The city of Veron in the Dominican Republic lies just outside of Punta Cana and is the home of many workers in the Punta Cana Resorts and their families. Over the years, the population has drastically increased, and many people are left without governmental support.
In 2006, a health clinic was renovated with help from Grupo Punta Cana and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. A lack of clean water, a necessity to public health, still exists. A professor at Virginia Tech, Dr. Dillaha, traveled to the area and noticed a need in the community that EWB-VT could fulfill.
EWB-VT's History in Dominican Republic
In January 2007, EWB-VT coordinated a trip to Veron to assess the community and gather water quality data. Water samples were taken throughout the community. From the twenty samples taken, coliforms were present in many locations. Data collected at the local clinic warranted a design for a UV disinfection system.
By Spring of 2007, a UV disinfection system had been evaluated and the Virginia Tech chapter had their final implementation designs completed.
August of 2007, members of the team returned to Veron, Dominican Republic to
construct the housing unit for the UV disinfection system. The UV disinfection
system for the clinic was an overall success. Although the UV disinfection
system in the clinic was a success, there is still a need for cleaner water
throughout the community.
In late 2008 Will Stacy, the new project mentor, traveled down to the Dominican Republic and saw a great need for cleaner water in the schools of Veron.
There were preliminary talks with the leaders of Grupo Punta Cana to implement a full scale water distribution system for the entire community of Veron. EWB-VT was credited as being the catalyst for this future endeavor. To implement a water distribution system for the community was the initial project until it grew out of the hands of a student chapter. It is intended that the VT Chapter remains in contact with the local organizations and community leaders to make sure the project follows through to completion. The leaders have requested that EWB remain a presence in the design process.
The community of Veron is growing rapidly and many residents need medical attention. The local clinic treats the residents without having a clean water supply, the water is pumped from a well and used for patients of the clinic. It is essential for this water to be clean as it has a direct impact on public health.
During Spring Break of 2011, the team repaired the UV water purification system at the clinic and cleaned water tanks and pipes on-site. Preliminary discussions began about designing a pediatric ward for the hospital.
The team is currently working to finish a comprehensive water system maintenance plan to be implemented into the community. This includes a system which will provide clean water to the clinic and a neighboring elementary school. Additionally, the team will perform maintenance on the current system to ensure it is functioning as expected.
In the future, EWB-VT would like to implement a wastewater management system for these facilities. To accomplish this EWB-VT will be taking preliminary data during the next trip to determine what will be feasible.