WaterStep prepares kits and equipment to be shipped to Puerto Rico. | Courtesy WaterStep

Mark Hogg, the chief executive of Louisville-based WaterStep, will be on the ground this week in yet another disaster zone.

Hogg and four WaterStep members are flying to Carolina, Puerto Rico, via Missionary Flights International Tuesday on the organization’s latest mission. The team will be there for a week to train response workers and distribute the water systems, WaterStep said.

Puerto Rico suffered catastrophic damage from Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, which struck last month. A week after the storm, CNN reported that about half of the residents did not have water.

For this mission, WaterStep said that it was working with the National Puerto Rico Leadership Council Education Fund, a Florida based nonprofit, to install water purification units in all 78 Puerto Rican municipalities.

WaterStep said each kit contained disaster-tested equipment that can provide thousands of gallons of safe drinking water each day. The kits include:

  • Hard case box and bag
  • Portable Bleach Maker (a device that produces medical strength disinfectant used to sanitize clinics, kitchens, shelters)
  • Solar panel, which also serves as a cellphone charging station
  • M-100 chlorine generator (a device that produces safe drinking water)
  • 500 gallon Bladder tank for fast initial storage
  • Generator power adapter in case electric is available
  • Manifold to push water in to tank storage
  • Two-stage filter pack for particulates
  • Guzzler pump to pump water into storage tanks

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, relief agencies often ship bottled water and bottled bleach. But over the long term, WaterStep contends, “It’s expensive, heavy, and it’s not sustainable.”

The relief mission was made possible by an $81,000 grant from GE Appliances, which is covering the cost of the first 22 water purification kits that are being deployed this week and their transportation, the organization said.

Another Louisville-based organization, Love the Hungry, is supporting this effort by sending 7,000 nutrient-rich meals and two energy-efficient rocket stoves to feed the response workers, volunteers and translators during the training, according to WaterStep.

In September, WaterStep joined other organizations to donate water treatment systems, bleach generators and other supplies to hurricane-impacted areas in Florida.

In its 22 years, the group has helped people in 40 countries get clean water through giving tools and training and implementing water projects.

“WaterStep’s mission is to save lives with safe water,” Hogg told Insider previously.

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