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A New Way to Manage Wastewater

Purpose: The DEWATS (Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System) Committee was started in January 2020 with the goal of providing sanitary sewers in the local community of Santa Anita.

Background: Currently in Santa Anita raw sewage goes into holding tanks on each home’s property or into pit latrines. Often the inhabitants do not, or cannot afford to, empty the holding tanks, which leads to overflows into the soil around the house, eventually into the streets, and then into the estuary below Santa Anita. Besides being environmentally damaging, this is a health hazard for people who might walk in the raw sewage. It is also an airborne health hazard as the raw sewage promotes bacteria growth and disease transmission by insects. Typical diseases are dermatitis, pruritus, and eye infections.

Rationale: The installation of a traditional sewer system in an already established community is expensive because it requires installing large sewer pipes under the streets to allow gravity-flow of sewage to a treatment facility. One of our club members, Emilio de la Fuente, is a highly-experienced civil engineer with expertise in the installation of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems in economically depressed areas. These systems are much less expensive than a traditional system because they pump the sewage through small pipes that can be placed on top of the ground instead of being buried.

Activities: We have support for this project from ADERUSA A.C., which is a cooperative for the improvement of Santa Anita. We have met with officials from CESPT (Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana), the government organization responsible for water supply and sewage treatment in the area. Our next step is to provide CESPT with a detailed technical summary that explains the system concept and get their approval to proceed or their feedback on changes and next steps. Other steps include having our club become a 501c3 non-profit in the USA and applying for a Rotary Global Grant.


Some of Our Members

Steve Ellis

Founding Member

Scott Tobin


Billy Sanders