GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 71-19
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


SCHRAM, Hayley and WAMPLER, Peter J., Geology Department, Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401,

Water resources are limited for many Haitians, especially safe potable water. In areas where shallow groundwater is available many household water needs such as laundry, bathing, and cooking are supplied by hand-dug wells. In order to better understand the water quality and prevalence of these household wells, 20 wells were surveyed and sampled in a small community in Borel, Haiti. Borel has approximately 590 homes and 3,000 people and is situated roughly 65 km northwest of the capital; Port au Prince, Haiti. Some of these hand-dug wells, common throughout Haiti, may be suitable for conversion to a new well type called an In-Situ Filtration (ISF) well. ISF wells are installed with an internal sand filter system, PVC piping, pump, and are sealed from surface contamination. Previous installations have reduced E. coli levels to safe drinking water within 90 days of installation.

Data was collected from 20 hand-dug wells in the Borel area on June 6th, 2016. Each well was given an identification number and data was recorded for elevation, depth, static water depth, and collar type. Water samples were collected and tested for fecal coliform and E. coli using the Colilert-18 method which reports a MPN (most probable number) for both coliform and E. coli. Sampled wells had an average depth of 2.6 m and an average static water depth of 0.88 m, 95% of the samples were unsafe to drink based on the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for E. coli in potable water. Average E. coli for the 20 wells was 817.8 MPN (geometric mean of 257.0 MPN), which exceeds the standard of 1 E. coli per 100 mL of water based on the WHO.

A hand-dug well density of 823 wells per km2 was estimated in Borel. Based on this value, there are approximately 280 hand-dug wells similar to those sampled in the entire community. The average cost of ISF well conversion is $300 per well. Conversion of all the wells in the community would cost roughly $84,000.