Office: (504) 2407-2160
Cell: (504) 9981 4165
Cell: (504) 9930 9322
US VoIP: 1 305 454 7628
acme@acme-roatan.com

Protecting Our Island Water

NovWater is life! We have heard this all of our lives.  But what is the current worldwide water situation?  How can we be better managers of this vital resource in our day-to-day lives?  This two part article shares water facts (some of the facts are scary) and how we can better manage our water.  Let’s get started!

The world contains an estimated 1,400 million cubic km of water.  Only 0.003% of this amount is “fresh water”– water that can be used for drinking, hygiene, and agriculture.  Almost 70 percent of the Earth’s fresh water is used for agricultural purposes.  One fifth of the world’s population, approximately 1.2 billion people, lives in areas of physical water scarcity.

Traditionally, Caribbean islands consume water quite differently than Latin American countries, as the islands rely greatly on the hospitality/tourism industry.  The tourism sector has more hotels, excursion parks and other businesses that rely on water.  We have seen this here on Roatán.  The pressure on the water supply has grown immensely on Roatán in the last 15 years with a doubling of the population and increased tourist visits.

Most of the water on Roatán comes from groundwater wells.  Over-use of the groundwater can cause major problems to human users and to the environment. The most evident problem is a lowering of the water table beyond the reach of existing wells. Wells must consequently be deepened to reach the groundwater. A lowered water table may, in turn, cause other problems such as saltwater intrusion, fouling the fresh water wells.

Another unfortunate factor affecting the management of water on Roatán is a lack of understanding regarding fresh water availability by both the public and private sectors.  Water has been undervalued for many years in this country and culturally many people believe that access to drinking water is a right and should be free.  The result is waste.  Both sectors have to understand that this precious liquid has to have a proper price/value attached to it.  Only then will users value this precious resource.

You can take help save our precious waters by taking steps to save water in your home!  Fixing leaks in your faucets and toilets can save money daily.  Turning off the water when not in use, for a family of 4, can save up to 32 gallons a day.  Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and you are already conserving water.  Low flush toilets can reduce water consumption by 60%.  Installing low flow shower heads can save up money as well!

Using better water conservation practices at home can surely save water.  We live on an island and are surrounded by water but we have very limited fresh water.  If we all work together to save our fresh water, we can make a difference!

West End: A Community With An Environmental Focus

Oct-2Roatan enjoyed another successful International Fishing Tournament this year! It was, without a doubt, an exciting and proud time for Roatán not only because the island was the host for the internationally popular festivities but also because island anglers won both events – the Rodeo and Bill Fish events.  The village of West End showcased a brand new paved road, one that has been under construction for much of this year and was enjoyed by residents and visitors.

Buried a few meters under this kilometer-long ribbon of stamped concrete road lays an entirely new sewage collection system.  This very popular tourist area has now the capability to treat its sanitary waste utilizing its newly installed sewer system. The system has 4 lift stations throughout the community that pump waste from homes and businesses to its final destination, the West End Waste Water Treatment Plant.  This plant was designed to treat up to 130,000 gallons per day and to remove 95% of the organic material, pathogens and suspended solids from the sewage stream. This treatment plant was completed on December of 2011 by ACME Environmental Solutions

The plant uses a treatment technology called the Extended Aeration Activated Sludge Process.  This treatment uses Oct-3microorganism to feed on organic elements in the wastewater, producing a high quality effluent. This is the most popular biological treatment process for small to medium communities because it is very effective and can be built on a relatively small piece of land.

How exciting is it that West End will be able to treat all of its waste waters?  That this untreated waste will not be affecting the ground waters or the surface waters in this beautiful water front community!  The technology is environmentally friendly taking care of excess nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus that negatively impact our beautiful coral reef ecosystems.

For households that are now or will soon be connected to the new collection system, there is no change in their use habits.  Users can continue to use the same dish washing liquids, shampoos, soaps, etc although it is always recommended that items such as diapers, cigarette ends, plastics, papers, and other non-biodegradable materials not enter the sewer system.  Grease, paint and other materials like engine oils are big No-No’s!

The Municipality of Roatán and the resident of West End, have invested in an incredible project that makes West End more livable and more enticing for visitors and investors. It is very important for the community to protect the valuable ocean ecosystems by properly connecting their home and businesses to the sewer system.  West End has taken a giant leap forward in its protection of the waters that make the annual fishing tournament and many other events will be sustainable well into the future.

West End: A Community With An Environmental Focus

Roatan enjoyed another successful International Fishing Tournament this year! It was, without a doubt, an exciting and proud time for Roatán not only because the island was the host for the internationally popular festivities but also because island anglers won both events – the Rodeo and Bill Fish events.  The village of West End showcased a brand new paved road, one that has been under construction for much of this year and was enjoyed by residents and visitors.

 

Buried a few meters under this kilometer-long ribbon of stamped concrete road lays an entirely new sewage collection system.  This very popular tourist area has now the capability to treat its sanitary waste utilizing its newly installed sewer system. The system has 4 lift stations throughout the community that pump waste from homes and businesses to its final destination, the West End Waste Water Treatment Plant.  This plant was designed to treat up to 130,000 gallons per day and to remove 95% of the organic material, pathogens and suspended solids from the sewage stream. This treatment plant was completed on December of 2011 by ACME Environmental Solutions

 

The plant uses a treatment technology called the Extended Aeration Activated Sludge Process.  This treatment uses microorganism to feed on organic elements in the wastewater, producing a high quality effluent. This is the most popular biological treatment process for small to medium communities because it is very effective and can be built on a relatively small piece of land.

