Q&A: Children In Crisis Primary School Rainwater Harvest System

Applicant Bank-On-Rain Plan ID: 416
Status: approved_accepted Review Cycle end date: 2012-09-07

Discussion Forum

PWX members can use this space to discuss elements of the App. PWX members can post questions or comments and they will be seen by everybody. Any PWX member can respond to the questions and comments, not just the submitter.

Tanks: capacity & durability

Posted about 7 years ago

How many tanks will be installed?
What is the individual capacity of each tank?
How durable are they? It is mentioned that they are expected to last 25 years.
How easy are they to repair? From the description, I guess they are made from durable plastic. What kinds of damages are expected and how will they be repaired?

Tanks: capacity & durability

Posted about 7 years ago

The tanks are roto-molded plastic with carbon black admix to the outer layer. These are manufactured in most African countries. The tanks we propose will be produced in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The tank sizes are called out on the buget page, (5) 5000 liter and (2) 3000 liter tanks. The 5000 liter size is about the largest that can easily be transported to the site. The tanks are made of thick polyethylene (food-grade) that is easy to drill and tap for plumbing fittings, maintains a good seal and is very rugged. These tanks are compliant and therefore will not crack, but are not bullet-proof. For a photo of a recent installation using 5000 liter tanks, click on "Bank-On-Rain" under Applicant above and view the final report for the Barina School projecton on our PXW page.

Patching is possible, but we've been working with similar tanks for a decade and I've not seen one leak as yet. The carbon provides UV protection, so I don't expect the polyethylene to degrade or become brittle during their useful life.

Mike

Tank design

Posted about 7 years ago

Would you post on this site pictures of your previous project?
Did you consider construction of ferro- cement tanks which have longer durability?

Tank design

Posted about 7 years ago

In the reply above I reference the final report for another school project on our PWX page of a similar system using the 5000 liter tanks, including photos.

We did consider ferro-cement, but I have seen these develop leaks, perhaps a result of poor construction? In any case, we are satisfied with the durability of the plastic tanks, but I'd prefer tankage that was not based on petroleum (plastic) or require high energy to produce, like cement. I am very interested in trying ISSB for tank constuction, but think we must learn a little more about how well tanks built with these blocks hold up over time.

Mike

Sanitation question

Posted about 7 years ago

Hi Mike,

Do you know how the latrines work or are being used today? From your description there appears to be no water supply and folks carry up buckets of water - so are the toilets in use? If not, what happens today?

Will your RWH design have capacity for sanitation uses? You state that 383 will get sanitation benefits.

Also 3 toilets does not seem sufficient for a 383 people (if the photos of the sanitation units show the complete picture).

Regards,
Rajesh

Sanitation question

Posted about 7 years ago

Rajesh,

Currently there is no water supply at the school and the 3 latrines shown in the photo are the only ones at the site. All water is carried to the school by the students, therefore I don't think there is any hand washing unless from personal water bottles (which I doubt is happening). Our design includes tow 3000 liter tanks adjacent to the latrines specifically for hand washing. These will be fed from the roof with overflow going to the 5000 liter tanks situated on the downslope side of the school (the road side).

The school is already built and in operation. I have concerns about the layout, but think we are stuck with what we have to work with. The project includes CLTS training by Safer Futures and should incorporate evaluation of the current latrine situation. I agree that the facilities appear to be inadequate for the school population and could be part of follow-on improvements funded by Schools for Salone, but outside the scope of the present application. The physical location of the latrines above the school ground is not good and there may be reason to move them elsewhere.

Another potential problem -- with the school location right next to the road it is likely that there will be use of the water by other community members passing by. System sizing is sufficient to supply the students and staff, not the village. We are depending on the "Aunties" to lay down the law about non-school users. We may need to provide locking taps, not a popular move and may instigate vandalism.

Mike

Re: Sanitation question

Posted about 7 years ago

Thanks Mike,

Appreciate that you have analyzed as much as you can.

