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Engineers Collaborate Across Borders to Bring Clean Water to El Salvador
Employees in Fluor's Aliso Viejo, California and Buenos Aires, Argentina, offices recently demonstrated the One Fluor mindset and their ingenuity while working with Engineers Without Borders to help small villages in El Salvador retrieve clean water.
In El Salvador, nearly 90 percent of the residents in three small villages - El Rosario, Las Delicias and Las Animas – purchase their drinking water off a truck, depleting as much as 30 percent of their monthly income. Available water is mostly untreated and many homes' storage tanks are uncovered. As a consequence, the residents often contract waterborne illnesses, which tragically can be lethal, especially to young children.
Engineers Without Borders asked a team of Fluor engineers to help create an efficient method for transferring drinking water from the well site to a network of storage tanks and distribution to homes. With the community members providing the labor to install the piping, a team of eight engineers – five from Aliso Viejo and three from Buenos Aires – volunteered time in the evenings and weekends to identify the necessary pumps, electrical and control systems.
Aliso Viejo volunteer team
Two Buenos Aires volunteer team members: Brian David, left, and Alejandro Romano, right.
The final phase of this project completed a 30-year effort to bring clean drinking water to the villages. Sixty kilometers of pipe were installed, four storage tanks constructed and three pumping stations built. Fluor engineers from Aliso Viejo and Buenos Aires designed the largest of the pump stations and developed a control strategy for supplying the water to the various communities. The team also provided recommendations on tank safety and water quality.
"To help bring clean drinking water to these communities was a privilege. For the 7,000 people living in these villages, it means a reduction in waterborne illness, reduced infant mortality, greater disposable income and the opportunity to attract teachers for their schools. It provides the opportunity for these communities to grow, and the work and effort made by the community to build this system is a source of pride," said Bill Onstot, director, Process Engineering, Southern California. "Fluor played an important role in this outcome. Engineers from Buenos Aires and Aliso Viejo worked together to produce the mechanical and electrical designs and specifications for the pump station and control system. One member of the team, Babak Firoozi, actually traveled to El Salvador to ensure that project requirements were being met.”
The city of Las Delicias recently purchased and installed the pump and electrical system, as well as implemented some of Fluor’s tank recommendations. Due to local politics and a lack of funding, there are limitations as to what recommendations could be immediately implemented; however, ADSA does plan to implement the majority of them.
Ultimately, more than 10,000 residents in these villages will finally get clean drinking water after 30 years. In total, Fluor volunteers contributed $60,000 worth of volunteer time to the project. The availability of clean, reliable water will help spur the growth of the local economy, as it is hoped that more people will look to move to these communities because of this dramatic infrastructure change.