the SANITATION problem
Estimates note that 32% of the world’s population (2.4 billion people) lacked improved sanitation facilities in 2015. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more. Many countries lack the technical knowledge to develop and implement centralized sanitation solutions.
Global Water Stewardship resolves sanitation issues in the developing world by educating people and engineering sustainable centralized solutions that keep waterways clean and communities healthy
the GWS solution
Global Water Stewardship (GWS) has 1,300 members in our host organization that are experts in the planning, engineering, operations and maintenance of sustainable centralized wastewater/ sanitation collection and treatment systems. We utilize university student design competitions for the concept designs and then work with local engineers in the host country to finalize the design and implement the solution.

Through this process we educate individuals on how to design, implement, operate, and maintain centralized wastewater collection and treatment systems. We also develop user fee structures for the ongoing operations and maintenance costs and work with community outreach individuals to get community buy in.
We were established in 2013 by the Central States Water Environment Association (CSWEA), a member association of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). GWS utilizes the tremendous talent of the thousands of CSWEA/WEF water treatment professionals to improve the health and lives of people who lack the resources to do it on their own and to help solve sanitation issues globally. Our volunteers include strong advocates, leaders and innovators in the area of water resource sustainability.

We saw the need and the massive problem and decided that we could make a difference. We feel that sanitation is so vital to the health and prosperity of a community and its individuals. Good sanitation enhances a communities health and leads to reduced mortality and poverty. Sanitation is so important that it is our only priority.

GWS develops final design engineering documents for Costa Rican communities based on the WEF/CSWEA Student Design Competition. In general, the solution approach should be to construct a centralized treatment system with a complete collection system, and have it be a low cost/low maintenance solution that’s viable for the community to sustain and operate. Our professionals mentor the students to come up with innovative solutions for the project and present their solution at the Design Competition held each Spring at the CSWEA Education Seminar.

GWS selects the design that best solves the sanitation solutions in the community. The winning team works with the CSWEA professionals to finalize design and associated estimates for operation and maintenance. During the next trip to the community, the winning team is invited to work with Global Water Stewardship and the local communities to help implement the final design.

GWS strives to develop long term wastewater solutions utilizing the creativity and ingenuity of students from multiple universities and student chapters. Some schools also allow students to develop a design as part of a course that would receive credits. This improves student participation considerably, and offers GWS a wider variety of solutions to choose from for implementation. Please contact us if you are interested in this endeavor.

Each year, a new problem statement for a unique Costa Rican community is developed and posted in the Fall. Any student group can enter, with a usual deadline for entry in the Spring. GWS works with the Ministry of Water (AyA), local water authority (ASADA) and local NGOs and municipal leaders to implement our solutions. Use of the Costa Rican labor programs will allow for inexpensive construction. In addition, we are helping to educate the people and children of the communities we are serving about the risks of untreated wastewater and benefits of improved sanitation. Water professionals that have experience running wastewater treatment systems are encouraged to become involved and to help with startup and operations training of the systems.

Follow this link to learn about the current design competition and read this year's GWS problem statement >> http://www.cswea.org/SYP/Competition/.

