Point of Use Water Filters: A Grassroots Train-the-Trainer Program

Flint, Michigan, USA

Through this project, a program was developed to train individuals within the Flint community to receive instruction to support community-lead training of residents on how to install, operate and maintain their faucet-mounted point-of-use filters.

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Funding Sources

Urban Collaboratory

Kellogg Foundation

Community Foundation of Greater Flint

Genesee Health Systems

Greater Flint Neighborhood Coalition

Flint Neighborhoods United

Wayne State University

Genesee County Health Department

National Center for Health Housing

Student and faculty time was volunteered

Point-of-use water filters are installed directly on the faucets in private homes and businesses.

The two most common filter brands are PUR and Brita. Even though both brands have similar modes of operation (filtration through activated carbon block), installation and operation is not the same between the two brands.  The training uses a blend of manufacturer information and knowledge developed from research and experience with the devices to guide users on options for how to use and maintain the filters in a manner that meets user goals.  Factors such as impact of use patterns on water quality and cost of flushing are considered and included in the training.  This training module is designed to be translatable to other communities that are deploying point-of-use faucet-mounted filters to address water quality concerns, as a way to empower local users of the devices.

 

This program was developed to help empower community members by equipping them with information that would support safe and effective use of point-of-use filters in homes.  The project was initiated when Ms. Carma Lewis from the Flint Action Coordinating Team and Elizabeth Burtch from Genesee Health System reached out to Professors Nancy Love (University of Michigan) and Shawn McElmurry (Wayne State University) to request their help in creating a training module for use by community organizations to train community members on proper installation, maintenance, and replacement of point-of-use water filters.

 

To date, over 150 Flint residents have been trained on the methods needed to train community members on how to use point of use water filters.

 

University of Michigan and Wayne State University students are now collaborating with the Genessee County Health Department and the Genessee Health system to develop complementary video that extends beyond manufacturer videos, and to provide translations (Spanish, sign language) that give multi-lingual access to the materials.

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