WaterStep History Archives - WaterStep

Manufacturing Safe Water Technology

Volunteer Dr. Joe Jacobi has been an integral part of WaterStep’s mission for years, leading the development and manufacturing of the M-100 Chlorine Generator. Below, he shares how he got involved with WaterStep and how volunteering has been important to him. Learn how you can get involved and save lives with safe water.

volunteer for louisville charities

A few years ago after selling my dental practice of 36 years, I did some investigating into local nonprofits trying to find one where I might contribute something of substance to them and I would find fulfilling for my needs as well.  My dear wife, Kathy, suggested I talk to Mark Hogg of WaterStep.  I had heard Mark speak and demonstrate the water purifier they use at the Festival of Faiths in Louisville a few years earlier and the purpose of the organization intrigued me. Mark and I arranged to meet for coffee and after drinking countless cupstogether, he invited me to come down and meet some of the people who worked there.

The more I understood their purpose and mission, the more I began to realize that they were not in the water business but the health care business:  Saving lives through safe water.  I found myself back in health care again but in a most basic way.

I was volunteering at WaterStep when Mark told me WaterStep was planning to develop their own chlorine generating device which is the heart of the water purification system. This would give them control of costs and availability of the equipment, and thereby increase the number of lives improved through safe water.  He asked me to join the group of volunteer engineers who were developing this vital piece of equipment.

I enjoyed working with the engineers to develop and test the new design.  While the process was not smooth or easy, we eventually developed working prototypes.  We tested them in the lab and out of the country to finalize the best design.  Mark asked me if I wanted to supervise the manufacture of the new M-100 Chlorine Generator.  With the help of the WaterStep staff, volunteer engineers and workers, we developed the organization and tools needed to produce the M-100 Chlorine Generator.

We have attracted an amazing group of people who volunteer on a regular basis to devote their time, talents and energy.  The men and women volunteer to carefully construct a simple-to-use device that can improve the quality of life of many people and save many lives through safe water on an easily sustainable basis.  Their suggestions for constant improvement have improved the reliability and durability of the M-100, and they proudly send a little of themselves around the world in each and every unit. Around our work tables, we like to say that we are following an old Kentucky tradition of building our machines handmade, high quality, in small batches, and enjoyed around the world!

It has been a real blessing for me personally to be involved at WaterStep on several levels.  On one level, building the M-100 gives satisfaction to my need to create and build something that will positively affect the lives of thousands worldwide. But more importantly it has given me the opportunity to work with a fine group of dedicated people who have somehow found their way to come together and work collectively for the good of others.  In these troubled times they restore faith in humanity.

Learn more about the M-100 in this assembly video:

How to Install a Water Purifier (M-100) from WaterStep on Vimeo.

Fifth Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake


Five years ago today, we remember with deepest sympathy the people of Haiti and their great loss of family, structure and hope. Here are some reflections, including a short video from that time put together by our friends at City On A Hill.

January 12, 2010 was a Thursday. At 5:15pm, a friend called the office to give us a heads up that minutes before, a severe earthquake had ravaged Haiti.

We were concerned for the safety of our missionary family in the Dominican Republic and those we knew in-country. Immediately, a long night of phone calls was launched. We looked for our Haitian friends, contacted NGO partners and made sure our local supporters and churches knew what was happening. We turned up the volume on the news channels and watched with the rest of the world as the horror unfolded.

In the midst, The Salvation Army asked us to help them respond with water. As the hours passed, our thoughts turned toward a plan and the possibility of a larger effort.

The next morning, I came to the office early. Fifteen people were already standing outside the door; several were strangers. They greeted me and said, “We thought WaterStep (then EDGE Outreach) might be attempting to do something for the crisis in Haiti and we want to help.” Humbled, I unlocked the door. During the next 6 weeks, 24/7 and then beyond, our staff, friends, community and volunteers committed to bring water in a sustainable way to those people living in an upheaved land.

It seems selfish at the price of such loss to others saying those moments changed us, but they did. Winston Churchill said, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Transformation can be a choice. But earthquakes force transformation upon us with no regard. A man once told me, “It’s better to move through tragedy than past it.” It’s true, but messy. This perspective reveals past pain that’s a part of us, clearly seen and felt in our hindsight.

