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Local 400 Builds Mobile Wash Stations for the Navajo Nation

Local 400 Builds Mobile Wash Stations for the Navajo Nation

Pictured from left to right are Local 400 Business Manager Trevor Martin, Local 400 Welding Coordinator Matt Stoop, IAPMO Director Randy Lorge, Local 400 Welding Instructor Jeremy Meyers, and Local 400 Assistant Business Manager Doug Dokey.


The International Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) is collaborating with DigDeep, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 400, Appleton, WI, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) to provide mobile wash stations for the Navajo Water Project.

More than 30 percent of Navajo Nation residents—an estimated 52,000 people—live without running water, and with COVID-19 devastating our nation, and with 13,000 Navajo residents having contracted the virus, the availability of clean water for proper sanitation is more important than ever.

IWSH partners with DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project to solve domestic water and sanitation issues on behalf of Native Americans in remote areas of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. For this initiative, IWSH and DigDeep are working together to design two mobile wash station prototypes with the assistance of Local 400. These prototype units were recently built by Local 400 volunteers and have been unveiled at MSOE for further testing and troubleshooting through the winter months. The two prototypes are a 120-volt model and a solar-powered 12-volt model. Once the designs are tested by the MSOE community, the prototypes will be revised to incorporate any findings, and then the drawings and bill of materials will be finalized. IWSH will then lead a Wash Station Challenge this spring, where volunteers from UA locals will be invited to assemble 10 to 12 wash stations ready for delivery to the Navajo Nation by summer 2021. IWSH will be sharing updates from the project through the winter.  

Local 400 Business Manager Trevor Martin stated that Local 400 is excited to be a part of this critical project. “Local 400’s members are proud to volunteer their skills and knowledge to such a worthy effort,” said Business Manager Martin. “IWSH and DigDeep continue to do great work throughout the United States and the world, providing safe water and hygiene solutions to the most remote corners of the globe.”

Randy Lorge, Director of Workforce Training and Development for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), who is also a Local 400 member and an Instructor for the apprenticeship program at Fox Valley Technical College, is leading the overall project. He said, “I am very proud of the support IWSH received from Local 400 on this project. For each of the Community Plumbing Challenges (CPC) over the past five years, they have literally shown the world that their members are ready and willing to help whenever and wherever they are needed. The skills and craftsmanship they bring to help the CPCs are second to none, and the prototypes reflect it.”

CPC is an international program of the IAPMO Group. The Community Plumbing Challenge, Navajo Nation, is just one of the many challenges Local 400 has been a part of.

With World Plumbing Day approaching on March 11, it is humbling to witness our Brothers and Sisters finding opportunities to collaborate, build connections, and share knowledge to improve the quality of, and access to, fresh water and safe sanitation for all.