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Oklahoma State University

Students cross borders to lend aid during Spring Break

Thursday, March 14 2013

Unlike many college students around the country, the Oklahoma State University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (OSU-EWB) won’t be hitting the beach this spring break. For the fourth consecutive year, the team is headed on a philanthropic trip to the community of Seis de Mayo, Honduras.

OSU-EWB has been visiting the village since the spring of 2009 to create and implement water filtration systems so residents can enjoy clean, sanitary water.

According to EWB adviser Dr. Paul Weckler, the people of Seis de Mayo have a great need for these filtration systems.

“These people have water, however, the issues come from the weaknesses in their piping systems. Many times these systems aren’t properly built and sewage is filtered in through the leaking pipes and into the community’s water source.”

Over a two-year period, OSU-EWB assessed the area of Seis de Mayo taking water samples, surveying and making topographical maps. The results allowed the team to create effective filters for the community.

In 2011, the EWB team built and delivered nine concrete biosand filters to families in the village. The team also trained several locals on how to monitor these systems and even how to replicate the filters.

Since the team returned to Honduras in 2012, the locals had created 19 more filters. Building and selling these filters has become a productive business for the community and also creates healthier drinking water.

“What’s so great about EWB is that we actually give communities the resources and knowledge to be able to make clean water for themselves, so even after we’re gone they can continue to have good drinking water,” said EWB team member and chemical engineering senior Ella Walker.

Next week’s trip will serve as a time for EWB to further educate and train locals on how to monitor and maintain the biosand filters. This trip will improve business and help the community find a solid footing before the monsoon season.

The mission will also allow for outreach to other communities in Honduras that need filtration systems.

“Bad drinking water is a huge problem in the world, and I’m honored to be a part of the solution,” said Walker

For more information on OSU-EWB, visit

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