the Matagalpa region of
streams and rivers run grey during coffee harvest season from
contamination of coffee wastewater. This deterioration of water
quality compromises downstream users, and creates unhealthy
conditions in the town of
. However coffee production is a central industry for
, and small farms rely on producing high quality beans to provide
for their families.
A senior design team (Joshua
Alcantara, Patrick Cummings, Luis Quinteros and Mike Wynne) and
their faculty advisor Dr. Mike Marsolek worked with Dr.
Sue Jackels from the Department of Chemistry and
company sponsor Tetra
Tech, to design wastewater treatment options for a coffee
production facility (an ecological beneficio) for five family
farms. The project brought together diverse groups including
Catholic Relief Services, the coffee co-op CECOSEMAC, Tetra Tech,
, strengthening bonds that can lead to future work opportunities.
design team traveled to
in December of 2007 to gather data on a model beneficio. With the
results the team designed three wastewater treatment alternatives;
infiltration pits, anaerobic degradation with overland flow, and a
upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) biogas generator with
overland flow. The designs included scale drawings with projected
treatment and cost analysis. The designs
were sent to
where the coffee co-op and local engineers will select their
preferred choice, to be built by December 2008.
Tech provided funding for construction of the new beneficio as
well as the wastewater treatment. These facilities will improve the
farmerís lives by allowing them to produce a higher quality bean
for which they can receive a higher price, while simultaneously
introducing to them new wastewater treatment strategies that will
help preserve their ecosystem for future use and protect downstream
users such as the town of
Original processing facility is shown above.
Please note that this project was designed and led by the Seattle University Project Centere and is not an official EWB-USA project. Students from our SU-EWB chapter helped provide labor to complete the work.