LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville company is preparing to help thousands of Floridians have access to clean drinking water in the wake of Hurricane Ian.  

What You Need To Know

  • WaterStep builds mobile water purification carts for developing nations and disaster relief

  • WaterStep is mobilizing carts for a potential deployment to Florida

  • Just one Wow Cart can purify 10,000 gallons of water in a 24-hour-period.

The next 24-to-48 hours will determine the course of action for Joe Jacobi and all staff members and volunteers at Louisville’s WaterStep. The organization builds and deploys life saving, water-purifying carts called Wow Carts, and other purifying systems.

The destination for these mobile water-purifying carts will be determined by the path of destruction of Hurricane Ian currently ravaging Florida.

“We have to respond to the requests from the area,” Jacobi explains.

Jacobi is the volunteer director of manufacturing and if they send carts to Florida, it would be WaterStep ’s first hurricane response since deploying carts to an emergency relief center in St. Charles, Louisiana in 2020.

“That’s where the Red Cross had their kitchen set up. That’s where they had showers set up for the working personnel, soup kitchens going. They had laundry facilities going,” Jacobi explained.

Wow Carts provided clean water for all of those services. Just one carts can produce 10,000 gallons of drinking water in a 24 hour-period. Carts can and have been used in hospital settings and water collection points during disaster response. Most recently, WaterStep  had deployments in Puerto Rico and during the eastern Kentucky flooding in early August. 

“We’re bringing everything now into one area here in Louisville, so it can be distributed to Tampa. We are ramping up equipment in preparation and even in touch with people who can go down there, but we are on standby right now,” Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of WaterStep  told Spectrum News 1.

So exactly where WaterStep  responds will be settled in due time. The certainty is their ability to help thousands of people get access to clean water in short order.