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Clarkson University Engineers Without Borders Receives Grant to Assist Small Village in Ecuador

[A photograph for media use is available at]

The Clarkson University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has received a $5,000 travel grant from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund through EWB-USA to build a water treatment plant in Ecuador.

The Clarkson students are working with the residents of La Margarita, a small village of 320 people in need of clean drinking water. Currently, the residents drink water straight out of the Los Tintos River, however all of the community’s waste and sewerage also goes into the river.ewb2008

Andres Orlando, the civil & environmental engineering graduate student from Ecuador, who initiated the project, says that the students are working on the design and construction of a water treatment plant.

"I just came back from La Margarita and it looks like they are leaning towards a clay pot filtration system," says Orlando. "We are in the process of getting a better estimate on a price for them."

Civil & Environmental Engineering Prof. Shane Rogers and four students traveled to Ecuador last summer to make assessments of the village and form relationships with the townspeople.

They tested for pesticides, herbicides, bacteria, and other pollutants in the river water, ground water, and irrigation canals, as well as from drinking water stored in residents’ homes. They also conducted public health, land, and structural surveys of all 75 homes in the community.

The students hope to use their grant to return to La Margarita this summer to implement the water treatment system and conduct training.

EWB-USA is a non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life. This partnership involves the implementation of sustainable engineering projects, while involving and training internationally responsible engineers and engineering students.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University student Gabrielle String, a junior mechanical engineering major, works with children in La Margarita, Ecuador, to complete a structural survey of existing homes. The children aided Clarkson students and faculty in measuring house dimensions, water quality testing and land surveying. The students and faculty returned the favor with educational activities at the community school, as well as play time with the children.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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