The people of Haiti didn’t choose their transformation, but continue to live it by allowing its memory to dictate hope or despair. As a global community, we remember too. While we embrace all things tragic and celebrative, it would be a great loss to waste this moment not reflecting on its impact in our own lives.

It has surely transformed me. I owe it to the people of Haiti to ponder that.

Though these past years have seen much good happen, the scars are deep. The earthquake blast peppered its devastation into the life of every single Haitian. Its impact continues to vibrate like the rumblings of rolling terrain as a part of their history. Today, I simply ask that Haiti remember less and less the reverberation of the land and more and more echoes of renewal that could pour within their hearts.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

To all the people of the WaterStep team who sacrificed their time, talent, treasures and knelt in prayer during those months of 2010.

To our Haitian friends who have given their lives to the dream of a healed country.

To the NGO’s and churches who worked along side us equipping, enabling us, empowering us to be better.

To the community of Louisville for believing that ordinary people can make a difference.

To the men and women who joined our teams on the ground from Haiti, Canada and the U.S. at great risk – there are no words.

And to God. May we eventually see your hope on the other side of all calamity.

I invite your response on how the earthquake five years ago impacted your own life and the lives of those you care about.



Mark Hogg
Founder and CEO

Shipping to the Philippines

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Thanks to donors like you, our Second Phase in the Philippines is in action. Last week, we packaged and shipped even more chlorinators to the areas most affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

In January, our team responded by sending 60 chlorine generators and a team of three to train more than 150 individuals, representing 47 different nonprofits and organizations. However, the need is still great.

Our second phase of work in the Philippines will bring safe water to even more people. Stay tuned on our blog to hear more about these emergency water purification kits and the people they are impacting.

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Meet the Millennials

WaterStep couldn’t be more excited about the next generation of our leaders. These Millennials have discovered their passions and have found creative ways to imbed their knowledge of safe water into their everyday lives. Check out thier stories!

Nathan Rider

My name is Nathan Rider.  I am the Regional Logistics Coordinator for the Philippines.  My interest in water originates in my interest in food. It just makes sense to empower communities with safe water before teaching better farming methods.  If water comes first, when they have great access to good food, community members wont starve from diarrhea caused by unsafe water.  Currently at WaterStep I am mapping and tracking the sustainability of WaterStep’s Post-Yolanda Disaster Relief work in the Philippines.  My communication skills, attention to detail, and interest in sustainability have proven to be essential for this task.  Eventually, in finding communities successfully empowered with safe water, I not only see a healthier community, but I envision a perfect foundation for economic and agricultural empowerment as well.


CoraLyn J. Turentine here: I serve WaterStep as the Director for WaterStep Indy, Ambassador to Haiti, and Health and Hygiene Instructor. It’s not that I care about water, but that I care about the people consuming the water. I’ve been fortunate enough to live a life filled with hope, founded in the ongoing exchange of love, and fueled by empowerment. My deepest desire is for others to have this experience, also. Working with safe water provides one strategy that is relevant in every context. The entire world needs safe water. The entire world also needs hope, love, and empowerment. Thus, I use the tool of safe water to share hope, exchange love, and ignite empowerment. Millennials are said to be very big on transparency when interacting with others. I try to remain honest and transparent when connecting others with WaterStep. When people encounter WaterStep, they should have an experience that is meaningful for them, and it shouldn’t be fabricated. I allow myself to be vulnerable in sharing my experience with WaterStep and our work in hopes that as people recognize our humanity, they will connect with it, relate to it, and be willing to reveal their humanity as well.

WaterStep Ali Awards

Sean M. Vandevander is a volunteer, and associate with WaterStep, who through his consulting firm helps to oversee special initiatives for the organization.  Vandevander is also an entrepreneur, and sees the value in building sustainable models of social venture for WaterStep to use in combating water issues globally.  Some of these initiatives include the WaterBall, distance learning programs, and the marketing of disaster relief systems to Emergency Management Agencies domestically.  Vandevander is also working to develop a sustainability themed incubator which will work very closely with WaterStep on multiple levels of social venture, and entrepreneurship.
Vandevander has always been aware of the burdens that are directly associated with water, and the greater needs for sanitation and access to safe resources.  Water is often tainted in parts of Appalachia that are directly polluted by the coal industry, and its vendors, as we recently saw in West Virginia with the chemical spill.  Being raised in Kentucky where coal provides 90% of the energy consumed sheds a light on the need for safe water.  3% of Kentucky currently does not have access to safe water, though Louisville is known as the water capitol of the world because of its reputable water utilities and the footprint of WaterStep in the community.
Vandevander specializes in business development and government relations.  He uses his relationships and networks to raise awareness for WaterStep and its mission, as well as drives special initiatives that open up new resources and opportunities for WaterStep.  Vandevander believes the millennial generation both sees and values the need for collaboration and cooperation in advancing both business and social venture.  He works to bring this to fruition in the creation of progressive and beneficial partnerships that best position WaterStep, and other interests for future success.


