10 January 2013

AguaClara in Honduras: Day 6


Today the AguaClara team members were able to view and compare AguaClara technology with that of a conventional treatment plant. Having spent the past two days in Atima, home of the most recently completed AguaClara plant offering the latest in AguaClara designs, we were able to directly compare the benefits and also downfalls of AguaClara plants and conventional design. Having this experience was truly incredible. Due to an original technical difficulty which caused additional issues, the conventional plant in Siguatepeque was unable to operate at its full potential. Because of the plant's reliance on automation, operators were left with multiple problem areas. This has proved one thing: simplicity is key. While AguaClara technologies are smaller scale and not yet able to produce the same quantity as the conventional plant, our assurance in the AguaClara philosophy was re-confirmed. 

After reflecting on our experiences so far, we all recognize that though the work we are doing in Honduras and in Ithaca is making a difference, there are so many other parts of a clean, healthy water system that enable it to function and succeed. I'm sure that we will have many more eye-opening and enlightening experiences in the remaining time we have in Honduras, and hopefully we can keep all of you in the loop! 

09 January 2013

AguaClara in Honduras: Day 5

Greetings from Atima, Honduras!

It is now Day 5 of our trek through Honduras and we are currently in Atima in the region of Santa Barbara visiting our most recently finished AguaClara plant. We spent the first few days at Lago Yojoa where we familiarized ourselves with the surrounding area and took a look at a potential site for an AguaClara plant.

Monroe Weber-Shirk tweaking the miniature plant which will be used by Agua Para el  Pueblo (APP) to demonstrate our technology to candidate communities for treatment plants.
Right now at the Atima plant, we are assembling demo versions of the Low-Flow Stacked Rapid Sand Filter (LF-SRSF) and Foam Filter, and we have put together our demo plant (which stayed intact through the flight!) and is now functioning properly! Yesterday the operators of the plants showed us how they disassemble and clean the sedimentation tank and allowed us to climb inside and see how the floc hopper is constructed at full scale. Ethan Yen '15 says, "It was nice to see how easy it was to take apart and put back together...especially when the floc hopper gets clogged...and the floc hopper was a lot smaller than I thought it would be."

Coming and seeing the plant painted a full picture of how our research back in Ithaca is implemented in our plants. In tandem with speaking to our host family, I can now see how our work is actively affecting peoples' lives in real communities.

We'll be updating as often as we can, so keep a lookout for any new posts! For now, here's a picture of the current assembling of the LF-SRSF.
Frances Ciolino, M.Eng. '13

04 January 2013

AguaClara Kicks Off New Year in Honduras

Part of the AguaClara team will be jetting off to Honduras early tomorrow morning and we're all super excited! We will spend two weeks visiting existing plants, watching demos, and partake in some other activities that will serve to expand our knowledge of water treatment in Honduras (as well as have a bit of fun and bonding with the team).

Wish us luck as we travel to a warmer climate and keep your eye out for further posts during our stay there as well as afterwards!