Water Filtration Arada Vieja, El Salvador


Description of Project:

Our goal was to provide the town of Arada Vieja with a sustainable clean water source. The protection of the spring source, effective filtration, system maintenance, and in-depth community education were the main goals of this project.


In the past four years, eight travel teams have visited Arada Vieja. Working with the community, we built three slow-sand filters and a fresh water storage tank in January 2007. We also created a water committee, consisting of four community members, to oversee the project and perform necessary maintenance. In March 2007, we successfully installed a hydraulic RAM pump to facilitate access to the potable water. In June 2007, working with the community, we completed the slow-sand filters and performed preliminary water quality tests, which confirmed high counts of bacteria and e.coli in the water. In winter 2008 we improved the spring box and conducted in-depth health surveys. We also performed water quality tests on effluent from the filters, all three of which successfully reduced the bacteria counts from over 50 total coliforms to 0 total coliforms per milliliter of water. In summer 2008 we focused heavily on continued water quality testing and community education with regard to the system.

Spring 2010: During our past three trips to El Salvador, we have continued to test the filtered water in Arada Vieja, and have found the filters to be successful. Although the water delivery system has suffered damage due to natural disasters, the community has gone ahead to repair the system without our help. The auto-initiated community involvement in the project bodes well for the future and is an indicator of the project’s sustainability. Although our main focus in future trips to El Salvador will be on our new project in Porvenir, we will continue our relationship with Arada Vieja by continuing to perform water quality tests and checking in on the community’s maintenance of the water system.

Trip Reports:

For more detailed information about each of our trips, including health survey results, water quality results, and construction diagrams and calculations, please feel free to download any of our trip reports.

Summer 2006
Winter 2007
Summer 2007
Winter 2008
Summer 2008


If you have any questions about our project please feel free to contact Amanda Garces (Amanda.Garces@tufts.edu) or Jenna Lohmann (Jenna.Lohmann@tufts.edu)