such as new eye bolts that are susceptible to corrosion and height adjustments, to the overall system will result in a greater improvement to the plant.

Eventually, the team hopes to make an equipment list and a guide to send out to plants on how to construct the improved CDC system.