engineers without borders 

university of maine student chapter: in honduras


Situated on the outskirts of Dulce Nombre in the Copan Department of western Honduras, Dulce Vivir is a small community of roughly 120 people. Formed in 2005, in a region that suffers an overall poor economy, Dulce Vivir's residents suffered significant challenges as a result of poor sanitation and limited access to safe water. Illnesses due to flooding and runoff, overflowing latrines, mosquito borne diseases from stagnant pools of water, and exposure to human waste needed to be addressed by solving their infrastructure-related problems.

Beginning in 2009, the Engineers Without Borders University of Maine chapter (EWB-UMaine) began work with the residents of Dulce Vivir to implement a long-term wastewater treatment solution by installing a sanitary sewer and septic leach field system.

In 2011, Woodard & Curran Foundation granted an award of $5000 to EWB-UMaine to complete the second phase of this project - installation of the septic tanks and construction of two raised-mound leach fields. The completion of this phase will provide a more reliable and lasting method of handling wastewater from the community, and solve the problem of surfacing blackwater while providing a manageable solution for greywater, which is currently dumped into residents' back yards. This protection from untreated wastewater enables the residents of Dulce Vivir to live in a cleaner and more habitable environment and has significantly improved sanitary conditions.

In alignment with our mission and goals, we chose EWB-UMaine to receive these funds due to their dedication, not just to implementing a solution, but to the creation of a long-term sustainable solution, community and relationship building, and skill development for Dulce Vivir's residents and their students.

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