Drill Team Shows Solidarity in Sierra Leone

Posted by Hayley Stewart on 05/01/2014

sierra leoneSince late 2010, Water4 has been working with John Campbell and Willamette Medical to bring clean water to the people of Sierra Leone. Over the last six months, John’s team successfully completed wells in nine of the ten villages they had identified with critical needs. But in the tenth village, they ran into an unexpected challenge: a layer of granite rock.

Water4 provided a motorized winch to assist in pounding the rock-breaking hammer, but even this setup fell short, providing penetration rates of only about an inch per day.

“Needless to say, we were frustrated,” says John.

Frustrated but undeterred, he and a visiting engineer from Chile put their heads together to find a solution. Using diamond-core bits provided by Water4, miscellaneous parts from a motorbike and a couple of old generators, and some old-fashioned ingenuity, “our Frankenstein machine came to life,” says John.

The team headed to the field with the makeshift drilling rig and, after some initial setbacks, was soon drilling through two inches of solid granite every 10 minutes. Just three weeks ago they drilled through the final 1.5 feet of rock and into the water table, and the well is now completely functional.

John reports that he and his team are “extremely hopeful that this prototype will aid in us getting clean water to more villages.”