Can you please edit the application to state that Number of People getting water will be 0 (zero) and Number of People getting sanitation will also be 0 ?

School projects due to the transient and part time nature of beneficiaries are counted separately as you have noted.

Also, i would like to learn how a CLTS program would apply to a school. I am sure that there are hygiene teachings and materials with your partner organizations, that are applicable, but CLTS?

Would also like at time of implementation some recording of conversation with the villagers and 'Aunties' to see how your 'potential problem' can be defused. I remember seeing the Faith in Christ school with the heavy chain and padlock to prevent the community from using it when school was not in session.

Regards,
Rajesh

(was) Sanitation question (now) Security Cover

Posted about 7 years ago

Maybe if security is needed to control water use by passer-bys, you can consider the handwashing station with security door design by Agua Para La Salud.

(was) Sanitation question (now) Security Cover

Posted about 7 years ago

Rajesh,

The security door is a good idea, but the best result would be if the villagers are proud and protective of their school and such measures would not be necessary. We understand from SFL that the Aunties are considered local heros and are highly respected in the area.

If a security door is required, I'm confident that we could include one constructed by folks enrolled in the vocational training program at SFYDP, located a short distance from the Children in Crisis School.

Mike

Re: Sanitation question

Posted about 7 years ago

Rajesh,

The application has been changed to reflect only the school students and staff as benefiting from water and sanitation, although we did leave as "others benefiting" a number estimating that the sanitatiion training provided by Safer Future at the school will be carried home by the students.

I had the pleasure of sitting in on the CLTS training given by Safer Future staff at the Barinia School project and was impressed at the thoroughness of the program. These classes were attended by students and interested adults from the village. The SFYDP staff obviously knew their subject and their audience. The plan submitted by SFYDP call for 3 days of sanitation training at the school, but could (and should) include a demonstration of constucting a proper latrine -- as we suspect that the current units may have some problems. It is my belief that the "Aunties" can be the "natural leaders" that are so important in carrying forward the sanitation trianing into the village as part of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) program.

There continues to be on-going support for the school by Schools for Salone, as SFL provide books, supplies and some of the teachers salary (we understand that not all of the teachers receive pay from the Ministry of Education). I am confident that SFL can support improving the latrines as well as contributing to the cost of the water system.

The Aunties are key, and all aspects of the project will include their input, not just the security issues (if there are any). We have heard so many wonderful things about them from SFL staff we are looking forward to meeting them.

Mike

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Several times you mentioned that the Rain Water Harvesting tanks will provide 'safe drinking water' for the beneficiaries. What mechanisms are in place to ensure the water will be safe for drinking?

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

If properly collected from a relatively clean tile or metal roof, rain water is about as good as it gets. Proper collection includes leaf/debris excluders, first flush diverters and well maintained screens on the vents and inputs.

Over time some organic material will find its way into the tank, but a biofilm establishes along the interior surfaces and floor of the tank that actually traps and consumes potential pathogens. It is important to position outlets 10 cm - 20 cm above the bottom so the tank does not completely go dry, destroying the biofilm. For the same reason we do not suggest "cleaning" the tank unless absolutely necessary due to accidental filling with dirty water (don't want surface water added during dry seasons or even well water that can often be contaminated and compromise the next batch of rainwater). The biofilm that naturally forms on the tank interior surfaces functions in a similar way to the biofilm on the sand grains in a bio-sand filter -- the active ingredient that makes them effective.

Mike

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

The concept of leaving the bioilogical growth on the inside of the tanks for trapping pathogens is, it appears, an extension of the "schmutzdecker"(?) process in slow sand filter , but in a new application. Do you have water tests of this process to back up the claim that the water is safe for drinking?

The proposal indicates that the tanks have a sun light blocking coating , and rain water is free of nutrients which leads to the question-- where does the biological layer ( algae?) get its energy and nutrient?

