The new latrines were designed using American building standards and design codes, with careful consideration given to the seismic vulnerability of the region and the availability of materials and equipment in the area. The structure is designed from materials consistent with the surrounding infrastructure: reinforced concrete, concrete masonry units (CMU), and corrugated metal. The latrines feature a cast-in-place concrete frame to transfer loads from the roof and floor slab to the substructure, with CMU walls used as pit dividers and infill between the concrete columns. The structure is intended to provide over 20 years of service and fit aesthetically within the community.
EWB constructed the latrines from May 18th through June 15th with a mixture of Syracuse Professional Chapter members and students from the SUNY-ESF Chapter. While the design of the latrines was relatively straight-forward, construction proved to be no easy task. Due to the lack of equipment in the area, various construction tasks have to be completed by hand, including cutting and bending rebar, grading aggregates, and mixing concrete and mortar. The community has been a tremendous help, providing manual labor and several tricks of the trade to help the team keep up with the schedule.
Lindsay led Week 1 of construction, during which the excavation was completed and concrete footers for the building were poured. During Week 2, Nick’s team built the pit walls from CMUs and formed the columns. The rainy season hit in full force during Week 3 slowed construction down over the last two weeks while EWB was there. However, EWB has partnered with a local mason from Xela who has agreed to complete the rest of the building, so the full structure should be operational in July, weather depending.
Around December 2017, EWB will return to Las Majadas to evaluate the effectiveness of the latrines at composting, as well as whether the community is properly using the latrines and handwashing stations. EWB will likely combine this monitoring trip with an assessment trip for a future water project in the community.
If you’re interested in traveling with EWB in the future or just working on the projects here at home, Lindsay or Nick would be glad to provide you with more information!