Students design fluoride filtration system for school in Kenya

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MOUNT JACKSON, Va. (WHSV) -- Three students at the Massanutten Regional Governor's School in Mount Jackson, Virginia are working to bring clean drinking water to those in need.

Three students at the Massanutten Regional Governor's School work on a design for a fluoride filtration system for the Nasaruni Academy.

They're developing a fluoride filtration system for a girls' school in Narok, Kenya.

They have partnered with a group of students from James Madison University in Environmental Engineering who is working on the water delivery system design.

Since 2013, the Nasaruni Academy for Maasai Girls has been purchasing water to drink and cook with, due to the high levels of fluoride in their well water.

Russell Kohrs, environmental science teacher at MRGS, sits on the U.S. board for the Nasaruni Academy. The U.S. board primarily works to make capital improvements on the site, while raising funds and awareness.

Kohrs said that fluoride in water is a good thing in small amounts (many city water supplies in the U.S. have a small amount of fluoride deliberately added), but too much of it can hurt you.

"We don't want them to come to school and then get skeletal fluorosis from drinking the water," said Kohrs. "So as we're developing the school and building infrastructure, we want to make sure we're providing a healthy environment for the girls as well."

Three of Kohr's students have been working on the project since September. Isaac Alderfer, Gabrielle Delbiondo and Brittany Rohrer are incorporating a bone char furnace into their design.

Delbiondo said the challenge with this system is creating something that can be easily replicated by the locals in Narok.

"Bone char is feasible and it's cheap," said Delbiondo. "And in Kenya, like the specific place in Kenya that we're looking at, Narok, the people are often cattle herders, so they have excess bones there that can be used."

Kohrs said the bone char will leave a healthy amount of fluoride in the water.

Right now, 80 girls currently rely on the Nasaruni Academy for their education.

In order to assist these young women even further, the U.S. board for Nasaruni Academy is holding the second annual Empty Bowls soup supper at Harrisonburg High School on Mar. 31.

Community members are able to purchase tickets to attend a soup supper, served in pottery bowls handmade by local artisans.

All the proceeds raised at the Empty Bowls Supper go towards enabling the Maasai girls at Nasaruni Academy to eat nutritious meals by completing their dining hall and kitchen facilities.

For more information on the Nasaruni Academy or the Empty Bowls event, you can click on the links posted in the 'Related Links' section or just tap here.

Read the original version of this article at whsv.com.