Katie Jaggers, Author at WaterStep - Page 2 of 6

WaterStep Plans Disaster Relief Effort for Ecuador

                       Ecuador     Ecuador2     103557879-GettyImages-522339386.530x298

WaterStep is preparing to respond to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador on April 16th, causing wide-spread devastation and more than 650 deaths. This is the deadliest quake to hit the South American country of Ecuador in decades. We are working with Socidades Biblicas Unidades de Ecuador, an Ecuadorian NGO that has established 50 refugee camps housing approximately 75,000 people. WaterStep is supplying the technology and education needed to effectively bring safe water and health education to the victims. We plan to launch our efforts as early as next week.

The situation in Ecuador continues to worsen due to aftershocks, mudslides, and the delayed collapsing of buildings. With the rainy season just around the corner, the threat of rapidly spreading water-borne disease is imminent. Officials have identified the need for safe water and disease preventing measures as the top priorities in the recovery efforts.

In addition to providing safe water equipment and health training, WaterStep will send their recently developed bleach maker to Ecuadorian health clinics for field testing. After witnessing many sanitation challenges in the field, as well as receiving a request from another NGO during the Ebola outbreak, WaterStep aimed to create a new technology that could produce medical grade bleach while remiaining simple, effective and portable. WaterStep led a group of volunteers from University of Louisville, Louisville Water Company and General Electric’s First Build Innovation Center worked together to develop this very powerful disinfectant tool, and it will be field tested in health clinics at the refugee camps in Ecuador.

Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of WaterStep says, “Over the years WaterStep has worked to develop a network of innovators, donors, and friends who together have seen the impact of safe water during dire times. In Ecuador, we were introduced to the leaders managing the response effort, and now we can work quickly and efficiently to save lives.”

When disasters like this strike, individuals and organizations often focus their relief efforts on sending bottled water to the affected communities. But in fact, WaterStep’s portable water chlorinator provides a more sustainable, long-term source of safe water at a tiny fraction of the cost required to ship pre-packaged water.

WaterStep is also assisting ‘Ecuatorianos in da Ville’, another local organization planning disaster relief efforts, by donating four of its innovative M-100 water chlorinators and training. WaterStep’s M-100 has been recognized internationally by Sustainia100 as one of the world’s most impactful and sustainable solutions. The M-100, which was developed by WaterStep with the help of volunteer engineers from General Electric (GE) and the Louisville Water Company, is a water chlorinator small enough to fit in a backpack, yet powerful enough to provide safe water for thousands of people each day. It uses table salt and a 12-volt car battery, or solar panels, to simply and safely produce chlorine gas. When the gas is injected into contaminated water, it is highly effective in killing disease-causing pathogens and can produce up to 38,000 liters of safe water each day. WaterStep’s M-100 is currently deployed in more than 25 countries around the world.

To get more information, or to donate to WaterStep’s safe water and health education projects, visit www.waterstep.org or call (502) 568-6342. 

Sanitation in Costa Rica

waterstep louisville costa rica

El Jardin Sagrado is an international camp in Orosi Valley, Costa Rica

WaterStep will lead a six -member team that will travel to Orosi Valley, Costa Rica and begin a project providing proper access to sanitation. The team will include staff members from WaterStep and Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District, who will use their design and implementation expertise to provide appropriate sanitation systems to the 250-year-old small town of just over 4,500 people. The team will leave from Louisville on Saturday, March 12 and be in Costa Rica until March 19.

This will be WaterStep’s first sanitation project in the area. The team will work at an international camp owned by Global Missions, called El Jardin Sagrado, which hosts up to 1,000 international and local visitors year-round.

waterstep costa rica

El Jardin Sagrado looks out onto the river running through Orosi Valley.

The first phase of this project will focus on the central area of the camp, which includes water closets, restrooms, and showers. The team will install a new working septic system and add laterals into the rest of the camp. Once the WaterStep and MSD team show the owners of the camp how to install a working system, they will be able to repeat the process in other buildings on the camp, improving the access to sanitation across the camp.

