Flooding in the Jefferson-Chalmers Neighborhood: Does Green Infrastructure Decrease Mold Infestation?


Climate change, failing infrastructure, and house disrepair have caused an increase in water damaged homes which has been associated to human respiratory diseases. Flooding along the marine coastal shorelines and estuaries caused by hurricanes and extreme weather events have led to water damaged homes resulting mold infestation. Similarly, increased flooding by extreme weather events and failing infrastructure has placed freshwater coastal urban communities and inland communities at a higher risk of respiratory disease associated with water damaged homes. A local Detroit survey designed by Wayne State University scientists and community members suggests that over 60% of those surveyed have experienced flooding in recent years. Our goal is to determine if flooded homes in the neighborhood of Jefferson-Chalmers, Detroit, have more mold and mycotoxins than houses that have not been flooded. It is also to determine potential causes of the flooding and whether or not green infrastructure can serve as a potential solution. Our hypothesis is that flooded basements in Detroit are exposing residents to mold and their toxins, mycotoxins and that houses with green infrastructure will have less instances of flooding and mold in their basements. This study has four specific aims: 1) Sample site selection will be based on the 2020-2021 survey provided by Health Urban Waters and Center for Urban Studies. 2) Sampling and green infrastructure site surveys will be performed by a contactless visit. 3) Mold and mycotoxin analysis will be performed on samples provided by the participant. 4) All participants will receive a written report with results and remediation strategies and a follow up phone call will be made. The outcomes include the continuation of a Detroit community and WSU joint study that addresses community concerns and builds the WSU and Detroit community toolbox so that molds and their toxins and be identified and mitigated.

Visual model of a house with rising water levels outside from rain