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CRISTALES PROJECT Trujillo, Colon, Honduras Slow Sand Filter. Rotary Foundation Matching Grant 69408, Districts 5830/4250. Project Site. HONDURAS. PROJECT HISTORY.

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cristales project trujillo colon honduras slow sand filter

CRISTALES PROJECTTrujillo, Colon, HondurasSlow Sand Filter

Rotary Foundation Matching Grant 69408, Districts 5830/4250

Project Site


project history

The Project is founded on work done by Tom Plumb of District 5930, Port Isabel, TX and Hector Mendoza of the Trujillo, Honduras Rotary Clubs in past years. This work has involved many, many rural schools, and water projects. An informal collaboration has evolved in which this organization and District 5830 have shared in concepts, and motivation to produce outstanding results. That collaboration continues – with no end in sight. This, we maintain, is as it should be, and is CONSISTENT WITH ROTARY PRINCIPLES.

The principal elements of this group of projects follow:

2007: Port Isabel and Trujillo Rotary Clubs obtained a Matching Grant to fund the cleaning out of an existing small dam on the Rio Cristales and the construction of a 25,000 gallon water storage tank on the mountain above the Cristales Barrio. Construction was completed in 2008.

2008: Pittsburg Rotary Club and District 5830 obtained a Volunteer Service Grant to visit Trujillo to research potential projects. This led to a decision to construct a Slow Sand Filter to treat the water from the storage tank, and provide it to the Barrio.

2009: District 5830 and Trujillo Rotary Club processed an application for a Matching Grant to construct a filter and an associated clean water tank of 25,000 gallons. Construction started in March, 2010, and continues. (Population to be served = 3,000 persons).

2010: District 5930 and Trujillo Rotary Club processed an application for a Matching Grant to clean out their dam, create a second dam and build a large storage tank for Barrio St. Martin. That work is complete.

2011: District 5930 and Trujillo Rotary Club obtained a Matching Grant to construct a filter and clean water tank for Barrio St. Martin – adjacent to Barrio Cristales. Construction started in 2011 and continues . (Population to be served = 5,000 persons)



  • In the following pages you are going to see photographs of some of the construction work that comprises the Projects which we (that is District 5830 and 5930) have done in Trujillo, Honduras since 2007. There are some characteristics which are common to all of this work:
  • There is no temporary, or shoddy work involved. All of the construction is of a permanent nature. Their great, great etc grandkids can still be using this construction during their lives.
  • The project basically funds the material only; the local people do the work and are excellent at this.
  • The construction standards are as follows:
    • Construction is via masonry
    • Tank walls are comprised of double layer brick (local, kiln-fired)
    • The interstices are reinforced with rebar and concrete.
    • Vertical reinforcing pillars are used as frequently as needed.
    • Foundations are very substantial.
    • Tank construction is to National Standards (SANAA based).


Cleaning Up Old Dam

Originally material had to be hand carried – now have a “road” – sort of.

The connecting pipes that links the dam to the tank were funded separately.

The 25,000 gallon tank that came out of this grant.


2008 District 5830 Volunteer Service Grant

District 5830 and Pittsburg, TX Rotary Club had decided that they wanted to get involved. A VSG was obtained and Dean Woodward and Dr. Ron Clinton, of the Pittsburg Club, joined by Tom Plumb of Port Isabel Rotary Club of District 5930 met in Trujillo for a week of meetings and discussions. Much was accomplished, and it was clear that there was a substantial need to be met. The following illustrates the effort, and the final report is available from Dean Woodward. We were encouraged that the meetings were considered important enough that Dr. Alfonso Diaz Pon, representative of the President of Honduras, was flown in to participate. Here are two of the activities conducted that week:

Pictured is the most importantmeeting of the visit - a joint meeting between Barrios Cristales and St. Martin. The decision was made to deal with the filter needs of the two Barrios as separate projects. The work continues on that basis. The person on the far left is Dr. Alfonso Diaz Pon, representative of the President of Honduras.


The sand used in Slow Sand Filters is not just run-of-the-mill sand. The size of the sand particles and the uniformity of the sizes are both important to the future function. It was known that there was a massive river sand deposit near Trujillo, and that Pure Water for the World (an NGO)) had found that this sand was appropriate for their many small slow sand filters they had installed. The team visited the site, met with the owner, and took a sample for future analysis back in the USA. Analysis proved the sand perfect for the purpose. (Technically d10 is 0.14mm, d60 is 0.33 mm, and UC=d60/d10 = 2.36).


2009 District 5830 Project Cristales Slow Sand Filter Matching Grant

Starting the excavation for the main filter tank in Cristales, Mid-March, 2010. The tank in the background was provided by District 5930 and will supply the raw water for the filter. The supervisor is Dr. Tesla Ordonez Banegas, a very active and productive member of the Trujillo Rotary Club.

Almost a year later a lot of concrete, and many bricks have gone into place, and the filter tank is almost finished. The small structure on the front will be the control room. It is important to realize that every particle of concrete has to be mixed by hand, since we don’t have the advantage of cement mixers. A recent change of plans will have this be an open tank, protected by a fence around the top of the tank.


