Last week Liz Bohne traveled to Costa Rica with the Central States WEA non-profit organization Global Water Stewardship (GWS). GWS is working to improve global public and environmental health by implementing sustainable centralized wastewater treatment solutions in the developing world. The group is currently focused on improving sanitation in the southern zone of Costa Rica, where there is currently minimal wastewater treatment before discharge to rivers that lead to the ocean. The communities that we work with depend on tourism for their economy, and are experiencing a steep population growth. This makes a wastewater solution imperative in order to maintain the growth of the community and the economy, as well as to protect public health by reducing potential for drinking water supply contamination. As of 2015 only 21% of all households were connected to a sewer system with only 15% of the collected sewerage being treated. Therefore, most of the wastewater that is collected is discharged into rivers and the sea without any treatment, generating public health risks and water resources contamination. GWS is working with communities to develop solutions that fit the specific community’s needs, as well as working with the local water authority, AyA for funding and support.
While in Costa Rica, the group met with many community officials and collected information for the 2018 project site in Palmar Sur. Palmar Sur has an existing collection system that discharges directly to the Sierpe River with no treatment. They also worked with local engineers and government officials to push permitting forward on the previous projects. They worked in the schools to educate school children about the human impact on the water cycle, water pollution, and wastewater treatment. They also installed a biogarden at a school in Uvita. This biogarden will treat wastewater until a collection system and treatment plant can be constructed. It will also be used as an education tool for students. Trotter and Associates is excited to be involved in this great organization. For more information about the GWS projects, go to www.globalwaterstewardship.org