 

How exciting is it that West End will be able to treat all of its waste waters?  That this untreated waste will not be affecting the ground waters or the surface waters in this beautiful water front community!  The technology is environmentally friendly taking care of excess nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus that negatively impact our beautiful coral reef ecosystems.

 

For households that are now or will soon be connected to the new collection system, there is no change in their use habits.  Users can continue to use the same dish washing liquids, shampoos, soaps, etc although it is always recommended that items such as diapers, cigarette ends, plastics, papers, and other non-biodegradable materials not enter the sewer system.  Grease, paint and other materials like engine oils are big No-No’s!

 

The Municipality of Roatán and the resident of West End, have invested in an incredible project that makes West End more livable and more enticing for visitors and investors. It is very important for the community to protect the valuable ocean ecosystems by properly connecting their home and businesses to the sewer system.  West End has taken a giant leap forward in its protection of the waters that make the annual fishing tournament and many other events will be sustainable well into the future.

New Technologies For Leach Fields

In the July installment, we focused on septic tanks: their operation and maintenance.  This article will discuss the next step following the treatment tank: leach fields. A leach field is an area of soil that typically consists of an arrangement of trenches containing perforated pipes and porous material (often gravel) covered by a layer of soil. The function of a leach field is to continue the treatment activity by removing viruses and bacteria from wastewater so that it is safe when it returns to groundwater supplies.

art1-1 Gravel trenches were the customary element of leach fields.  However, a new versatile and effective technology has been introduced to Roatán by ACME Environmental Solutions utilizing chambers from INFILTRATOR Systems.  These gravelless leach fields receive the partially treated waters, the effluent, from a septic tank and transmit it into the undisturbed soil under and around the chambers, where final treatment and disbursement occurs. These chambers are formed from a series of arched, plastic vaults. The sides of each chamber have louvers to allow wastewater to seep into the surrounding soil. Because effluent flows freely into the space formed by the parallel rows of chambers, it spreads over much of the trench floor.

Leach fields should work efficiently for a long time, but many malfunction sooner than necessary for various reasons.  Your leach field will enjoy a longer life if these guidelines are followed.

Excess Water – Households should avoid using large amounts of water on any single day – spread laundry washing over multiple days.  Homeowners can minimize the flow of water from their homes by fixing leaky faucets.  Surface water runoff should be directed away from the leach field.art1-2

Clogs – Too many solids can clog both a septic tank and a leach field, and potentially lead to failure of the system.  ACME recommends that homeowners minimize the amount of undigested food waste that flows into their sewage system from the sink or garbage disposal and not dispose of inorganic solids such as dental floss, diapers or feminine hygiene products. Never flush substances that do not decompose.

Structural Damage – If the leach field structure is damaged, it can cease working properly and lead to flooding, backup and system failure.  For this reason, homeowners should not drive vehicles over their leach fields.  Roots can also clog or damage pipes, so owners should never plant trees close to leach fields.

Our daily habits determine the well-being of our sewage system and leach field.  Prevention is the key! Once a leach field has failed, an expensive underground repair follows.  It is our responsibility to treat our sewage waters to protect our groundwater.  Treating our sewage responsibly will permit the island to maintain a healthy water supply and environment.

New Technologies for Leach Fields

In the July installment, we focused on septic tanks: their operation and maintenance.  This article will discuss the next step following the treatment tank: leach fields. A leach field is an area of soil that typically consists of an arrangement of trenches containing perforated pipes and porous material (often gravel) covered by a layer of soil. The function of a leach field is to continue the treatment activity by removing viruses and bacteria from wastewater so that it is safe when it returns to groundwater supplies.

1Gravel trenches were the customary element of leach fields.  However, a new versatile and effective technology has been introduced to Roatán by ACME Environmental Solutions utilizing chambers from INFILTRATOR Systems.  These gravelless leach fields receive the partially treated waters, the effluent, from a septic tank and transmit it into the undisturbed soil under and around the chambers, where final treatment and disbursement occurs. These chambers are formed from a series of arched, plastic vaults. The sides of each chamber have louvers to allow wastewater to seep into the surrounding soil. Because effluent flows freely into the space formed by the parallel rows of chambers, it spreads over much of the trench floor.

Leach fields should work efficiently for a long time, but many malfunction sooner than necessary for various reasons.  Your leach field will enjoy a longer life if these guidelines are followed.

Excess Water – Households should avoid using large amounts of water on any single day – spread laundry washing over multiple days.  Homeowners can minimize the flow of water from their homes by fixing leaky faucets.  Surface water runoff should be directed away from the leach field.

Clogs – Too many solids can clog both a septic tank and a leach field, and potentially lead to failure of the system.  ACME recommends that homeowners minimize the amount of undigested food waste that flows into their sewage system from the sink or garbage disposal and not dispose of inorganic solids such as dental floss, diapers or feminine hygiene products. Never flush substances that do not decompose.2

Structural Damage – If the leach field structure is damaged, it can cease working properly and lead to flooding, backup and system failure.  For this reason, homeowners should not drive vehicles over their leach fields.  Roots can also clog or damage pipes, so owners should never plant trees close to leach fields.

Our daily habits determine the well-being of our sewage system and leach field.  Prevention is the key! Once a leach field has failed, an expensive underground repair follows.  It is our responsibility to treat our sewage waters to protect our groundwater.  Treating our sewage responsibly will permit the island to maintain a healthy water supply and environment.