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CE and ME undergraduate students contribute to a new water system in Puerto Rico

Civil and mechanical engineering undergraduates are teaming with students from University Puerto Rico Mayagüez to develop a new water system for a rural community in Puerto Rico.

Thanks to a community program in Puerto Rico similar to the Purdue EPICS program, Purdue engineering undergraduates Dustin Armer (ME), Matt Carroll (CE), Greg Mattes (ME), and Josh Messmer (CE) are experiencing real world engineering challenges outside the continental U.S. this fall semester. Señora Luisa Seijo-Maldonado, one of the pioneers of this program at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM), indicates that the program's goal is to help communities utilize their own resources through the technical expertise provided by this program at no cost to them. The multi-university, multi-disciplinary team also includes students from civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering as well as biology at UPRM. The project assigned to this team consists of developing a new community water system in the town of Humatas de Anasco to replace the current one that requires water being supplemented from other communities.

The other Purdue members of the team includes Civil Engineering's Professor Larry Nies and director of internships Dr. Bryan Hubbard. The Civil team will be responsible for the structural design, drawings, storage system and geomatics, while Mechanical Engineering, represented by undergraduates Dustin Armer and Greg Mattes and Professor Dan Hirleman, are working on adequate water flow and pump design as well as a system modeling tool that will provide guidance to communities on the tradeoffs between cost and performance. Through close communication with their Puerto Rico University counterparts and community leaders, a detailed work plan is progressing well. "Humata de Anasco has a vision of final water independence," according to Josh Messmer, "and this program is helping them achieve it."