2009 District 5830 Project Cristales Slow Sand Filter Matching Grant, Cont’d.

This is the under-drain through which the filtered water will flow to the clean water tank, and ultimately to the people of Barrio Cristales. It is interesting how plans have to accommodate local considerations. In the USA perforated 4” pipe is a norm – here we couldn’t find it. We had to drill every one of those holes to make our own “perforated pipes”.. There will be another group of perforated pipes forming a ring around the top of the filter cell through which the incoming water will form a “gentle rain” so as not to disturb the surface of the sand. We’re very close to putting down the gravel and sand to make this be a real filter.

Just down the hill from the filter will be the Clean Water Tank that will receive the filtered water and send it on to the households of the Barrio. The foundation is ready to receive the walls

The outcome of this work will benefit the community forever.

We are extremely fortunate to be able to make such a contribution

collateral considerations
Collateral Considerations
  • It does not require very deep analysis to conclude that the steps outlined in the past slides constitute an ambitious and substantial effort. Those steps have been accompanied by large connectivity efforts to connect the various elements with appropriate pipelines, and to extend those pipelines into distribution networks connecting to the homes in the two Barrios. Those efforts have tapped into various governmental and NGO resources for funding. These efforts have been successful, and construction is underway on these pipelines.

By this point the pattern should be crystal clear to the reader: We are mid-way on a process which will transform this Barrio from third world to first world in terms of pure water.

An obstacle intrudes: It has been a previous necessity in these communities to deliver water to users on an intermittent basis consistent with available water. In the process of delivering pure water by pipe to users this is UNACCEPTABLE from a health point of view. Reduction or interruption of internal water pressure in distribution pipelines is an invitation for contaminants outside the pipeline to “come in and make yourselves at home”. THE RESULT: The water in the pipes, previously pure, might no longer be pure. (Read on).

future plans

The most important activity in the immediate future is to complete the Cristales Project and put it into service to the Barrio. That work should be complete by the end of 2011. This will involve continued work on and completion of the filter tank, and also construction of the clean water tank on the completed foundation. The majority of the material for this work has been purchased and delivered. It is estimated that an additional $5K of funds will be adequate to support the completion of this work.

There is a problem: The Rotary Future Vision Pilot is underway and Foundation funds are not available for support of work between pilot and non-pilot Districts. District 4250 is a Pilot District; District 5830 is not. Therefore the Project is responsible for it’s own future funding. It might be said that the Cristales Project is a Future Vision Orphan, and will remain so until July 2013 when the Pilot ends.

The Project is determined that the work shall proceed to successful completion, and that we shall maintain the momentum already generated.



BACKUP DRILLED WELL: The Rio Cristales is a dependable water source during normal times. It is expected to produce adequate water for continuous service to both Barrio Cristales and Barrio St. Martin. The two Barrios are adjacent, but are organized as two entities, each with its own Aqua Junta. During the dry season the amount of mountain water produced may not be adequate for continuous service. We wish to provide a drilled backup well. It is sensible that this well be shared by the two Barrios – their facilities are adjacent on the mountain, and the area of St. Martin water facilities is already supplied with electrical power; Cristales facilities are not so served, and connection of their site to the electrical grid would be expensive. Our Project Team has reached agreement in principle to share in both water and funds with the Team from District 5930 and the NGO Hands to Honduras. Hands to Honduras is supported in this endeavor by another NGO known as Clear Rounds for Pure Water. The Cristales Team wishes to carry its pro-rata share of the expense.



A LARGE TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY: During the Team visit in February 2011 they became aware of a unique opportunity to provide pure water on a very large, distributed basis. It comes about in the following fashion. Some years ago one of the large fruit shippers that ships from the Puerto Cristilla developed a large water source high in the mountains, and connected it to the port by a large diameter iron water pipe. That pipeline passes through a large proportion of Trujillo, and over the years has become a major source of water (clean but not pure) for hotels and individual groups of homes. The fact that the water as it leaves the pipeline has not yet been chlorinated creates an excellent opportunity for slow sand filtration (if the water had already been chlorinated it would not be possible to apply slow sand filtration). We wish to begin applying this concept and experimenting with such small scale filtration. We have been approached by two separate entities that wish to explore this with us (the hotel Casa Alamania and the small Barrio el Cerido). In both cases the slow sand filters will be modest in cost and provide a demonstration of the distributed slow sand filter approach.

orphan funding
“Orphan Funding”
  • The Team estimates that these three areas of work can be funded by a total of $15,000 US. Individual and club funds will be accommodated as follows:
  • Club fund contributions will be deposited in an existing District account as non-MGA funds. PDG John Jetter and Water Coordinator Dean Woodward are double signatories to this account. Funds are transferred as needed to an account in Trujillo controlled by the Trujillo Rotary Club.
  • Individual contributions will be deposited in the account of the 501c(3) qualified NGO Hands to Honduras. Those funds will be provided in support of the Team objectives. Receipts to support tax deductibility will be provided to contributors by Hands to Honduras.
  • Contributions should be mailed to the following address:
  • Rotary
  • PO Box 853
  • Pittsburg, TX 75686