Billionaire technology entrepreneur Elon Musk will donate $480,000 for new water stations and water filtration systems for the schools in Flint, Mich.
The funds from Musk’s philanthropic foundation will pay for ultraviolet water filtration systems for the district’s 12 schools and administration building.
The filtration systems, which will be installed by January, are designed to disinfect all lead and bacteria coming from the water pipes to allow students to drink from and fill up water bottles from school water fountains, according to a release from the district.
The donation comes as Flint city and school leaders continue to grapple with the fallout from a contaminated-water crisis that began in 2015 after a local pediatrician discovered that hundreds of children in the city had high levels of lead in their blood, in part because of the state’s decision to switch the source of Flint’s water supply.
The school district shut off all its water fountains in September of that year. Now, more than three years later, the district still refuses to use the fountains despite assurances from the state government that the water is now safe.
“The new water filtration systems will be instrumental in helping our students return to the normalcy of what should be a fundamental right: having access to safe, clean water from water fountains in their school,” said Superintendent Derrick Lopez.
You’re most welcome. Hope to do more to help in the future.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 5, 2018
Flint is not the only Michigan school system dealing with a water crisis. Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti ordered drinking water to be shut off at the district’s roughly 100 schools this fall after two-thirds of the buildings in an early test were found to have elevated levels of lead or copper.
Photo Credit: The Flint River runs through Flint, Mich. Located northwest of Detroit, the city was home to sprawling General Motors automotive plants, earning the nickname “Vehicle City.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.