Civil engineering students at MSOE have designed an award-winning wastewater treatment system for the Samara District, which is located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It includes a population of 6,000 in three communities: Cangrejal, Samara and Torito.

The communities rely heavily on tourism, and number of tourists (120,000) is projected to continue growing, along with the resident population. Currently, septic tanks are used to treat wastewater in this area but they are malfunctioning and becoming a public health hazard.

Through the Global Water Stewardship/Central States Water Environment Association (GWS/CSWEA) Student Design Competition, Alexis Countryman, Grace Cushing, Brigid Doyle, Brandon Garrido, Mercedes Lentz, Sydney Shaffer, Molly Stewart, Yilda Torres and Monica Vincent designed an alternate eco-friendly, centralized and sustainable treatment system. It can accommodate high flow variability, heavy rainfall, future flexibility and simple operation and maintenance. Finally, the team ensured that the design of the new system would preserve the natural environment including the coral reef off the coast, drinking water sources and natural beauty of the area. Congratulations to the team on a second place finish!