Monday, November 14, 2016

My WASHSPOT assignment

1.     Go explore the crowdsourcing website for previous washspots identified around San Bernardino. The site was built by previous ENVH 509 students for the San Bernardino area and is available here: Try to get an idea of previous entries and what these types of entries typically are.
2.     Travel to San Bernardino or around your local community and find two potential sites where homeless can access sanitation. You can also post sites where toilets were not used, but I suggest finding the improved sanitation sites. The sites should meet the following criteria:
    1. The site is not reported on by previous participants of in the same way. You should not simply repeat an earlier entry; instead, you can validate the entry or update a change.
    2. The site can be geotagged and photographed.  Look at the previous entries for ideas of what to add. Remember that not all previous entries are good entries. 
    3. The site is accessible to the public without discrimination. If you can’t find the “ideal toilet” or the “perfect public toilet”, please photograph the toilet site and list what the limitations are in the comment section.
    4. Please photograph the toilet first, then add any other relevant site information.
3.     Use your own smart phone to take photos that are geo-tagged with a location. If you don't have a smart phone, try to borrow it from a friend or family member. You may have to go into your smart phone and somehow configure the location services. You have to do that so that your smart phone will give your photos a location when you take the picture. If you can't find a smart phone, you can use a normal digital camera to take the photo and then write down the address of the location of the photo.
4.     Upload your phone's photo files to your computer. It may be helpful to check that the photos have a location in their properties. You can do this by right clicking on your photos after you upload them to a computer.
Alternatively, you could download the USHAHIDI app for Android (Links to an external site.), Apple or Windows Phones. I haven't been able to find a recent app for Apple or Windows phones. The apps move slowly and it is sometimes better to simply use your phone to take the photo and then go home to upload the photo to the right location. I linked my 2012 blog entry that might help you load this on your phone. (Links to an external site.)
5.     Make your entries on Click "submit a report">>Type a descriptive title in the "Report Title">>Type a description in the next textbox>>Choose a category>>Modify the date/time if necessary>>Move the red marker to the site where the contamination occurred.  For this assignment, I need to verify who uploaded the entries. Please put the initial of your last name with the full first name  (e.g. First Name = "Ryan", Last Name="S" >>Upload your photo of the toilet (you may need to make your file size much smaller before you upload the photo) >>>Click SUBMIT.  You will not see your entry on the website until I validate it as an entry from a real person in the class.
6.     Submit 2 entries from around San Bernardino or the Inland Empire.  If you don't live in Southern California, please perform this task for your own local area. If you live here, but are on "vacation" or a work trip, please do the activity locally and not in a destination that you are not familiar with. 

 Tips for Success: 
·       Make sure your phone’s GPS is turned on. In many phones you will have to “enable location services”. Take some test photographs and see if they give correct map information.
·       Do not travel to unfamiliar neighborhoods after 5:00 PM. Try to do your washspot in the late morning when the “night owls” are still sleeping.
·       Take pictures, but try very hard not to photograph people. If you have to photograph people, please ask their permission first and don’t submit any pictures revealing an individual’s face.
·       Your pictures should be descriptive in composition. Photos should show the toilet and any access issues that could affect its use.
·       Go to places where you know there may be an active homeless population that needs a public toilet. Some suggested locations are in downtown urban areas, freeways bridges, washes. Why is there many homeless congregating behind the Walmart in Redlands? Please don’t attempt a transect walk through informal homeless camps; instead, look for the adjacent sanitation services that may serve them.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Regime Change for Humanitarian Aid

How to make the humanitarian system more accountable

More of this discussion about the role of NGOs in the US Global Health Response:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sand Filter Update

Our Environmental Sampling class students setup the bucket sand filters to evaluate these simple low cost solutions for water filtration.  This is a model filter that can be completely built from items supplied from a big box hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe's. A previous blog details this.

  I've made some videos detailing the setup and construction process.
Video 1

Overall setup.  
  • Bottom has a perforated 1/2" pvc pipe with an elbow up to top
  • bottom 2 inces has 3/4" gravel
  • above that is 2 inches of 1/4" gravel
  • 10" above that is 0.3mm sand

Type of sand to use:  We sourced our sand and gravel from sepulveda building materials on Waterman street in San Bernardino.  The staff there are helpful in selecting the correct grain size of sand and gravel. .

Videos to detail the actual experiments will come in a later vlog / blog. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trip to GWRS

I brought the ENVH 569 students to the Ground Water Replenishment System GWRS in Orange County. Its an impressive facility and would have turned me into a full fledged Civil Engineer if I was any younger. It is refreshing to visit such an advanced approach to our drought in California. 
 The lab was also impressive. Those folks are progressive with their approach to testing all potential contaminants. The lab was designed with tours in mind and we could easily peer into windows with the lab techs hard at work.
 Everything is setup with tours in mind.

 We were all invited to taste the final product. Most students had the overwhelmingly surprising response: "It tastes like water".
 It is a clean facility that is designed for visitors to nose around on tours.

Our requisite blue helmet shot!