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Filters give Honduran families hope

Steffan Newman, Feature Editor

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The chief goal of this year’s Interact mission trip to Honduras (Feb. 24-March 3) was installing biosand water filters in the mountain towns located outside of Comayagua.

The project, run through a local Honduran mission El Ayudante (The Helper), was founded and sponsored by The Health Humanitarian Outreach Project (HHOP), which is a division of Rotary International and is focused on “supporting, promoting, and operating international health and humanitarian projects.”

A group of 20 travelers, including seven Shores Interact Students and one Shores staff member, installed 32 new biosand filters and tested more than 50 existing filters.

The biosand filter is run entirely off of natural processes and can be easy to install.

The filter is made up of five layers: large gravel, fine gravel, sand, a biological layer, and water. In each of the layers, microorganisms are either caught in the various sizes of rock or eaten by the microorganisms that live in the biological layer.

Each of the bottom three layers are rinsed in water before being placed in the filter. Team members were supplied with buckets and rinsed the gravel and sand by hand before carefully placing them in the filter.
After this, the remainder of the filter was filled with water, and water began to flow from the nozzle.

However, this water wasn’t entirely pure yet.

The final and most important layer, the biological layer, takes approximately 15 days to form. It is in this area where the most organisms are trapped as the water flows downward. As more and more of them become trapped, a five-inch layer, filled with these microscopic creatures, forms. When new water is poured into the filter, the new microorganisms are either consumed by the existing ones or get trapped, and the water flows on.

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