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Elon Musk has pledged to get clean and safe drinking water to every house in Flint, Michigan that doesn’t currently have it.
Here’s some background. On Wednesday, Twitter user @DylanSheaMusic tweeted the following at Musk: “I heard a bunch of people saying there’s NO WAY you could help get clean water to Flint, Michigan. Said you weren’t capable idk.”
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO apparently took that as a challenge, since a couple minutes later he tweeted back at @DylanSheaMusic, saying the following.
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
In subsequent tweets, Musk added that he will be creating an email — firstname.lastname@example.org — specifically for the issue. But since he’s currently traveling in China, he’s asking Flint residents to reply to his tweet with parts-per-million (ppm) and parts-per-billion (ppb) test results and he’ll “send someone to install a water filter” if those results exceed FDA regulations.
For the record, the FDA does not regulate tap water — the EPA does. But the FDA regulates bottled water, and has stricter regulations on the amount of lead that can be present in that water. So perhaps he meant the FDA’s lower limit.
Testing from April said that tap water in Flint at 4 ppb of lead. The EPA limit is around 15 ppb for tap water, while the FDA’s limit is 5 ppb for bottled water.
Musk went on to say that “most” houses in Flint have safe drinking water, but the public there has lost faith in government test results. While authorities have maintained that the drinking water is safe, many residents say it isn’t. Musk added that he will “organize” a weekend to add filters to houses in Flint with water quality issues.
The situation in Flint is a complicated one but can be boiled down to this: in 2014, the city’s water supply was switched to a local river. After that, residents started noticing problems with the water. It took 18 months for state officials to finally admit that the water was severely contaminated with lead, Jalopnik’s Ryan Felton, who covered the water crisis for a year, reported.
This isn’t the first time that Musk has pledged his support for people in need. Last year, he sent Tesla-made batteries to Puerto Rico after the island was left without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
And just this week, Musk sent engineers to Thailand to build a submarine that could aid in the rescue of 12 kids and a soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave. The submarine was ultimately left unused, but the team was still rescued.