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Thank you for the response and explanation Mike. Despite the potential work of the biofilm, it appears that there are still quite a few variables you mentioned which could potentially contaminate the Rain Water Harvesting units, thus not guaranteeing clean drinking water all of the time.

Maybe this is already included in the Health and Hygiene training component....however, have you considered adding Safe Water Storage Units to the proposal. The school staff could clean these daily and then add the appropriate amount of aquagard or other inexpensive purifier prior to distributing the water to the students? This simple addition will eliminate potential ills if and when a tank does become contaminated.

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Lynn and Paul,

Even using a first flush diverter, some organic matter will enter the storage tanks (pollen, bird droppings, etc.), but in small quantities. I will find the reference, a study testing stored water found improvement over time -- and I will look this up and post.

Safe Storage Units are a possibility, as are additional filtration, but one of the objectives is to provide a simple, sustainable system that improves the quality of available water supplied. A simple RWH system alone eliminates transmission of pathogenes of human origin and reduces other contamination by 90%. A problem in adding complexity is that the added steps become more likely to be missed from time to time. Perhaps the biggest potenial for negating the investment in safe water at a school is illness picked up by a student at home. If kids continue to miss classes due to illness from contaminated water at home, these lost days reflect on the school statistics -- a major metric of how the school system is performing. The sanitation training in the school will hopefully translate into improved practices in the home, but if it is too complicated, compliance will be poor.

The Community-Led Total Sanitation Training (CLTS) by our partner organization in Sierra Leone, Safer Future Youth Development Programs, provides trianing in basic sanitation, how illness can be transmitted and simple methods to improve health at home and in school. This includes solar disinfection by leaving water bottles in direct sunlight (UV) for 4 hours, improtance of hand washing and latrine contruction. I have visited 6 villages where the CLTS program had been implemented and was impressed that 100% of the households had constructed proper latrines and solar disinfection was being practiced, even in villages with operating wells.

The school systems are intended to improve the water quality for the kids, but also to provide a demonstration of simple ways that safe drinking water may be available in the community. Home-sized RWH systems using locally available recycled containers can be affordable, reduce the need to carry water (at least during the wet season) and benefit health.

Mike

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Thanks for the response Mike. It is true that there is no way to guarantee compliance with any system or program 100% of the time.
I look forward to learning more from the 'Study testing stored water'

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Paul,

The referenced paper can be found at:
www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hawaiirain/Library/papers/Rana_Md.Sohel.pdf

Mike

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Paul,

Actually that is not the reference I was looking for, but is one of several that suggest water quality improvement with storage time. I have others in my files with similar statements, but have not yet found the time-series study.

Mike

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Here are a few more
www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hawaiirain/Library/papers/Rana_Md.Sohel.pdf

and

From: “Rain Water Quality Guidelines: Guidelines and practical tools on rainwater quality”
Rainwater Harvesting Implementation Network, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Version 1, 15-07-2008,

2.2.2.4 Storage
The storage can be described as the structure or medium in which the rainwater is stored. In
RAINs current programme three different types of RWH systems can be defined: above ground
tanks, below ground tanks and sand dams. Contamination can be prevented by:
•Using non-toxic construction materials;
•Using adequate covering to prevent influence from direct sunlight, human, animal and
organic matter from entering the storage system and mosquito breeding.
Contamination might have occurred in the previous levels. Treatment of the water can be
applied when found necessary (see table 1 and annexes 3 a, b and c). Residence in the storage
system itself provides opportunities for water purifying processes such as sedimentation,
bacterial die-off and filtration (for sand dams), increasing the water quality over time.
Cleaning of the storage system should only be done if the previous water was found to be
contaminated (see annex 6).

