Sep 07, 2021

Elon Musk's Water Filtration Stations to be Tested at Flint, Michigan, Schools

Musk donated $480,000 in Oct. 2018 to cover the cost of installing ultraviolet (UV) water stations in all Flint school buildings

drinking water fountain

Water filtration systems funded by Elon Musk are ready for final testing at Flint Schools in Flint, Michigan, according to Kettering University officials, reported The Flint Beat.

Musk donated $480,000 in Oct. 2018 to cover the cost of installing ultraviolet (UV) water stations in all Flint school buildings and the administration building.

“There is lead in some of the plumbing within the schools, as well as galvanized iron (which adsorbed lead from the water),” said Laura Sullivan, a mechanical engineering professor at Kettering. “In addition, in some buildings the chlorine level isn’t always sufficient to completely disinfect the water.”


Arch Environmental Group will perform water quality tests, which will connect the stations to the district’s plumbing and test three water samples from each, reported The Flint Beat. The water will be sampled as it enters the school building, as it enters the fountain, and as it exits the faucet, according to Sullivan.

Kettering University has volunteered with the district to test the systems prior to use by children, but this progress has been impacted by the pandemic and issues with the original filter manufacturer, which required three filters: a carbon block filter, a membrane filter, and an ultraviolet light.

According to Sullivan, the filters had inconsistent results and were also not NSF certified for removing contaminants. As a result, Sullivan found an alternative made by 3M, which performed both carbon block filtering and membrane filtering.

The new units were tested in Jan. 2021 and between all three tests, there was 99.7-100% reduction in bacteria.

Arch Environmental performed copper and lead tests and between three tests, copper levels were below 20 micrograms per liter and lead levels were never detected during testing, reported The Flint Beat.

Before field testing begins, Flint Schools must order more filters from 3M. The field testing should be complete in a month, added Sullivan said, reported The Flint Beat.

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