Billionaire business magnate and investor Elon Musk has agreed to donate $480,350 for the purchase and installation of new water stations and ultraviolet water filtration systems for the 12 schools in the Flint Community Schools district in Michigan by the end of January according to a report by Detroit Free Press. The move will impact more than 4,500 kindergarten-to-12th grade students in Flint schools. The district tweeted its thanks for Musk’s generosity.
“Thank you @elonmusk and @MuskFoundation for investing in the health/future well-being FCS Students! Your generous donation will help us replace ALL water fountains w/NEW WATER STATIONS & WATER FILTRATION at ALL SCHOOLS! Looking forward to our burgeoning partnership! More to come!”
Musk committed via Twitter in July to covering the costs associated with fixing contamination levels in Flint homes whose water exceeded standards established by the Food and Drug Administration. He went so far as to tweet out a promise to contact Mayor Karen Weaver, a promise he kept, as later confirmed by her office.
Flint Schools Superintendent Derrick Lopez thanked Musk for helping Flint students “return to the normalcy of what should be a fundamental right: having access to safe, clean water from water fountains in their school.” MLive reported that the company Gray Matter will provide the stations and the technology within them. All bacteria and lead will be removed from school water pipes, making it safe for students to drink and to fill bottles to be drunk from later.
Musk also previously committed to helping Flint residents obtain clean water. He asked them to email him results of lead testing for their homes and said via Twitter that, in exchange, he would “organize a weekend in Flint to add filters to those houses with issues & hopefully fix the perception of those that are actually good.”
The Drive explained that Flint’s water problem began in 2014 when the city failed to add chemicals to water from the Flint River that would control corrosion in its aging water infrastructure. The city returned to using the Detroit water system in 2015, but the damage had already been done. The CDC states that the EPA action level for lead content in water is 15 parts per billion (ppb). Flint’s water reached an average of 27 ppb, with some home tests showing levels as high as a mind-blowing 397 ppb. A $450 million state and federal stimulus package facilitated the supply of bottled water to Flint residents until city pipes could be replaced. Earlier this year, officials said that the city average had dropped well below the EPA action level to 6 ppb, but the CDC states that no amount of lead is safe for the consumption of children in water. Musk’s donation will address this need.