Community Plumbing Challenge Team Finishes 2017 Project

Team coach reflects on the important work that was completed at an Indonesian school
Community Plumbing Challenge Team Finishes 2017 Project

Randy Lorge, second from the left, with some of his fellow Community Plumbing Challenge team members during last year's project in Indonesia.

Editor’s Note: Randy Lorge is one of the coaches for the Community Plumbing Challenge team, which is currently in Indonesia doing a project for a school in a small village. It’s the third year for the program that aims to bring together plumbers and engineers from around the world to help regions that still lack basic sanitation and access to clean drinking water. Lorge will be blogging each day during the team’s time in Indonesia, detailing the work that they are doing.

Eight days ago my team and I arrived in Indonesia to upgrade a school’s plumbing system. We have now accomplished our goal.

We expanded a system of four toilets and no hand-washing facilities to six squat toilets and a brand-new hand-wash station with three taps. We eliminated an existing water supply that was sucked out of a contaminated water reservoir and connected the school to the city water supply. The city water supply, which is considered to be safe, unfortunately is not very reliable in that it is only on for a couple hours a day, every other day. To alleviate the potential of running out of water, we installed two elevated 800-gallon tanks that will give the school a fresh water supply for at least three days. 

The team installed all new underground drains for the toilets and sinks and roughed in new drains and waterlines for the next phase of the project, which will take place in March 2018. That phase, to be completed by the locals, will add two more new toilets and a wash basin. 

A brand-new, state-of-the-art septic tank with a chlorinator was added which discharges to a new evaporation drainfield. 

Hand-washing exercises and lessons were practiced with the children. A new waste recycling system was implemented on the playground. 

Lessons were given to the children and their teachers on the importance of plumbing. Presentations were delivered to educators from technical colleges on plumbing and its importance. A new Indonesian plumbing association was formed. 

Friendships were made and the lives of 30-plus team members were changed forever. It almost seems like it was a dream, but it wasn't.

I can't explain exactly how it feels to have been a part of this project. It's surreal — 2017 and people still live in areas of this world without sound plumbing systems.

If you recall from my first blog before the week’s work got started, I had a conversation with my dad. He questioned me on whether or not it was worth it. Would it really matter?

Well, it was worth it. Using one’s talents and skills to help someone less fortunate is and always will be worth it. I am so proud to be a plumber, let alone a third-generation plumber. Fellow plumbers, please don't ever take what you do for granted. Most of you will never travel halfway around the world to do a plumbing project. That's OK. We need you here, doing what you do every day. I do not care what anyone says — the jokes, the puns, the lack of respect — you, the plumber, protect the health of the nation. 

Do it daily, do it right, just do it. I’ve seen life without you, the plumber, and it’s not pretty.

If you missed any of Lorge’s daily blogs over the course of the project, check them out here:

Team Prepares for Upgrades to Indonesian School

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8


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