How can design using grey water systems and rainwater harvesting facilitate healthy growth in children exposed to lead in Flint, Michigan?

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Castano, Cassandra
Department of Urban Horticulture and Design of the State University of New York, Farmingdale State College
HORT 474 , action level , blackwater , Flint water crisis , grey water , impervious surface , lead , non-potable water , pathogenic microorganisms , phytoremediation , rainwater harvesting , sorption , sustainability , sustainable drainage system , SuDS
According to the World Health Organization, toxins such as heavy metals contaminating water systems is a major public health concern. This is particularly true for Flint, Michigan. This design research addresses whether lead contaminants can be filtered out of the water in a sustainable, educational and safe way for the use of children already exposed to high levels of lead. The Great Expectations Early Childhood Program in the University of Michigan is where the design is being researched for, as it already is a site to facilitate healthy development for children exposed to lead through education. Merging practices such as phytoremediation, rainwater harvesting and grey water filtration create a source for clean non-potable water with lead levels below the EPA action levels of 15 ppb. After the water is cleansed, it will benefit two specific areas for the children to interact with. The first major area filtered by greywater is dedicated to irrigating the children's garden for harvesting, foraging and beautification. The second major area harvests rainwater to integrate into a water play/exploration zone. Children that interact with this area are introduced to fundamental science concepts through water play. In the future, communities who seek to collect and recycle water, while filtering out toxins may find this research useful, especially in areas that are heavily utilized by children. The overall proposal celebrates water as an essential part of life that is utilized sustainably for the education and enjoyment of the Flint community.
A Design Capstone submitted to the Department of Urban Horticulture and Design of the State University of New York, Farmingdale State College. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor’s of Technology In Landscape Development, May 2019 Long Island, NY. Advised by Professor Stevie Famulari, Gds. Course: HORT 474- Capstone.