My name is Josh Hardesty, and as a WaterStep Millennial, I represent a generation of young adults who are truly invested in making a difference in our world, particularly as it relates to the global water crisis. My specific title with WaterStep is an International Ambassador, which means that I focus on how WaterStep interacts with other individuals and groups across the globe to widen our influence and deepen our impact so that we can make meaningful progress towards a world without unsafe drinking water. With the use of social media and various other forms of technology, I am able to connect with individuals all over the world to form common bonds that allow WaterStep to make a lasting difference in communities where unsafe drinking water is not accessible. Currently, I serve as one of two WaterStep Ambassadors in Europe, working to form relationships  across Europe and West Africa that Waterstep can partner with to fight the global water crisis as a united front. As a Waterstep Millennial it is my duty to use the tools at hand to ensure that my generation is aware of the crises that our world face and that we do all way can to stop them.

Morgan Floyd

My name is Morgan Floyd and I am a WaterStep Ambassador to India. Currently I live in Kolkata and this whole year I will be attempting to address the problem of unclean water in the public schools of Udaipur. I am passionate about safe water because I know what difference it makes in children’s lives. Clean water for these students will result in fewer diseases, better overall health, and better brain development. Most of my life has been devoted to children, both at home and abroad. I believe all children have the right to health: to run and play and learn and become the successful and happy adults they dream of being. This should not be dependent on the circumstances of their birth. The greatest assets that I have to contribute to the Millennial Team are flexibility and networking. Aid across culture, customs, and language barriers sometimes can be very difficult and frustrating. Flexibility has allowed me to overcome most of the obstacles I have faced while my networking skills connected me to individuals who have helped change happen. Both of these assets have allowed me to take on projects bigger than I thought possible.


My name is Katie Jaggers and I am Social Media Coordinator for WaterStep. Water is important to me because I believe access to safe water is a basic human right that should not be denied because of where and when someone was born. I believe that in my lifetime, the world water crisis can be solved. As Social Media Coordinator, I am able to connect with people through different digital networks and empower others to take steps that make a difference. Along with the team of WaterStep Millennials who work to reach out through social media, I can give a voice to global issues and represent my generation’s desire to end the water crisis. Universal communication and advocacy are essential to advancing WaterStep’s mission.

Tori Shover

My name is Victoria Shover and I am an Ambassador for WaterStep. I care about improving the world water crisis because I am concerned about the amount of human potential being lost to unsafe water. As a part of the Millennial Team, I utilize social media to raise awareness about the water crisis, make connects for potential partnerships in community development and learn about how others are engaging in social entrepreneurialship. While living abroad in Spain as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, I am working to increase my knowledge of globalization and how societal trends will dictate equitable access to education. I believe safe water saves lives and a healthy child will be a more successful student, more equipped to contribute to society, and ideally, able to empower others



Mark Hogg Recognized at Ali Humanitarian Awards

Thursday night at the 2013 Ali Awards, WaterStep CEO Mark Hogg was awarded the Kentucky Humanitarian of the Year. Other award winners included former President Jimmy Carter, Michael Bolton and Christina Aguilera.

The awards ceremony honored the winners for their commitment to different causes: water, hunger-relief, gender equality and more. Muhammed Ali, his wife Yolonda, and daughter Laila, along with President and CEO of the Ali Center Donald Lassere congratulated the award winners.

The awards ceremony also recognized additional award winners for their reflection of the core principles of the Muhammed Ali Center including confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. Six winners under the age of 30 were selected for each category. Three of the winners: Zahra Mahmoodi of Afghanistan, Tanvi Girotra of India, and Muhammed Kisirisa of Uganda toured WaterStep’s international headquarters the day after the awards.

Kisirisa took home an M-100 Chlorinator to install in his hometown. The others discussed potential of future collaboration and further connections that can advance WaterStep’s work.