2018-05-16 / Front Page

Turrill students to raise money for water filtration units for Haiti

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


Steve Smith of the Lapeer Free Methodist Church spoke to Turrill Elementary students on Friday about the water crisis in Haiti, and what we can all do to help. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Steve Smith of the Lapeer Free Methodist Church spoke to Turrill Elementary students on Friday about the water crisis in Haiti, and what we can all do to help. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese LAPEER — Steve and Cheryl Smith are heading to Haiti, and the students at Turrill Elementary School are aiming to do their part to make a difference too.

The Smiths, as part of Lapeer Free Methodist Church, are heading to the Caribbean island nation looking to provide water filtration systems to residents, and Lapeer-based Girl Scouts Troop 76161, with the help of Turrill students, will be raising money this week to purchase as many filtration units as possible.

Steve Smith visited Turrill Elementary on Friday to share with students a bit of background on the importance of clean water. “There’s a water crisis in the world, but especially Haiti,” he said. “Here (in the USA) you can get water you need just by turning on the tap, but in places like Haiti, to get fresh water they can’t just turn on a faucet.”


Girl Scouts from Troop 76161 and Turrill Elementary students (from left) Alysse Campbell, Ella Stover, Anjolie Madden, Corinne Calkins and Gabby Hilts initiated the involvement of the school in the trip planned by Steve and Cheryl Smith. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Girl Scouts from Troop 76161 and Turrill Elementary students (from left) Alysse Campbell, Ella Stover, Anjolie Madden, Corinne Calkins and Gabby Hilts initiated the involvement of the school in the trip planned by Steve and Cheryl Smith. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese The Smiths have partnered with aid organization Water Project for Haiti to provide the island nation with an opportunity for safe, clean drinking water, and to do their part students at Turrill this week are raising money with a series of schoolwide activities, like pajama day and costume day.

Almost 1 billion people worldwide live without access to fresh water, and the Smiths, with the help of Turrill students, are looking to make a difference to as many people as possible. “We’re going to Haiti because the World Health Organization considers Haiti one of the most water-impoverished countries in the world,” said Smith. “The majority of Haitian families don’t have access to clean water in their homes.”

The Smiths plan to provide that access to clean water with a device called the biosand water filter. Similar to a garbage can in appearance, the filtration unit filters contaminated water through several layers. First, the dirty water enters a diffuser basin before trickling through a bio-layer. The bio-layer, said Smith contains several organisms that “eat the bad things that are in the water.” After that, water filters through a sand bed and a gravel bed before exiting 99 percent clean and safe.

“Because of the poor infrastructure (Haitian people) have no choice to use water that has been baking on the ground in the sun, even though they know it’s unsafe,” said Smith. “The biosand water filters go right in people’s homes, and (with the filters) we believe we can make a difference.”

The Smiths have been receiving assistance from several community organizations, including a donation of $1,500 from the Lapeer Rotary Club. Each biosand filtration unit costs about $80, said Smith, so any money raised by students at Turrill Elementary this week will go toward the units, and already Monday the school collectively had raised over $120, good for roughly a filtration unit and a half.

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