Evaluation of Hand-dug Wells in Rural Haiti

Hayley E. Schram, Peter J. Wampler


Water resources, especially safe, potable water, are limited for many Haitians. 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, 35 hand-dug wells were surveyed and sampled near the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti. Water samples were collected and tested for fecal coliform and E. coli using the IDEXX Colilert-18 method. Of the samples collected, 89 percent were determined unsafe to use as a drinking water source based on the World Health Organization standard of 1.0 colony-forming unit (cfu) Escherichia Coli (E. coli) per 100 mL. 66 percent of the wells exceeded recreational/body contact standards for the state of Michigan (130 cfu/100 mL). Some of these wells were deemed suitable for conversion to a new well type called In-Situ Filtration (ISF) wells. ISF wells are installed with an internal sand filter pack, PVC casing, pump, and cap which seals the well from surface contamination and provides additional water treatment as water is pumped. Previous ISF installations have reduced E. coli to safe drinking water levels with...Continue Reading

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