Four years ago, the Flint water crisis began when officials switched its source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Its more corrosive water caused dangerous levels of lead from old pipes to leach into the city's drinking water, poisoning residents. Now, after fighting with officials just to get the problem recognized in 2015, many residents still don't trust the city's tap water. Into the fray steps Elon Musk, fresh off of his submarine-building exploits, responding to a tweet with this promise "Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding."
Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2018
For now, reply to my tweet with ppm & ppb test results & will send someone to install a water filter. Creating email email@example.com, but I'm in China so that won't be working until tomorrow.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2018
Whether you think his involvement in high profile events is a kind of PR stunt or anything else doesn't particularly matter if anyone in Flint actually gets much-needed help. Michigan's state government recently ended a free program delivering bottled water to the city, even though some people continue to report that the water they're getting is unusable. While Musk said in further tweets that "Most houses in Flint have safe water, but they've lost faith in govt test results. Some houses are still outliers," he encouraged residents to reply to his tweet with test results and listed an email address for the program.
We'll see how this turns out in practice, even as Flint's pipe replacement program is scheduled to run through 2019. As far as the standard being applied, while the FDA specs apply to bottled water, they essentially refer to the EPA standards for tap water which you can see here.
You're right on both counts. Most houses in Flint have safe water, but they've lost faith in govt test results. Some houses are still outliers. Will organize a weekend in Flint to add filters to those houses with issues & hopefully fix perception of those that are actually good.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2018
- This article originally appeared on Engadget.