To be effective in providing sustainable safe water solutions, it is critical to accurately monitor and evaluate water quality. Only through proactive testing can we truly understand water composition, which enables us to properly measure the efficacy of safe water tools and training programs.
To meet this goal, in March of 2013, PWW opened a Water Quality Testing Laboratory in Haiti. The purpose of the lab is to test source water, water filter output and stored water for future consumption. The lab helps us provide comprehensive monitoring and evaluation services to the families and communities we serve. As a result of this testing, we can identify deficiencies in our hygiene training programs and ensure the water filter tools are effectively doing their job. The lab also supports our WASH (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene) training programs and consulting services.
A major problem in Haiti is a lack of resources available for performing chemical and biological testing on water samples. Much too often, local institutions have to send samples to the Dominican Republic to get test results… a costly and time-consuming effort.
To help meet this need in Haiti, this year, we expanded our Water Quality Testing Lab to provide services to outside institutions, including the Haitian Government, educational institutions, other NGOs, and to the private sector.
Since January, we have expanded our laboratory and completed the building of three fully operational bench-top, on-site lab stations and two mobile kits for conducting testing in the field. We have performed more than 70 water quality tests.
We are also working with a team from the University of Maine to enhance our validation techniques. Barbara Stewart, who has her PhD in Chemistry, is an adjunct professor at the University of Maine who works with water and water education. She recently spent some time with our team in Haiti.
“There are so many possible barriers to clean water in a community, ranging from bacterial contamination to issues with salinity or heavy metals, and a community can’t find sustainable solutions until they know what the problem is. Testing is the most cost-effective way to find a good solution, and PWW is taking the lead in Port-au-Prince by establishing a permanent lab for the region.” – Barbara Stewart, PhD
We are committed to continuing to enhance our Water Quality Testing Lab so more and more families in Haiti can reap the health benefits provided by truly safe water.