March 13th through 21st is our Spring Break and this year we have an opportunity to use the filter making experiences developed within our group to really make a difference for one of our sister organizations (FilterPure) operating out of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.   Lisa Ballantine, who founded and leads FilterPure, has asked for our hands. We contacted and let her know that we would be willing to send a group down to help staff the filter facilities in the Dominican Republic. They have already dramatically increased the number of filters they are producing in response to the earth quake in Haiti and need more trained hands.

Check back for more details as they develop.

Man-made ponds may be responsible for widespread arsenic contamination of ground water affecting millions of people in Bangladesh, a new study says.

According to the journal “Nature Geoscience”, the ponds have become a dumping ground for debris which releases arsenic into ground water.

Around 25m people in the country have been exposed to arsenic through water.

Arsenic contamination of ground water is a global problem and has occurred in other countries such as Argentina, Chile, China, India, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.

To read the entire article, go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8361660.stm.

By Oscar Munoz & Michelle Badash

Texas & Massachusetts

Most of us don’t give too much thought to the availability of clean water – turn on any faucet, and it’s there. We may realize that there are places in the developing world where clean water is not easily accessible – but many people would be surprised to learn that certain communities right here in the United States have no clean water at their disposal.

Faculty at the Texas A & M University (TAMU) have created a unique program that combines the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of potters, engineers, housing experts and medical staff to provide access to clean water to The Colonias, a group of 2000 communities spread across a 1,434 mile section along the Texas border next to the Rio Grande River. More than half a million people living in The Colonias have no running water or sewage system in their homes.

A photo slideshow/video about the TAMU Water Project created by Michelle Badash.

Michelle Badash has been developing award-winning print and Web-based health content for non-profits, academia and the private sector for more than 15 years. She currently works as the Managing Editor of an academic international nutrition journal, and is also a freelance consultant specializing in global health and photography projects. Michelle is a volunteer editor of this year’s Health Literacy Month storytelling project. You can contact her directly at michelle@mbadash.com

To read the complete story  click on the link below.

http://www.healthliteracymonth.org/hlm_article.asp?PageID=9168

By CORNELIA DEAN

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency, reports of Americans falling ill from drinking tap water are rare, and mostly involve people who are already in frail health. But it is not known how many people suffer unreported stomach upsets from bacterial contamination, or even more serious problems, like long-term exposure to contaminants like lead, from drinking tap water.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the community water systems that supply drinking water to most Americans. Every water system is required to publish a yearly “consumer confidence report” detailing contaminants or violations of water quality standards. You can see the report for your water system by contacting the system directly. To find your water system, visitwww.epa.gov/enviro/html/sdwis/sdwis_query.html.

To read the entire article in The New York Times, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13waterside.html?ref=us

By CHARLES DUHIGG

In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.

Read the entire article published in The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13water.html?_r=1&hp

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | August 12, 2009

A judge ordered a man to pick up trash for 300 hours after he was caught leaving jugs of water in the desert for illegal immigrants crossing over from Mexico. The man, Walt Staton, is a member of the group No More Deaths. He was cited for leaving the jugs in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. A federal jury in June convicted him of littering. Mr. Staton was also sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation, and he is banned from the refuge for a year. He could have been sentenced to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. Federal prosecutors had requested a $5,000 fine.

Below is an excerpt from an article on the work Jeff Schwarz and Dick Wukich are conducting at the Carnegie Library in Braddock.  This facility is a partner to the facilities we are building in Laredo, TX and College Station, TX.

 

Sunday, February 08, 2009

By Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

20090208bdbraddock_500Jeff Schwarz presses a filter in the Braddock Pot Shop.

As a distressed community, Braddock could make a good argument for getting a government bailout. Instead, it has become a producer of stimulus packages for communities with greater problems.

Last fall, the Braddock Pot Shop — a ceramics workshop operated by the Braddock Carnegie Arts Program in the basement of the Carnegie Library — took on an additional role: North America’s first water filter factory.

At Mayor John Fetterman’s urging, AmeriCorps agreed to make a former volunteer a full-time employee in the factory to produce ceramic cones that filter bacteria from water. It is an affiliate of the international network Potters for Peace.

AmericaCorps volunteers have worked in the ceramics studio since it was established in 2003 and been active for years in youth programs in Braddock. AmericaCorps alumni include Mr. Fetterman.

Jeff Schwarz, 33, a teacher in the studio, stepped into his full-time role impassioned about clay’s potential to improve and save lives — in the Third World or in developed countries during emergency situations in which drinking water supplies have been contaminated.

A graduate of Slippery Rock University, he caught the water filter bug from Richard Wukich, his mentor and teacher. Mr. Wukich is a member of Potters for Peace and has brought the group’s founder and other leaders to campus.

 

To read the rest of the story, go to http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09039/947753-82.stm

 

Manny Hernandez suggested we post this article from the Christian Science Monitor.

owater_p12Not enough: Girls in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, waited on March 6 for free fresh water provided by a charity group. The city doesn’t have enough water to meet demand.

With fresh water resources becoming scarcer worldwide due to population growth and climate change, a growing movement is working to make access to clean water a basic universal human right.

But it’s a contentious issue, experts say. Especially difficult is how to safely mesh public-sector interests with public ownership of resources – and determine the legal and economic ramifications of enshrining the right to water by law.

“It’s an issue that is snowballing,” says Tobias Schmitz, a water-resources expert with Both Ends, a Dutch environmental and development organization. Some 30 countries have a constitutional or legal provision ensuring individuals’ access to water, up from a handful a few years ago, he says.

“Everybody is grappling with the issue, knowing that we need to secure this right. But the question now is over the practical application of this right,” Dr. Schmitz says.

Government officials and leaders of numerous nongovernmental organizations and companies working on the water issue are meeting this week in Istanbul as part of the World Water Forum, which takes place every three years in a bid to shape global water policy.

To read the rest of the article, go to http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0319/p06s01-woeu.html

On December 28, 2008, the NYTimes Magazine ran a story about Ron Rivera, the coordinator of the ceramic water filter work with Potters for Peace who died from malaria in September 2008. Simply, “he found a way to get clean water” to people who need it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/magazine/28rivera-t.html?_r=2&ref=magazine

I encourage you to read this story. Ron was, and is, an inspiration to the TAMU Water Project.

TAMU Water Project members Steve Carpenter and Dick Wukich recently visited California State University-San Bernardino (CSUSB) where they conducted a two-day water filter workshop and public demonstration as well as a public lecture on the production of ceramic water filters and related projects. Below are some images of their trip. Professor Billie Sessions (art education) and Assistant Professor Alison Petty Ragguette (ceramics) made the visit, workshops and lectures possible.

Mixing clay on campus.

Mixing clay on campus.

Mixing clay in the middle of campus at CSUSB.

Mixing clay in the middle of campus at CSUSB.

Dick Wukich throwing part of a water filter receptacle.

Dick Wukich throwing part of a water filter receptacle.

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