Mazzetti+GBA Helps Bring Clean Water to Puerto Rico



Mazzetti+GBA believes in building healthier environments to make the world a better place - whether that environment is a hospital in a small Tennessee town or a community clinic in rural Burundi.

To carry out that vision in limited-resources settings around the world, the Nashville-based company, which is a global provider of MEP engineering design and technology consulting focused primarily on healthcare and mission critical markets, started the Sextant Foundation. The nonprofit aims to bring health to the world's people by building environmentally sustainable, affordable healthcare infrastructure where it's most critically needed.

This past November, Sextant volunteer engineers travelled to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria's devastating impact to help assess the community-based water systems around the island with the Department of Health and EPA and to aid other organizations responding to the disaster.

Gilbert Duggins and Casey Hester, two engineers from Mazzetti's Nashville office, were part of that group. Duggins explained his first role in Puerto Rico - "Initially, my mission was to interface with the EPA team, managing the assessment of Non-PRASA water services (PRASA is the water authority that provides water to most urban areas in Puerto Rico). The 230-plus, community-based sites represent somewhere between 5 to 15 percent of the public water service to residents on the island."

The Mazetti team helped prioritize the needs for EPA, FEMA and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that would begin restoring the water services.

Duggins continued, "As this process came to a close, I transitioned to assisting the Department of Health and Project HOPE with preparing documents for portable generator safety and carbon monoxide awareness. This is an ongoing effort on my behalf, working remotely from home in my spare time. The goal is to help them organize an outreach plan for mass distribution on the island."

Not surprisingly, the team's responsibilities and roles changed frequently over the 10 days spent in Puerto Rico. As Duggins noted, "You must be open-minded about what you are going to do. Situations change almost hourly so your mission can and will change. If you aren't flexible, you may miss a real opportunity to change someone's life."