Drainage Efforts Aid in Haiti Social Center Project

Nov. 12, 2021

The storm water drainage system at a new soccer complex here has been named Project of the Year by the Drainage Division of the Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc.

Building a social center in rural Haiti that would support the area’s underprivileged youth is the vision of Project Living Hope, a charitable organization based in Stayton, Oregon. The development includes a sports facility with three soccer fields, a basketball court, a vocational center and a multipurpose classroom. The organization also runs a soccer academy at Camp Marie, which is on the west coast of Haiti. Dr. Guesly Dessieux, an Oregon-based physician of Haitian descent, founded Project Living Hope in order to have a greater positive impact on the young people of Haiti. The emphasis on soccer stems from his longtime passion for the game. During the coming years, there are plans to add a large community hall, an educational building and guest housing onsite.

For the soccer pitch, storm water drainage was a critical component.  Prior to the installation of the new drainage system, the fields of Camp Marie would have standing water after a storm that would require a week of clear weather in order to dry.  More than 1,500 feet of Pacific Corrugated’s StormTite double wall large diameter, corrugated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe was used for the drainage system. Now, rainwater is effectively diverted, leaving the soccer fields clear and available for daily use.

The storm water drainage system at a new soccer complex here has been named Project of the Year by the Drainage Division of the Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI).  The honor went to the system’s pipe manufacturer, Pacific Corrugated Pipe Company (Hubbard, OR), a PPI member company.  The association’s annual awards program recognizes projects and members for exceptional contributions to the industry.  Submissions in each of the association's divisions are reviewed, evaluated and voted upon by the PPI members.  

“We seldom have an opportunity to support a benevolent project outside the United States,” said TJ Leason, president of Pacific Corrugated Pipe. “When we were contacted by Dr. Dessieux, who has his practice near our Oregon plant, regarding his project in an under-resourced area of Haiti, we were eager to assist. After the drainage requirements were outlined for the design of the soccer pitch, we knew we could help get the ball rolling in this important first component of Project Living Hope’s master plan. The design was pretty simple, including four different diameters of pipe as well as complimentary fittings. But, due to the remoteness of the site, it was important that the pipe would be lightweight and easy to install.  So, with minimal assistance from a small excavator, a few dump trucks and a determined installation team, the project was quickly completed.”

Leason added: “The pipe came from our Hubbard, Oregon, plant and shipped in Project Living Hope’s shipping containers, which are repeatedly used to bring various materials into Haiti from the U.S. and serve as walls for the vocational center when not transporting goods.”

The lightweight corrugated plastic pipe was ideal for the remote setting and the limited availability of heavy equipment. The construction crew from Siegmund Excavation & Construction, Inc. (Stayton, Oregon) came to Haiti to oversee and install the storm water drainage system. 

“Even 20-foot-long sections of three-foot diameter pipe were pretty straightforward to install for the volunteer crew and Siegmund,” said Daniel Currence, P.E., director of engineering for PPI’s Drainage Division. “The corrugated plastic pipe products enabled community members to assist the contractor team, providing a rapid installation. The low material and installation costs associated with corrugated HDPE pipe provided the best solution compared to other pipe, and allowed Project Living Hope to complete the soccer field drainage all at one time, rather than in phases. Plus, the HDPE pipe has a projected service life of a hundred years.”

Currence discussed the properties of the pipe.

“An additional benefit of the HDPE pipe is its resiliency,” he said. “The HDPE material will not corrode, rust or degrade due to biological attack so the pipe resists bio-clogging and will be able to maintain high and consistent flow capacities over the service life of a system. In addition, HDPE pipe has a very favorable strength-to-weight ratio and is a sustainable and environmentally responsible choice that will serve generations to come.”

Additional advantages were realized early in the process while loading the shipping container because the lightweight pipe was easy to maneuver and nest for efficient road and barge transport. When received in Haiti, the offload was relatively effortless without any heavy equipment. During the installation process, after the trenches were dug, this is where the light-weight and ease of installation benefits were most evident as it was completed almost exclusively without machinery. 

In presenting the PPI Project of the Year Award to Pacific Corrugated Pipe, PPI President David M. Fink said:

"This is truly a wonderful project and kind of amazing when you think about it. Here’s a community with a high rate of poverty getting a storm water drainage system that is basically the same as the ones found at professional soccer, football and baseball stadiums. All of these fields have HDPE pipe underground to drain away the water and make the fields playable sooner.”         

Leason also touched on the significance of the project. 

“The Project Living Hope soccer fields represent an important first step in realizing the vision to create a master planned community gathering place in Camp Marie,” he said. “Simple engineering, effective products, volunteer efforts, and hard work provided by locals resulted in a successful installation.  The impact of this project is to bring joy to community members for years to come. Further, this project went a long way in clearly demonstrating the impressive advantages corrugated plastic pipe brings to virtually any project.”

More information can be found at www.plasticpipe.org or Project Living Hope www.plhope.org.

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Steve Cooper

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