Georgian Bay Forever’s “Divert and Capture: The Fight to Keep Microplastics/Fibres Out of Our Water” pilot project is continuing to look for volunteer households for its study.
The project calls for a total of 100 selected homes in Parry Sound to have external filters installed on their washing machines to capture and gauge the amounts of microfibres, a type of microplastic, that are released in the wastewater during laundry cycles.
Georgian Bay Forever Director of Development Amber Gordon-Bunn says the project has about one-third of the volunteer households already signed up to participate with another 70 households needed to complete the study.
Volunteers will be asked to collect the fibres captured from the filter unit into a sealed bag provided by the project and store the bags in their freezers.
Households will likely need to empty their units every three weeks to a month, depending on how often laundry is done.
This will be done over a two year period and at the conclusion of the study, the unit will revert to the volunteer household to own, free of charge, if they’d like to keep it.
If not, it will be removed at no charge.
To prequalify, volunteers will be asked to measure their laundry room space to ensure it has adequate room.
While the unit itself is 15” tall x 9″ wide x 8″ deep coming out from the wall, a minimum of 21 inches, top to bottom, will be needed to remove the unit for cleaning.
The two main reasons volunteers could be disqualified are either a lack of appropriate available space for the filter to be installed or they are not on town water/sewers which is a requirement.
Georgian Bay Forever reports microfibres less than 5mm in size get released from synthetic clothes in the wash cycle and end up in the millions in Ontario lakes.
Researchers have found microfibres in Great Lakes fish and in 80 percent of tap water sampled.
For more information on how to become a household volunteer, visit the Georgian Bay Forever website.