During Pre-service Training (PST) Tech Week, I learned how to make a clean-out pipe, or limpieza in Spanish, for a rural acueduct. The purpose of a limpieza is to wash out the scum and basura that collects in the lower parts of an acueduct. Every time the water committee has a Cleaning Day for the acueduct, someone will twist off the cap, turn the llave and allow the ‘trash’ to flow out. Then the cap is secured again and the water will flow normally.

With a group of other trainees and a PCV facilitator, we trekked to a low point in the system right before an incline over a stream. First we were instructed to cut the tube. Well we didn’t wait until the water was turned off, so we kept cutting while being sprayed with a ton of water. It was hilarious and we were all soaked by the end. The facilitator, Ben, cracked up since he knew all along what would happen. Once the water stopped flowing, we wiped and dried off the exposed tubes. With PVC glue in hand, we connected the necessary pieces as shown in the image: a tee, llave de paso, section of 2″ pipe, a ribbed connector, and a ribbed twist off 2″ end cap. We learned how to properly glue two PVC parts together: placing a layer on the inside of the female part to the outside of the part part, then strengthening the connection with a quarter turn. We also learned that it is vital to wait until the glue completely dries (about 2 hours is preferred) until turning the water back on. During our tech training, PCV facilitators also instructed us how to thermoform tubes. This is a technique where oil is heated and a tube placed inside the hot oil. Do NOT use this oil afterwards for cooking! If you do not have any oil on hand, you can also just place the tube in the fire of a fogon. The heated tube can then be molded as needed. It especially works well for enlarging a tube, in place of purchasing a connector or adaptor. Unfortunately it does not serve well as an elbow or tee, so purchase those in town. Anyhow, all lessons learned during tech week have proved to be extremely useful here in the campo! I am looking forward to the new year (2017!) where we will hopefully be installing limpiezas in the acueduct.

limpieza (2)


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