Jillian Kenny is a junior at Appalachian State University and an intern with Appalachian Voices’ Water Team. She does the dirty work of monitoring coal companies’ water pollution records, but her commitment to clean water extends beyond her intern hours.
I had the amazing opportunity to be on a team of students at Appalachian State University that has been working over the past school year to create a miniature wetland to install in the local salon Haircut 101. Bobbie Jo Swinson, the project’s student leader, received a $15,000 grant for the project last year from an EPA P3 Phase I grant. The purpose of EPA’s P3 — People, Prosperity, and the Planet — is to inspire students to design sustainable solutions for world issues and bring their ideas into the marketplace.
Our project, Grow Clean Water, was inspired by Bobbie Jo’s work as a hair stylist and her experience watching chemicals from hair treatments lost down the drain. Students from appropriate technology, biology, chemistry, interior design, and sustainable development worked to design the biological graywater system to treat the hair salon water using aquatic plants before being recycled through the salon’s toilets for flushing. Graywater is the water from sources such as baths, sinks, and laundry machines; it is not to be confused with blackwater, which contains fecal matter. Aside from removing contaminants, we also wanted the system to function as living art that would educate the community about recycling graywater.Read more