Team USA Wins the Community Plumbing Challenge

November 24, 2015 -- Team USA, whose sponsors included ASPE, emerged victorious in the recently completed Community Plumbing Challenge in Nashik, India. Team USA included three ASPE members: Jill Vande Boom, Judith Torres, and Douglas Nelson, PE, GPD.

The Community Plumbing Challenge, an initiative of The IAPMO Group and the World Plumbing Council, was hosted and facilitated by the Indian Plumbing Association and sponsored by the WorldSkills Foundation. The Nov. 2-5 competition was a follow-up to the Water Innovation Challenge of June 2014, which Team USA also won, and featured teams from Australia, Basque Country, India, and the United States. The goal of the Challenge was to design and build a new sanitation facility for Mukti Dham School No. 125, home to 400 students between the ages of 7 and 15.

Team USA started work on their design in May, which was submitted prior to their arrival and then presented to the local officials, judges, and the principal of the school. After the winning design was selected, the four teams worked collaboratively to implement the design at the school, with Team USA acting as the project manager. The school now has 25 working taps (up from four before) and handwash drainage, two taps in the toilet areas (up from none before), improved ventilation, better water pressure, and higher water tank storage capacity. The teams also created lesson plans to teach the kids the importance of health and sanitation.

"The experience was incredible, cultural barriers were forgotten, and all teams worked collaboratively to get the work done on time," says Judith Torres, who was a coach of Team USA. "We all got down and dirty to finish the work. I started out advising the team, to helping with modeling, to drawing quick hand sketches and details and taping them on the walls in the construction area, to translating between Spanish and English for Team Basque. My role as a Team USA coach quickly evolved into I'm not sure what, but it was all worth it to see the faces of those kids. To know we did something to better the lives of 400 children is priceless. Ultimately Team USA had the highest scoring and we won! Undefeated champs!"

Highlights from the Challenge can be found at A video explaining the design constructed is at Team USA can be found on Facebook at