Currently, in many areas of the nation, small communities exist without access to adequate and safe water supplies. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California have several of these communities, called colonias, along the border with Mexico. Many of these communities suffer from high rates of infectious disease due to contaminated sources, unacceptable available water quality, insufficient water quantity, and/or undeveloped infrastructure. Solving these types of problems will require a design born of careful integration of cultural, technical, and regulatory considerations. This project proposes to utilize constructed wetland design as a viable economic solution for a colonia situation that can serve as a test case for more widespread use of this technology. The design will merge technical, social and regulatory aspects of water recycling into one approach. Detailed requirements of the design will include scientific, engineering, and cultural aspects of the system. Based on the social, economic, technical, and environmental information gathered, select up to two on-site water recovery system technologies that are simple, inexpensive, and culturally acceptable. Details of design (plants selected, effluent discharge) are based on interviews with colonia residents to determine their needs. Final site selection is based on poor soils (inappropriate for a leach field), vicinity to schools, and interested families. A comparison of options determined a constructed wetland to be the most viable option. Chipped tires are used as the media, hence, a solid waste problem (local resource) in colonias is converted to a beneficial use. We then analyze and monitor the field performance of the constructed wetland paying special attention to the early TSS discharge of rust particles from steel belted tires. Students are involved from colonia communities in monitoring of systems and environmental data collection. The lessons learned to date are given and construction will begin in Spring of 2002.