The Vinyl Institute (VI) trade group joined forces with a nonprofit group to provide a well system to a family of five in Smithfield, Va., that lacked safe potable water, and had been buying it by the gallon for two years to drink, cook and clean.
The Washington-based trade association, which represents manufacturers of vinyl, vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), additives, and modifiers, partnered with the Water Well Trust (WWT) in Davidson, N.C., and others to cover the $15,000 cost of the well system equipment and the well drilling and installation.
The groups got involved after Jordan and Candice Vande Brakes reached out for help in April 2021. The water from their shallow well had turned cloudy and brown. The couple also was concerned about pesticide runoff from farm fields that surround their home, especially since they have three children under the age of five.
Checking the supply of bottled water was on the to-do list every day for the Vande Brakes, who had moved to the rural area in 2019 to be near family and shortly afterward quit using the well for everything but showers and the garden.
The Vande Brakes applied for help from WWT, which typically provides loans funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, this year, WWT received donations to assist five families free of charge.
In addition to the Vinyl Institute, Hometown H20, an effort between the Chris Long Foundation and Xylem Watermark, the philanthropic arm of water technology provider Xylem Inc., were involved in the Vande Brakes project.
Domestic water scarcity issues currently leave millions of Americans without access to clean water, according to Xylem, which sent a crew to work with Creason & Sons Well Service of Zuni to dig the hole for the Vande Brake's new well.
The installation was completed Aug. 24. Since then, home life has since improved in all kinds of ways, Jordan Vande Brake said in a news release.
"Having access to clean water for my family has been the best blessing we could have asked for. Clean water free from chemicals and unsafe substances for my children to bathe and cook with takes away a huge daily stress," he said. "… The new well has allowed us to be a healthier family, drinking more water than before. Having drinkable water has changed our lives in every aspect and we are eternally grateful!"
The volunteers also built a new swing set for the Vande Brake children, created a new well house for the pressure tank and painted the family's barn.
The work done for the Vande Brakes family was the fifth project for WWT and its affiliates but the first for VI, which contributed funds to cover the cost of PVC pipe for the 400-foot deep well.
"We're honored to have had the opportunity to partner with these organizations on their incredible mission to bring clean drinking water to Americans in need," VI President and CEO Ned Monroe said in a news release. "PVC pipe has a service life of 100-plus years, so this well should last the Vande Brakes long into the future. And because PVC is non-corrosive, the Vande Brakes also won't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into their water supply."
Founded in 1982, the Vinyl Institute promote the benefits of PVC for piping, flooring, roofing, vinyl siding and other applications. The group says the U.S. vinyl industry employs more than 350,000 people at nearly 3,000 facilities and generates an economic value of $54 billion.