Sampling tanks each year for 3 years
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043135407000759

Quality improvement with storage
http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=358922220770593;res=IELENG

University of Warwick, RWH water quality improves with storage
http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hawaiirain/Library/papers/Pathak_Namrata.pdf

Untreated RWH water stored in tanks generally meets or exceeds WHO standards
http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hawaiirain/Library/papers/Pathak_Namrata.pdf

Rainwater often safer than water supplied through mains with chlorine treatment
http://rainharvesting.com.au/rainwater-knowledge-centre/rainwater-quality-and-safety

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Thank you for the articles Mike. It is interesting to learn that the biofilm that grows inside the tanks helps reduce the amount of contamination in the water.
However, almost all of the articles conclude that additional purification may also be needed due to the number of variables at each water collection site which cannot be controlled.

At the end of the day, RWH units are a great source of water and I trust that these units, combined with your H&H training will provide clean water for the students and staff at the school.

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Paul,

We consider RWH as a major step in sanitation and hygiene. Obviously there will be ongoing improvements as there have been in the last 2 centuries in the First World. Unfiltered RWH water would not be cerified for potable use by most western health departments, but if properly maintained, RWH can provide clean, safe water.

The second step may well be a filter system at the school, but for now the availability of water from a clean source is a big step, but does not exclude the possiblity of problems that could potentially compromise it. The same could be said regarding wells or even municipal systems. This project is intended as a demonstration to show students and staff that there may be an affordable alternative to carrying water significant distances on a daily basis. RWH may not be a universal solution, but in Sierra Leone with 3 meters of precipitation over part of the year, it certainly should be an option.

Combined with innovations to reduce the cost of tankage (like ISSB construction), RWHcould become an affordable local solution to the water problem in many areas.

I can see that there could be valuable collabortation with Aqua Clara International to combine RWH with bio-sand filters.

Thanks for your input,
Mike

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Thank you Mike. Yes, we are already combining these two in our programs in Kenya which is why your project is so interesting to me. We are also hoping to have our BSF builders also start selling RWH tanks to local families in their respective communities.....thus this info is extremely useful for me.

I've also seen the ISSB tanks built in Tanzania but hope to learn more via these exchanges as well.

Best of luck with your project
Paul

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Paul,

As an example for use in a simple and inexpensive household system, we used recycled plastic containers as part of the system at Barina School. We contacted the hospital ship (Mercy Ship) that was stationed in Freetown about food-grade drums used to transport medical alcohol, etc.. They were willing to provide these 200 liter used containers at no cost to non-profits for use in household RWH systems. Similar containers can be found in food processing plants, UN food relief projects and elsewhere and may be available for the cost of hauling them away. These drums were also available in local markets, where we purchased them for about US$20 each.

Just a thought.

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

We will definitely look into these options as well. The more our CDE's can offer people, the better for everyone involved.

Thanks for the ideas
Paul

ISSB Machine

Posted about 7 years ago

Makiga Engineering in Nairobi makes the machines to produce the ISSB blocks.
Not sure who makes them in West Africa

Here is the website. FYI

http://makiga.com/#

Cheers
Paul

Safe drinking water

Posted about 7 years ago

Thanks Mike. I just wanted to hear it from you.
We have the same problem with rain systems in Guatemala. The most difficult part of a project is the human factor that can negate infrastructure intentions. It is better to have a 90% improvement in water supply then to take water from seriously contaminated sources and using it for drinking. It has taken the US 170 years since the civil war to try to turn around bad hygiene habits it is unrealistic to think that it can be done in a decade in other parts of the world where conditions are worse than US conditions 170 years ago. Many of these human solutions will take multiple generations to see results if constant effort is applied.

Where we have installed rain systems and other storage at schools the teachers and Peace Corps volunteers are repórting better school attendance and the parents are also commenting on fewer illness with children.


Application Summary

Applicant :   Bank-On-Rain
Status : approved_accepted
Country : SIERRA LEONE Map

Funding

Amount Funded :   $10,000
Funded By:-
Ferrari Owners Charitable Foundation (FOG) : $10,000
Funds Used
: $10,000
Funds Available
: $0

Projects Summary of Application

Number of Projects : 1
Overall Start Date : TODO!
Overall Completion Date : TODO!
Date of Last Update : 2013-02-13