[fsf60k] Re: Solution/good news

  • From: Michael AR Cipoletti <ikecip@xxxxxxx>
  • To: richard wiltamuth <dwiltam@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2009 03:13:50 -0400

Well has a depth of 220 feet (approx)

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On Jul 17, 2009, at 8:22 PM, richard wiltamuth <dwiltam@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

the well in cortizal seems to offer many advantages---less or no arsenic, cooler, cheaper equipment and promise of longer equipment lifespan. what is depth of water? is this the well with the wheel where we drew water for nuevo a few years ago? would need to have the water tested several times to make sure of arsenic and other potential contaminants. would need the government to test and approve the water before we sink money into this project. if this source is technically feasible, given the longer distance the water has to travel, would be a good solution. maybe we could buy the rights to pump a certain quantity of water rather than buying the land where the well is located. easements would have to be arranged for the pipes. am concerned about the nuevo community's ability to use the arsenic filters as intended, given their track record with the diesel generator and lack of literacy. the less equipment involved, the less that can go wrong. mike, thanks for your tireless work on this; am glad you're on the scene like an agua machine. you and the others will make a solution happen much faster.
dick w.

On Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 7:57 PM, Michael AR Cipoletti <ikecip@xxxxxxx> wrote: I met with Salvador Mora the gentleman from ENICAL that informed us of the issue. I also spoke with several folks from the public health center in UNAN LEon.. There seems to be a trend of rising arsenic levels in this watertable due to a variety of factors. They forsee the problem worsening over time.. There is however a good potential solution. In the community of Cortizal located about 1000 meters from the location of the existing well with clean cool water. The temperature of the water is under 80 degrees and has tested clean for several years. Salvador conchita Marco and a couple of the students will be driving to nuevo tomorrow morning to assess the possibilities of the location and look into the land/ownership/ selling price.. This site if viable would enable us to use the solar pump we originally were going to purchase (half the price/easier to obtain) and could potentially benefit more people.... Salvador also said there is the possibilty of an electric generator being wired in or a standard generator with a solar invertor to pump the water. Additionally the existing tubing tanks seem as if they would still work all we would need to do is connect the tanks to the new water source. I am happy with todays findings and the students and I will be making this task a priority over the coming week.
I will send an update tomorrow afternoon. Wish us luck.

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On Jul 16, 2009, at 11:03 PM, George Pardo <pardo123@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Very bad news indeed.

As far as the arsenic is concerned, it can be taken out of the water. We can get the materials from Dr. Meng to put together the filters, probably for about $30 each. The chemicals I recall to be about $4-5$ per year. This is a viable option if we trust the people to operate the filters properly. They do already use a filter for bacteria. I also looked at a point of distribution filter that would be put by the well but that source is not yet totally available, although could be developed for the future. The Dr. Meng (Steven's) filter is a sure thing. We could demonstrate the filter to MINSA and get approval to open the well.

The water, even with 40ppb arsenic, is still suitable for bathing and irrigation if it is not poured on the part of th plant that you eat and not rinsed. If you irrigate at the roots no problem. Something like lettuce or cabbage could be a problem if not watered properly. Corn would be no problem because it is covered by the husk.

Pete I don't think the crushing of the rock has anything to do with the arsenic just the depth of the well. The deeper wells are more likely to have arsenic.

According to Dr. Meng there is no way to predict where there will be clean water in a region where there is arsenic. You can have well with 900ppb and 30' away have a well that is acceptable. Drilling is trial and error. The only way to be sure to get clean water is to drill where there is already a good well. One option is to drill in a remote location that is known to be good and pipe the water to NA. This will invlove additional costs and additional complexity. This was suggested by the organization that did the water project in Chac.

The main problem with drilling is the cost of drillling through rock. If there is an area in NA, perhaps in the 20's where there is no rock, it would be worth the chance to drill several wells to in order to find a clean one. Maybe the water there may not be as hot.

The question in my mind would be, do we want to deal with the arsenic and temperature of the water in NA or is it best to pipe the water in from somewhere else where the temperature is moderate, letting us use cheaper pumps, and without arsenic. The trade off would probably a high tower tower and a larger tank and the possibly a couple of miles of pipe and negotiating the rights to lay that pipe, possibly through public and private land.

I think I would try to drill in the 20's at least 1 well and test the temperature of the water and arsenic. If there is a lower temperature that would enable us to use a cheaper pumping system and we could use the Steven's filter for the aresenic. If we hit rock I would abandon that well and perhaps look into piping the water in from a remote location.

Mike and Pete hopefully you can gather some data on the ground in Nica that can be used to develop a good direction. Good luck at the very least.

Please comment on the above options.  Thanks.


On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 2:59 PM, Peter White <pedro831@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: Hola. Brace yourselves for sure. Mike arrived in Nica late yesterday to the news that the Nica govt. org., Minsa?, tested the water in NA and found it to be 40 ppb arsenic, too high considering the nat'l standard is now 10 ppb.
They suggested closing the well. We have spent a lot of time on this
project, including two years ago educating ourselves about arenic from Dr. Meng from the STevens Instit. of Tech. in Hoboken, NJ, who believes and has proven that arsenic can be removed cheaply, safely, etc. However this may be of no value if the Nica govt orders the well closed. The other bad news is that the two year old diesel motor is unable to be repaired. So the people are without water and walking for water I suppose. Mike is going to be asking a multitude of questions of the MINSA people and others, and putting his head together with Conchita, Martin, and others about what the next step/s are. Please think about this and get your questions to Mike or me asap. I am going down to Nica for a quick five day visit July 23-27. This was supposed to be a joyous visit in part, as we were going to see the contract for the installation of the solar water project in NA and put up half the money in order to get the project going. Now we are really set
back. The real problem is the continued suffering of the people.
The good news I suppose is that we aren't going to be throwing more money into the old generator if it is kaput. Also we are not going to spend $25000 on a solar project for a well that may be of no use anymore. Mike says that there is a clean water source about 2K from NA, which we know about (I think). I beleive it is where the bomba de mescate is located. That's where the people walk to when there is no water. It is a hand/rope pump that is cumbersome, tiresome, slow, etc. but it has clean water. Or, maybe it isn't clean and no one ever tested there??? Frankly, a good portion of Nica is with bad water, so what are we to do? I dont' see how La UNion, only 1K away, has good water (or maybe it isn't either) and NA is bad. We need everyone to think, suggest, provide ideas, etc. so we can move forward
I remember Dr. Meng saying that the arsenic isn't really in the deep water naturally but that arsenic is released from the crushing of the rock when deep wells, where water lies below a level of rock, are perforated. In NA, the first 40 feet or so was dirt. Then they hit rock which was 60 - 65 feet. The rate of descent was slow, the big drill bit broke a few times, but finally the driller struck the water they've been using since Aug. 07. Problem probably is that the arsenic gets into the water from the crushing of the rock I guess. I'm not the expert here, but I just hope they can locate a place where we can begin anew, cheaply, with good water and then
solarize it from the outset. Be well. Pray. PW


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