Domestic Water Woes

Contrary to popular belief, the US is not free from the water quality problems that plague many developing nations! After a water supply breach due to extensive flooding, the city of Minot, North Dakota issued a “boil order” for all residents. Imagine how different your life would be if drinking or even using your tap water put you at serious risk for nasty infections! That was June 25, and now 3 weeks later, a large part of the city still doesn’t have safe water coming out of their faucets. You can check out what constitutes a “boil order” here. If you live somewhere you don’t have to boil your own drinking water, take a moment to send some good vibes to your local water quality department, and then enjoy a refreshing glass of agua.

Filthy Water

Testing all that needs to be tested….

So here is the new website……and it’s in WordPress.

If you notice the URL is It’s been a long few months as we’ve migrated servers…email….applications and put all our “web” stuff in one spot. Email is back up and running (mostly) with a new gmail backend.

We’re also simultaneously tweeting and pushing the blog to Facebook. Please (look to your right) – Follow us!

Expect more to get posted….come back often…let us know if anything doesn’t work.


Earth Day!

This has been a busy week for us at Caribbean SEA – it’s Earth Week! We started off the week by visiting Calvin Donaldson Elementary School on Monday and Tuesday to show the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders how their everyday actions can affect everyone in Chattanooga, the United States, and the world!  They have a constructed wetland in their schoolyard that we used to talk to them about what makes it healthy and where the water comes from.  Then we showed them the tributary of Chattanooga Creek that runs behind the school – it has been concreted, is covered in algae and since it floods so easily, there was trash everywhere.  For each of the classes, we had the kids pick up (at least) one piece of trash (some got a little overzealous) and then they had to line up and pass each piece of trash down to the end person so they could see what would happen if everyone threw down one piece of trash.  That’s always the activity that hits them the hardest I think, and they have lots of fun with it! And we do too!! This program just amped us up even more for our “Kids 4 Clean Water” camps that we are having this summer!

We’re on the news!

Check out our spot on WDEF for Scenic City Outdoors!

Luckily we can escape – they can’t…

September 2010 Newsletter is up!!

Please check out out September 2010 Newsletter! Sorry it’s a bit late making it to the website

Caribbean Beach Party coming soon!!

Come have some fun and dream of the Caribbean!! Our Beach Party fundraiser will be at the Mill in the southside this year…with the rocking tunes of Milele Roots! We are also working on our new website…so have some patience with us as we transfer and change things. yikes!

Beach Party. February 25th, 2010. The Mill Event Hall (

A look at the Hurricane through another’s eyes

Take a look at Sven Homscheid’s blog about the aftermath of hurricane Tomas on St Lucia. He works for GTZ on renewable energy projects in the eastern Caribbean. The kids did get back to school last week across the island. There are still many areas with out water, however.

This week, our amazing volunteer, Jonathan Vickery, is back at Mr Elie’s farm in Mabouya Valley working on a redesign for the biodigester cover. Mr Elie’s farm was spared much damage from the hurricane. We have another digester design we also will try, thanks to Sven!

St Lucia after the Hurricane

Dear Friends,

For the last 10 days, I was in hurricane ravaged St Lucia and have an update for everyone. On Friday, October 29th, St. Lucians were told that Tropical Storm Tomas was headed their way from Barbados. Since it only stayed 3 hours over Barbados, most people continued in their final preparations for the Creole Festival, set to occur the 30th and 31st of October. The Festival never happened. Not only did Tomas intensify to a Category 2 hurricane, it stayed over St Lucia from Saturday morning until Sunday morning, dropping as much as 60 cm (nearly 2 feet!!) of rain in that 22 hour period. After the storm finally passed, the damage was everywhere: flooding washed out bridges and filled homes with mud and debris; the electricity and water were out EVERYWHERE; roads disintegrated or were covered by landslides; people lost their homes and even their lives in the landslides. It seriously hurt Fond St. Jacques where many people died as their homes were washed away by mudslides as well as the Livity Art Studio where 5 people died in a landslide and the area is now completely unrecognizable. It used to be rainforest. Now all you can see is mud and rock. One lane of the main road was recreated through the mud, only to slide down again when a tropical wave deluged us last Thursday. The southern part of the island was hit the worst, from Bexon where the Cul de Sac river is so full of mud and debris that the river is actually perched above the level of the village and the people continue to get flooded every time it rains to Micoud where one bridge is completely gone and two others are unstable but are still being used! The capital city and tourist areas in the north were mostly spared. While the electricity service was restored with impressive speed, most people on island are still living without clean water over 3 weeks after the hurricane. Can you imagine having to go to a river to collect water, to bathe, to wash clothes while knowing that the river or spring water is contaminated with sewage?

With the help of the German Embassy and the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute, I took 30 cases of PUR emergency water purification packets to the island. The anger and despair of people who do not have clean water was palpable. Global Medic from Canada also brought PUR and portable water treatment pumps. The water company reconnected the town of Soufriere to piped water, but people immediately started getting diarrhea from drinking the water. Caribbean SEA is not an emergency relief organization, but we so happy we were able to help. We typically work on long term solutions. The young adult leaders of our 5 student groups on island are now banding together to work on drinking water issues as well and we need to support them.

Can you help us this year? Any donations are so very welcome to help us pay for emergency water treatment as well as helping the students devise and implement long term solutions for their communities. In the Mabouya Valley, my friends have reported getting worms or small fish coming out through their kitchen faucets. They deserve better. You can mail donations to our US office or donate through our website at

Thanks so much for your consideration, your advice, and your prayers. If you have any questions or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Mary Beth H Sutton

Executive Director