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Ch'e'en Ja' Water Plant

In 2020, YPM in Mexico (YPM) formed a partnership with a Living Waters for the World (LWFTW) https://www.livingwatersfortheworld.org/ team that was sponsored by First Presbyterian Church from San Antonio, Texas (FPCSA)  https://fpcsanantonio.org/ . In January 2020, teams from Northminster Presbyterian Church (NPC) http://www.northminster.us/ laid the first concrete blocks starting the building construction with artisans from Leona Vicario. The artisans continued working with plans to supplement the labor with other teams from the US. In March of 2020, Covid-19 limited the ability for groups to travel internationally. Work on the building continued as local labor was available.  Because of Covid-19, the team from FPCSA was not able to assist in the water treatment equipment installation as planned so a team from LWFTW located in Cancun assisted with the equipment installation. The plant opened in February 2021, and is providing clean affordable water to the community. The plant employs 4 people. Over time, several of the employees have been students of IYPM and others members of the local community.

Ch’e’en Ja’ is Mayan for well water. This name was chosen since an existing community well is located on the site. This well is not the source of water for the plant. A new well was drilled to a depth of 17 meters. Water from this well is pumped through filters into large storage tanks. The water is chlorinated and allowed to settle to remove sand and other particulates. The water is again pumped through a filter before the water softener. After softening, the water is pumped through a reverse osmosis (RO) unit. This is the heart of the system as it removes the remaining contaminants. The water is then stored in smaller tanks until it is ready to be used. As bottles are brought in for filling, they go through a 3-step cleaning and rinsing process. The water from the clean water tanks is used for this. Before the bottles are filled the clean water passes through an ultraviolet light filter that is effective against viruses and bacteria. The bottles are then filled and sealed. About ½ of the water pumped from the well is used in back washing the filters and RO unit, regenerating the water softener and cleaning the bottles before filling. The waste water is returned to the aquifer through a septic system.

The goal of Ch’e’en Ja’ is to improve the health of the Mayan communities by providing them affordable clean water. The plant operates as a business under Mexican regulations as they sell a product and collect taxes on their product.  The desire is for the plant to be self-sustaining financially, and to date they have been successful.