WaterStep has provided sustainable water solutions – such as the M-100 chlorinator, and health education – to Costa Rica for 15 years and has led many trips to Orosi Valley. Teams have stayed at El Jardin Sagrado and worked with the leaders of the camp to find locations for safe water installations. WaterStep installed a water purification system at the camp in 2011.

According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 billion people lack access to proper sanitation around the world, while over 660 million people still lack access to safe drinking water sources. A lack of access to proper sanitation and water can lead to health issues such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Costa Rica has had access to sanitation tools for years, but many community members need to be educated about the proper way to use sanitation and the importance of it.

waterstep costa rica

A previous WaterStep team gathers in a meeting room at the camp after installing a water purifier at a local school.

We are looking forward to this trip and are eager to share the results with you. To learn more about our past work in Costa Rica, click on our recent projects.

Flint Love Shoe Collection Day

Louisville continues to prove why it is a compassionate city. This month, we have partnered with people all around the city to raise money and collect shoes for the children of Flint, MI who were impacted by high levels of lead in their drinking water.

We have been so excited to see schools, companies, and individuals unite around this cause, and tomorrow we are hosting a Shoe-Collection Day to celebrate. Join us at WaterStep’s headquarters and bring a pair of used shoes to donate. Your used shoes will be sold to an exporter and the proceeds will go to our Flint fund. If you would like to make a donation, you can also visit Louisville Water’s Flint Love website.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to those who have already partnered with us by donating or collecting shoes! Check out all of our partners, below:


Flint Sponsors Updated WaterStep


We’ll be collecting shoes and donations all through the month of February. If you would like to join this group by donating or collecting shoes, check out Louisville Water’s Flint Love website.

Show Some Love to Flint With No Strings Attached

“Today like any other day, WaterStep wants you to know though much of our equipment and training is designed for certain use in the developing world and disaster situations both natural and non-natural, it is never at the price of overlooking a neighbor,” Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of WaterStep, said on Friday.

WaterStep Donate to Flint

WaterStep, along with leaders around Louisville announced our plans on Friday to raise money to support the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Researchers found that lead had been seeping into the water in the Michigan community. Lead poisoning is dangerous. It can cause skin lesions, hair loss, vision loss, memory loss, depression and anxiety.

To help, we are inviting you to donate money or used shoes that will help fund the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. This fund will provide support to Flint children exposed to lead. “It’s not that we just feel bad for the people of Flint,” Mayor Greg Fischer said on Friday. “We’re going to do something for the people of Flint.” Students from St. Michael School in Louisville have already started doing just that. They asked their classmates to donate and collected thousands of shoes to go to our Flint Love Fundraiser.

WaterStep Donate to Flint

Louisville is a compassionate city and a city that understands the importance of access to safe water. “Our community is going to step up again,” Fischer said. “And show the people of Flint and American how our city exercises its value of compassion into action.”

And you don’t have to be from Louisville to donate! We invite anyone to donate online at our Flint Love website.

You can also donate shoes to WaterStep and we’ll use your used shoes to fund efforts in Flint. Want to know how we turn shoes into money? Check out our Shoe Info Video.

Find drop-sites for shoes near you, here.


Thank you to Ana, Our Partner in Costa Rica

Ana WaterStepWe are thankful for Ana and her dedication to saving lives with safe water in her country, Costa Rica. Ana has been a part of the WaterStep team for 9 years.

She was inspired to partner more deeply with WaterStep when she was invited to translate during water installs. Ana has worked tirelessly and faithfully on the field to bring safe water to her community. Ana says that safe water is important to her for her community’s health, but also because safe water “gives a sense of pride, a sense of being safe and respected by others.”

Ana also says, “I am proud to work for WaterStep…my life is not the same since I started working on this great project.”
Now, Ana helps WaterStep evaluate new potential sites and new communities for water projects. She is our in-country partner, and WaterStep is grateful for her partnership.

Because of Ana’s ground work, and your gifts, WaterStep has been able to visit Costa Rica annually, taking safe water to other Costa Rican neighbors.

This year, Ana made her first international trip to the US to celebrate WaterStep’s 20th Anniversary. She is a living example of why the work we do is so important. She lives and breathes the mission of WaterStep, and shares in our pursuit of a day when no one suffers from a water-borne illness.