Questions for Andrew Sander

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Learn more about my research This month, Andrew Sander is here to answer your questions about engineering.
read some answers

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

What project have you worked on that you felt had the biggest positive impact?

posted on Sat, 07/04/2009 - 1:55pm
Andrew Sander's picture

I have working on projects for communities in Ghana, Guatemala and Uganda. All have involved providing, and or improving a long-term water source. In all of the projects, the availability of water has had an impact on the health, education and economic prosperity of the community. These projects are often located at schools, a central place in most communities. Children often are responsible for gathering water daily. By providing water at central, school locations, it eases this burden and allows students to attend classes.

One project in Guatemala, required water for irrigation of a soccer field in a community educational park. This might not be the first end-use most people would think necessary, however, in this region, soccer is very popular and this field is very nice. The community generates revenue from league teams that use the field and is able to provide more community programs as a result.

posted on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 10:55am
Preston Chan's picture
Preston Chan says:

The engineering expertise in this country is phenomenal. If this expertise is required to implement quality projects abroad, how will these projects be maintained once you leave? Isn't chlorine dosing a very difficult task to manage? It is hard to imagine that a low-developed community will bill able to deal with engineering problems that will inevitably arise only a short time later. I would appreciate your comments for how you deal with a 15 year plan on these drinking water projects. Thank you and good luck!

posted on Fri, 08/07/2009 - 2:16pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Hi my name is Kayla and I want to know how do you filter the water we drink.

posted on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 4:04pm
Andrew Sander's picture


That question depends on a number of different factors. The water source and quality determine what level of treatment is required. For instance, if you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul, the water you drink originates from the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is a surface water source and generally requires more treatment than water that comes from a well. Regardless of the source, all drinkable water must meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards.

In general, the first step to treatment is the removal of dirt and other large particles with something that is called floc. This sticks to the dirt particles, making them larger and settles them in a large tank. The second step is filtration where the water passes through a series of filters that remove smaller particles. These filters can be made of sand, small plastic fibers or charcoal. The last step is disinfection, usually with chlorine, right before it enters the pipe that leads to your neighborhood.

All of this equipment is costly and is why we pay water fees for the water we use. In developing communities, we aim to design, simple, effective systems that are easy and inexpensive to operate.

posted on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 11:18am
henry's picture
henry says:

how does engeneering change pepoles lives, especialy people in poverty?

posted on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 1:11pm
Joe tailfeathers's picture
Joe tailfeathers says:

what do you enjoy about engineering? i wanted to ask you because i might want become an egineer when i go to colllege and high school.

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 10:53am
curious's picture
curious says:

how do you guys balance out working on engineering projects in a community and educating the people of the community on how to maintain and use/understand what it is you've helped built for them? one of the most frustrating things is the idea of "bettering" people's lives-who appear to be living in poverty-by introducing basic engineering technology, but it will not really benefit the people if they themselves do not know how to maintain such facilities after the engineers have left to move onto a new project elsewhere. one example: why should i care about reliable electricity when i am barely finding enough food to eat each day? maybe you've seen these situations in person, i'd really appreciate your response.

posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 9:09pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

how did you start your engeniring career?

posted on Wed, 07/15/2009 - 11:14am
kim's picture
kim says:

what is the most difficult assignment that you have been given?

posted on Fri, 07/17/2009 - 1:09pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I read here that Biogas digesters collect methane gas from the decomposing waste. How does it do this, and is this method used in other places? I never heard of such thing

posted on Fri, 07/17/2009 - 6:17pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

what types of maths and sciences specifically did you have to learn to reach the job you do today?

posted on Sat, 08/15/2009 - 5:20pm
Helen's picture
Helen says:

Is it possible to convert sea water into fresh drinking water?

posted on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 2:36pm