The 35-member student chapter of Engineers Without Borders at NJIT received the Outstanding Student Chapter Award at the 12th Annual Salute to Engineering Excellence sponsored by NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering (NCE). The event was held March 25, 2010 at NJIT.
The chapter has been helping the village of Milot, Haiti, get clean drinking water. The 35 students in the NJIT chapter have helped villagers build bio-sand filters to purify drinking water. Most villages in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, lack running water. Villagers must carry buckets to mostly polluted streams and carry the water home.
The students first built and modified the bio-filter in the NCE concrete lab. Then they traveled to Milot to teach the villagers how to build and maintain the filters. The villagers keep the filters in their homes and pour water into them before drinking. A biological layer in the filter catches 95 percent of the water’s pathogens, making the water safe to drink.
The students also raised money to pay for supplies needed to build the four-foot- high filters, whose simple ingredients are concrete, sand and gravel. The students are advised by NJIT Professor Jay Meegoda of the civil and environmental engineering department, and Allyn Luke, who manages the NCE concrete lab. The chapter has also been fund-raising and thinking of other ways to help Haiti, whose water problems have been exacerbated by the earthquake.