A team of employees from PBS&J’s Jacksonville office recently traveled to El Adelanto, Guatemala, for a week to participate in a voluntary effort to install a water system. PBS&J employees joined volunteers with Wisconsin Water for the World, an organization that works to provide resources for safe drinking water to people in needy communities, and Agua Para Salud, an in-country, nonprofit organization dedicated to building water systems throughout Guatemala.
“Locals of El Adelanto face severe health and hygiene issues due to limited access to clean water,” said Heather Cavanagh, an engineer with PBS&J and one of the participating volunteers. “It was a very rewarding experience for our team of volunteers to work side by side with our client (JEA of Jacksonville, Fla.) and a dedicated team of locals to build the much-needed functional water system, and teach health and hygiene in the elementary school.”
Located in rugged mountainous terrain west of Guatemala City, El Adelanto has a total population of 1,200 people. The volunteer team used a nearby mountain spring as its source for the water. The completed project included an installed storage tank, collection basin and transmission piping to transport the water from its source to the new faucets. A disinfection mechanism and water meters also were installed.
The new water system provides approximately 50 homes and more than 300 residents in the area access to sanitized water. Recent rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Agatha damaged nearby water systems, but the new installation in El Adelanto remains intact.
Other donors contributing to the project included Florida Water Environment Assn., Florida Rotary Partners and Florida Section of American Water Works Assn.