Mohammed Haque, Director, is the District Manager for Lakes Region Sanitary District and has been involved managing public utilities for 19 years. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Central States Water Environment Association and on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies. Mohammed helped form the Global Water Stewardship out of a realization that the talented professionals and students in CSWEA could help solve the 2.4 billion people lacking sanitation problem worldwide.
Maureen Durkin, Chair, is a Managing Civil Engineer at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). She works in the Engineering Department supporting collection system maintenance efforts. Previously, Maureen was responsible for issuing permits for sewer construction and stormwater detention under the MWRD’s Sewer Permit Ordinance. In addition, she administered the MWRD’s infiltration and inflow control program. Maureen takes part in planning, design and construction of improvement projects.
Tim Bronn, Vice Chair, (P.E., BCEE) is a Senior Vice President at McMAHON Associates. He has been involved with wastewater for his entire career of over 40 years, starting as a part time lab tech in college, becoming a licensed operator, and finally chief chemist at a major sanitary district before returning to school to pursue his engineering degree. Tim has been involved in all phases of wastewater treatment including planning, design, and operations. He believes everyone, regardless of where they live, deserves to have clean water.
Matt Streicher, Treasurer, recently accepted a new position as Assistant Director/Civil Engineer for the Glenbard Wastewater Authority after serving as the District Engineer for the Wheaton Sanitary District for 8 years. He has a passion for wastewater treatment so that the environment can be preserved while also maintaining proper public health. Matt has been on board with GWS since its inception, and has had roles in several committees.
Elizabeth Heise (Bohne), Marketing Chair, is a Biological Engineer at Trotter and Associates, Inc, working on water and wastewater projects. Liz is currently pursuing her Masters in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois. She is very passionate about international development and public health and has worked on water and sanitation projects in small communities in both Latin America and Africa. She has experience in community outreach, fundraising, and sustainable project implementation.
Rich Hussey, Fundraising Chair, (P.E.) graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BS and MS in Environmental Engineering. Rich first worked as a civil consulting engineer and is currently a principal at LAI Ltd, a manufacturer representative firm of water and wastewater process equipment. Rich currently serves as the Program Chair for the Education Seminar Committee and the IL State Section Trustee within Central States Water Environment Association. He is also a Board Member for the Ground Hog Club in Chicago, IL.
Zack Wallin, Student Design Chair, is currently an engineer with Short Elliot Hendrickson. He assists in designing a variety of projects ranging from wastewater to water treatment facilities, as well as related small scale projects. Zack has a strong passion for providing sanitary living environments and creating sustainable communities, thus is excited to utilize his vocation in serving this purpose. Beyond working with sanitation and water treatment, Zack enjoys fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities.
Matt Castillo, Social Media Chair, (P.E.) is currently a senior project engineer with MSA Professional Services.
Paige Peters, Research & Development Chair, is a Graduate Research Assistant at Marquette University working on her Masters in Civil Engineering, focused on water and wastewater treatment. She has been committed to development work initiatives for the past 9 years, and is dedicated to the cause of providing adequate sanitation for those lacking access in order to improve their quality of life.
Manuel de los Santos, International Programs Chair, is the Product Manager for Biological Processes at Aqua-Aerobic Systems Inc. He has over 15 years of wastewater treatment design experience and work experience in Latin America. With this knowledge of wastewater treatment and his ability to communicate fluently in Spanish, he is instrumental in providing education to the local communities, as well as work with the local organizations and engineers in Spanish speaking countries, where GWS is currently focusing its efforts.
Jennifer Svennes, QA/QC Chair, is a Water/Wastewater Engineer at Nero Engineering. She has 8 years of consulting experience focusing on the planning, design and construction of water and wastewater projects. One of Jennifer’s primary goals in her career is to do rewarding work which she finds in projects that protect water resources and public health. She also enjoys collaborating with others in the industry, working toward the same goal, which makes GWS a ideal organization in which to serve using her skills.
Amanda Streicher (Heller), Past Chair, is an Environmental Engineer with Baxter & Woodman, Inc. She works in wastewater and water resources design. Amanda is conscious of the effects wastewater can have on the environment and its exponential effect on nature and quality of life. She is serving her second term as Chair and has been an integral member of GWS since its beginnings.

This committee works to gather funds from various sources and/or activities to cover the costs GWS incurs throughout the year. These costs include travel expenses to communities served, project startup expenses like surveying, professional services, education, and project construction costs.

Grants: Research and respond to various grant applications that the GWS is applicable for.
Large Events: Organize and run large donation events to help raise funds for GWS.
Donations & Corporate Sponsors: Contact and reach out to past, present, and potential donors and corporate sponsors.


This group assists the winning student design team with final quality control. Members review the submitted solution to ensure the design is functional and feasible. The Project Manager is also responsible for organization and gathering of equipment capital, operational, and maintenance costs. He or she delegates review work to several other GWS committee members and ensures the student team understands any required design changes. At this time, there is one Project Manager leading both the Piedras Blancas and Bahia Ballena project, but there is potential for additional Project Managers as GWS continues to expand.

Research & Development

This committee leads the charge on discovering new wastewater treatment technologies while making contacts within the industry. Members work to research ongoing advancements in order to provide the most up-to-date, low cost, low maintenance, sustainable systems to the communities GWS serves. The committee reaches out to manufacturers for equipment and material information, as well as for possible discounts or donations for each specific project. GWS is always looking for passionate professionals to assist on this committee.

Marketing & Social Media

The Marketing Committee is responsible for promoting the mission, goals, and achievements of the Global Water Stewardship. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to; creating t-shirts, banners, pamphlets, brochures, and leave-behind items, preparing marketing and business plans, advertising events, and sharing GWS progress through social media. This group works closely with the Fundraising Committee to promote GWS during public events. Be sure to check out the GWS Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts!

International Programs

This committee was created to serve as the connection between local project contacts and the GWS project team in the US. Amy Work is serving as the local Costa Rica representative for GWS and has been a strong asset for continuing progress in Costa Rica due to the limited time the US team can spend there each year. The committee is actively working to ensure all current projects are moving forward. This includes finalizing designs, obtaining permits or surveys, organizing biogarden construction, or suggesting treatment solutions. Constant communication is key to project success.


Committee Meetings
Check the calendar for the date and time of committee meetings, and email chair@globalwaterstewardship.org if you'd like to get involved.

Recent: Summer Costa Rica Trip
GWS members traveled to Costa Rica this past August to check in on multiple communities and to continue forward progress on our projects. Be sure to read the summer newsletter for more information, as well as the next issue of CSWater, always available free here: http://www.cswea.org/magazine/

You can help GWS today by donating directly to our cause.
Corporate Sponsors: $1,000+ Donation
Friends of GWS: up to $1,000 Donation

Select “Central States Water Pollution Control Association” as your donation choice and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases.

Thank You to our Sponsors:
Our Helping Hands
GWS has made numerous valuable contacts in both Costa Rica and the United States that have made it possible for GWS to connect with locals in project communities and gather information to begin each unique design process. Without the contributions of these organizations, GWS would not be where it is today.